My other blog

My other blog Mama Thrift

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A snapshot of my life as a mother of young children

On Saturday the 24 July 2010, I was asked to present a talk for our ward Relief Society Womens Conference. I was to give a snapshot of my life as it is now as a mother of young children. I was asked to share my challenges, highpoints and to end with what I am grateful for. Upon the request of my husband, I am posting it on here for our future reference. Its a rather long entry so if you choose to read it, it is under my pages section on the left side of my blog homepage.

Sharers are Carers

I feel so blessed because I have wonderful family, friends and neighbours. Lately we have all been doing a bit of swapping and sharing of food and other great things. I can't believe how much Heavenly Father is blessing my family through others. In turn I am trying to spread the good fortune to others. I am totally convinced that if we share things around we will all benefit far greater than if we kept things for ourselves.

For example last week my Sister got us a deal of 13 kilos of good bananas for $5. I took a bunch to my Mum who in return gave me sweet potatoes, lettuce and spinach from her garden. I gave bananas to my neighbour who the next day brought over a paw-paw from her tree, mandarins and colouring books for the kids. My other neighbour brings over Grug books for the children and asks to borrow cooking scales. So I give her the scales and a bunch of bananas. She returns the scales and shares some cookies she's made. And so it continues on like that. Our family has also been blessed with toys, clothes and money from other generous friends. Sharing really is caring and it enriches our relationships, and our pantry for that matter.

"Three keys to more abundant living: caring about others, daring for others, sharing with others" - Willam Arthur Ward

Monday, July 26, 2010

A big shout out to all the Student's Wifes

Hi to all you wives of students. I just wanted to say that I am thinking of you all. Many of your husbands were working over the mid year break. As for me, I had Hubby around a fair bit to help out. I have been a little anxious about going back to doing it all alone on my own. I feel slightly cheated because Hubby thought he had another week off but after talking to some guys at church he realised he started back today. It was a shock to him but a bigger shock to me.

ALERT, ALERT. This not a drill. You are on you own tomorrow. I repeat on your own. hahaha!

I am happy to report, I am doing well enough and the kids are not lacking too much. I've even tried out my new-to-me (second-hand) breadmaker and I've prepared dinner to go in the oven later. Sure the floor is super dirty and there's washing to be done, but I am happy.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Crab and Her Mother

'Don't walk sideways,' said a mother crab to her child, 'and don't drag your sides against the wet rock.'
'Mother,' the young crab replied, 'if you want to teach me, walk straight yourself. I will watch you and then I will copy you.'

When one reproves others, it is just as well to live straight and walk straight oneself before starting to preach a lesson.

This is a fable from Aesop. When I was little I was given a children's version of Aesops fables and loved them. Later as a young adult I was given 'Aesop - The Complete Fables' translated by Olivia and Robert Temple and published by Penguin 1998. I enjoy most of the fables and being a young mother I particularly appreciate this one.

"Anything from the trolley, dears?" - —Trolley lady to everybody on the Hogwarts Express

We had the funnest time recently at our Harry Potter Birthday Party for Hubby. We are big fans of the books and movies so it seemed like a great theme. Now I could have really got carried away with costumes, decorations etc but I decided to try and keep it simple.

We concentrated on the food and games side of Harry Potter. We had a potluck style dinner which included Cauliflower Mandrakes, Meatball Bludgers (mostly because I overcooked them and they reminded us of bouncy balls in gravy), savoury Pumpkin Pasties, and Mrs Weasley Rock Cakes. For drinks we of course had to have Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice. I tried my best to make a real version of Butterbeer by using some kind of butterscotch essence or syrup but I searched high and low and couldn't find anything. I even attempted making butterscotch syrup and mixing it with fizz but the butter in it kinda put me off. I did have thoughts of making Butterbeer Aragogs (translation butterscotch icecream spiders) but thought with all the other sweets it was too much. So for less fuss Hubby found Schweppes brown-coloured creaming soda. We took the labels off the bottles and the creamy flavour worked a treat. As for the Pumpkin Juice well I boiled some pumpkin up and strained the water and pumpkin through a sieve and mixed it with apple juice and lemonade.

Now you can't visit Hogwarts without sampling something from the sweets trolley. Even though we didn't ride the Hogwarts Express I did manage to have 'Platform 9 3/4' displayed and sweets typical of the Hogwarts Express food trolley were served. Including Cochroach Clusters, Cauldron Cakes (mini), Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, Licorice Wands, and Chocolate Frogs.

The games had us in stitches! We started with sorting everyone into houses and birthday Hubby had to be in Griffyndor. Each guest sat out the front and wore the Sorting Hat on their head while I acted as the hat's voice. I read a little humorous or encouraging line about the guest and told them which house they belonged to. This way I could team up Wizards (guests who read the books or watched the movies) with Muggles (guests who hadn't much of a clue) for a more even competition.

