Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sneak peek some of our casting photos!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


by Victoria

For my recent birthday, Mr B bought me a kindle and I picked up my reading habit which was stalled when Phoebe was born. The first book I bought and downloaded was Jessica Rowe's book, Love.Wisdom.Motherhood

Love. Wisdom. Motherhood.

I wanted to read this book because as a relatively new mother (my little one is 22 months old), I love finding out about other parents' experiences, how they cope with looking after their child/ children, and the little lessons learnt.

I find that parenting experiences is not an area that we delve into. Publicly, celebrities may say they are loving every moment of parenthood (which really irritated me when I first became a mother cos I wondered what was so great about sleep deprivation) or are having a hard time but generally no details or specifics of their experiences or ways they get through the difficult times. Thus, this book gave invaluable insights into how some prominent women in Australia juggled motherhood and other demands on their lives and time.

This book interviewed famous mothers in Australia such as actress Lisa McCune, designer Heidi Middleton (one half of Sass and Bide), comedian Wendy Harmer, designer Collette Dinigan, Governor-General Quentin Bryce, athlete Nova Perris, Westpac CEO Gail Kelly, etc.

To me, these women coped with motherhood brilliantly. They juggle being a wife and mother (unpaid work) as well as paid work. So, it was quite revealing to read about some of their struggles and the most dominant feeling seemed to be guilt. Yet, that guilt propelled them to be a better parent while also trying to juggle other demands. It was amazing, inspiring and encouraging!

Lisa McCune found a way to juggle location shoots with looking after her baby, by asking the local nurse for help in exchange for a chance for them to view the filming process. Heidi Middleton's battle with cancer was tough and I really felt for her as I read about how she fought off cancer. Gail Kelly had to cope with having four children, including triplets, and Collette Dinigan with being a single parent.

My favourite chapter would have to be the one on Wendy Harmer. She was so refreshingly honest when she said that there were certain things in parenting that she didn't enjoy, such as "playing with little kids". And it was comforting to read her assurance when she said that "it doesn't matter how much time you spend with your children - it will never be enough....because, if children could, they would have you with them for every second of every day". Wendy also shared how different parenting her 2 children were. That Marley was a baby who was content to lie in his cot and didn't need her to cuddle him all the time, while her second child, Maeve, was the opposite. There are so many other revealing insights into her and her husband's parenting journey, which helped me feel that it's quite normal to sometimes feel inadequate or that I could have done better.

There are still so many other amazing mothers who are interviewed in this book and I am thankful that Jessica Rowe wrote it and that the women were forthcoming (some more than others) with their stories and their journeys.

What is your mothering journey like? This book would assure you that you are not alone. It would also remind us that we need to ask family or friends for help and that your children love you for your good or bad moments because the vital thing is that we keep trying to be a better parent for them.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Invisible friends

By Bec,

Hunter and Bak (if you can't see Bak you don't have special powers - I'm told he is on the slide)

We have gained a new house guest. He isn’t always here, but visits quite frequently. His name is Bak. Nigel (hubby), Savannah and I can’t see him.  We don’t have special powers. Hunter on the other hand can see him, talk to him and play with him. Aparently Hunter has special powers that enable him to see things we can’t see. They also enable him to not be hungry. Wouldn’t that be awesome at lunch time – think of all the money we could save on our grocery bill if we all had that particular power.

But back to Bak, initially he was 15 years old. But more recently I was told, “Mum I was just kidding, Bak is only 5. But when I turn 5 he will turn 6”.  Bak ensures Hunter is never alone, always has someone to talk to and always has someone to play with.  And of course Bak is the one who comes up with ideas to do silly things that Mum and Dad wouldn't like.  That Bak is a cheeky little boy!

It's always Bak's fault......

Hubby – Hunter please stop making that noise
Hunter – I’m not here
Hubby – well who is making that noise
Hunter – it’s Bak
Hubby – well can you please ask Bak to stop making that noise.

Bak often comes to the playground with us, we have to strap him into the middle car seat. And of course he sleeps in bed with Hunter.  I haven't had to cook for him (perhaps he has the special powers like Hunter that make him not hungry).  Bak has recently gained a new friend - Velmba.  Yep, Velmba is invisible too.  Velmba is 10, oh actually Hunter said he just turned 11.  WOW, 2 invisible friends.  Our house is getting full!  It's nice to have these friends visit, even if I can't see them.

Do you ever have visitors you can't see?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Books books and more books!

By Bec,

A favourite activity in our household is reading together.

We have LOTS of books.
Along with the bookcase full, my son has a small bookcase in his room full of books and my daughter has about 20 or so books always in her room.  On top of what we own, we are regular library visitors.  At our latest library visit (last Saturday) we borrowed 21, yes that's right 21 books.

You have got to love the library.  It's a great outing.  We have a routine, choose our DVDs, choose our toys, then our books.  Once we have chosen our books we sit down and read them on the comfy couches before borrowing (we didn't read all 21 on our latest visit!!).

Of course they have their favourites - my daughter's (2 year old) favourites at the moment are:
  • Tiger in a Pink Hat
  • Best Friend for Fofa
  • Koala Lou
  • Boo to a Goose, and
  • The Wheels on the Bus
My son's (nearly 5) favourites are:
  • Engelbert Sneem and his Dream Vaccuum Cleaner
  • Dr Seuses books
  • Aussie Bites and Aussie Nibbles
He has just started getting into the shorter chapter books.

Reading out loud to kids has so many benefits.  One of the major ones for me is the bonding time we get.  Every day we are home I will get asked a few times by each child to "read me this book".  We sit together and have some cuddles whilst reading.  Savannah gets around 5-6 books before bed each night, Hunter would get a few less as his are longer! 

Mem Fox (a well known Australian Children's author) has given some tips to reading aloud.

Mem Fox’s Ten Read Aloud Commandments

1. Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud.

2. Read at least three stories a day: it may be the same story three times. Children need to hear a thousand stories before they can begin to learn to read.

3. Read aloud with animation. Listen to your own voice and don’t be dull, or flat, or boring. Hang loose and be loud, have fun and laugh a lot.

4. Read with joy and enjoyment: real enjoyment for yourself and great joy for the listeners.

5. Read the stories that the kids love, over and over and over again, and always read in the same ‘tune’ for each book: i.e. with the same intonations on each page, each time.

6. Let children hear lots of language by talking to them constantly about the pictures, or anything else connected to the book; or sing any old song that you can remember; or say nursery rhymes in a bouncy way; or be noisy together doing clapping games.

7. Look for rhyme, rhythm or repetition in books for young children, and make sure the books are really short.

8. Play games with the things that you and the child can see on the page, such as letting kids finish rhymes, and finding the letters that start the child’s name and yours, remembering that it’s never work, it’s always a fabulous game.

9. Never ever teach reading, or get tense around books.

10. Please read aloud every day, mums and dads, because you just love being with your child, not because it’s the right thing to do.

How often do you read to your kids?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Meal Planning

By Bec,

My variation of a Meals by Mel recipe - I made tuna burrito pie

In today's society we are all busy, and it seems we all need to save a few bucks here and there.  It's no secret menu planning is a great way to save both time (no more, what are we going to cook for dinner tonight) and money (you only buy the food you need so no waste).  

Meals by Mel makes menu planning a breeze!  I've been using Meals by Mel for 18 months now, and don't know how I would live without her!!!  For an annual subscription of $29.95 Mel provides recipes for 5 main meals per week, including nutritional information.  And here is the best bit - it includes the shopping list.  How awesome is that!  Not only do you have tasty, nutritious meals, but the shopping list for the 5 meals.  I just add on my regular bits and pieces, milk, bread, fruit and the food we need for daily lunches and I'm all set to order (I shop through coles online - another time and cost saving tip!).  There are 4 weeks worth of meals on the website at any one time.  And you can get an email each Thursday to tell you when the new week's meal plan is up, and where to access it.   

I've found that having 5 meals per week great, as it gives you a couple of nights to do your own thing - go out, make your family favourites or have left-overs.

The recipes use healthy, fresh ingredients.  And one of the advantages is you have different meals each week.  I found we were in a food rut, having the same meals week after week.

Before you sign up you can check out a sample menu and there are also sample recipes.  Membership also includes access to Mel's entire recipe collection.

The best creamy chicken and corn soup!!
Tonight we made the tuna burrito pie pictured at the top.  I improvised and made it into a pie.  The recipe was to wrap the buritos,but that's fiddly so I just layed it like a lasagne/pie.  And last night we made the best creamy chicken and corn soup.  The kids gobbled down a big bowl each, and hubby and I went back for seconds.

For recipes, check out Meals by Mel

Monday, August 8, 2011

V's first birthday!

My Dear Vanessa's 1st Birthday Party!

Can't believe she is 1 already...and she already can walk 2 weeks age...oh my dear...

2 party in a day! What a busy day!

Morning party with young kids:

Evening party with family and friends:

ps: thank you so much my dear friend for taking these lovely photos of the party!

Love her smile!

My second Rainbow cakes!

Had spent over 6 hours to make these 2 rainbow cakes, but the "WOW" effect was worth it! And thank you my dear hubby for helping me whipping the cream!

Happy Birthday!

ps. thank you Emily for making those beautiful shortbread cookies, everyone loves it! You can visit her blog here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Childcare - decisions

By Bec,

As a working parent I have to make some tough decisions regarding childcare.  I don't want to get into a working parent, stay at home parent debate.  As far as I'm concerned there are positives and negatives for both, and we all do what we feel supports our family best.  Being the main income earner I couldn't be a stay at home Mum, hubby could be a stay at home Dad if we choose that path - however I'm selfish and am not willing to give up my day with the kids (I currently work 4 days per week - if he stayed home I would have to go back full-time).  Some people might add it would be better for a parent to be with them 5 days, rather than the 1 that I get with them...but I digress.  As I said, positives and negatives for both!

My son currently goes to childcare 2 days per week and kindy (in SA, this is pre-school, the year before their first year at school) 2 days per week.  My daughter goes to childcare 4 days per week.  My son starts school in term 4.  I have mixed emotions, my baby is growing up...he will be 5 in September and starting school in October - WOW!!  It seems like he was only just born. 

My daughter, who is 2, has really developed at childcare.  I can see improvements in her confidence, language skills, understanding of the world around her, socialisationI' skills, reading (or browsing books) and memory.  She has formed a strong relationship with her friends and carers.  I'm now known as "Savannah's Mum" when spotted out at the shops (where as it always used to be "Hunter's Mum"). 

She goes to one centre, but there is another located right next door to Hunter's school.  I'm thinking of moving her to this one.  I'm torn.  She loves her childcare centre.  She gets excited when we drive into the car park!  But the new one would be so convenient, and would allow her to meet some kids who will be going to that school.  If it was my son, the decision would be easy - a big NO.  He doesn't cope with change well (that will be another story when he starts school next term - watch this space for a blog about it as term 4 draws nearer) and the anxiety for him is just not worth it.  Savannah on the other hand is different.  But I'm still anxious.  The centres aren't far away - one is about 3 minutes from us, the other is about 5 minutes - but in the opposite direction.  So I could keep her at her current one and have Hunter at school - but there seem to be some advantages to move her.
They are actually the same centre - but different locations, so run the same, same (crazily expensive) fees, same governing council etc.  I'm going to check out the new centre tomorrow to see what I think.

What would you do? 
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