Then we played our 3 games:
1. Buckle Buckle Bean Stalk or find the Snitch,
2. Dumbledore's Army Challenge - give definitions for spells and charms,
3. Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans taste testing face off.

Game 3 was the funniest thing I've witnessed in a while. Jelly Belly make a box of jelly beans called Beanboozled that are just like Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. For example two jelly beans looked identical but one was juicy pear and the other booger flavoured. No one knew until they tasted them. I can't tell you how funny it was watching everyone's reactions. Like the sigh of relief when it was plum or the screwed up facials from tasting black pepper. Sometimes both contestants would get a yucky flavour and that made us laugh all the more.

It was a great night and I'd like to have another theme party again. I think the secret to my success was to keep it fairly simple so I could enjoy the night also. Instead of making the preparations so grand that I was too tired of a host to enjoy it.

I will put up some recipes, games, websites and books references to check out if you are ever feeling like throwing a similar Harry Potter theme night. Remember the sky is the limit especially if you have a Nimbus 2000 or a Firebolt.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mum and Bubs Cafe in the middle of Southbank QLD

Hi Mums and Bubs and Friends.
I saw a really wonderful concept cafe in Southbank today. It only opened up last week but its this Mum and Bubs Cafe that caters for well that kind of niche. As a mum of three, Cafes have always been more of a nightmare then a meeting place. But I am thinking this place might be a goer. They have the usual cafe menu with standard cafe prices (I only looked through). They also have purees, baby food and children's food which is a good option for our darlings.

They have a pram parking area, a small children's play area (targeted at
before-school aged kids mostly). So I think this place could be a wonderful meeting point for friends. What makes me most excited about this concept is the owners/management would be expecting children behaving like children and I feel welcomed and comfortable with that environment.

The establishment is a good size but I would recommend meeting in a group of about four parents max depending on how many children. A bigger Mothers' Group is more ideal for Lollipops or MacDonalds. I've tried to find a link (about this cafe) on the web but haven't been successful yet. And I am yet to eat there, so I may have to give a rating later.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The more I think about it, the bigger it gets.

Quote seen on the under side of a Brisbane city bridge:

The more I think about it
The bigger it gets.

Yesterday Hubby and I both saw the above quote painted on the under side of a bridge, and after a few seconds of pondering, we agreed this is true. I personally find it profound. I have since tried to apply different topics to this saying and have found it to be true. For example sometimes the more I dwell on the 'so-called' negatives in my life, the bigger they seem to get. In contrast the more I think about the real positives in my life, the more I think WOW - I am so blessed, grateful and happy!

I recently read an article in the June 2010 Ensign 'Your Mission in Life is Now' (PDF Version) alternate plain text version.

Author Jan Pinborough discusses how 'three principles can help us step into the future with greater confidence, energy, and faith.'

I especially like how she relates the story of the early saints (1831) who were commanded to stay in Kirtland, Ohio for a little season knowing they would soon go to another land but not knowing when or where.

'And the hour and the day is not given unto them, wherefore let them act upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good” (D&C 51:16–17)

Jan explains- 'I like to picture those early Saints hearing the Lord’s instructions and getting right to work. They plowed fields they didn’t know they would harvest, planted trees whose fruit they might never eat, and built a beautiful temple they would ultimately have to leave. I picture them living busy, productive lives, not peering endlessly into the unknown, wondering where they would go next and when. They acted “as for years,” trusting that their work would not be in vain.'

How I relate to this, and the above quote? I realised that sometimes I may think too much of the future and forget to live in the day. The more I THINK or WORRY about how I am going to get to a certain point the BIGGER my worry may get.

Instead, I would like to THINK more of my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, so the BIGGER my faith gets.

I'd like to THINK more of the scriptures, so the BIGGER their value will be to me.

I'd like to THINK more of about doing good, so the BIGGER my good works will be.

I'd like to THINK more about sharing the message of Jesus Christ, so the BIGGER my missionary efforts will be.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sleepy J

For years now I haven't had a good night's sleep. Now that is to be expected with babies but I really thought that by now, I would be enjoying a couple of nights a week of uninterrupted sleep. No such luck Lady. I LONG for an uninterrupted nights sleep. I joke to my friends that I DREAM of a getaway in a fancy hotel, not for a romantic getaway, but for an uninterrupted night's sleep.

I love my children and that's why as tired as I may feel, I can't ignore the little calls for 'Mama' at night. If its not my toddlers coming in to me, its my baby Bunny waking and crying through the night. He still can't settle himself to sleep when he wakes. He cries and kicks the cot. The older he gets the more I try to let him cry it out. But I'm still lying there awake, listening, wondering, interpreting what that cry means. I usually go in.

Another thing, I never used to let my boys into my bed because I had this strong belief that if I let them in once, then its all over. Well they got the better of us! Now we have Monkey or Moo Moo coming into our room regularly. Sleep deprivation does funny things to people. When its in the middle of the night and I've had several wake ups, I start imagining things. I imagine what it would be like to have a secret Harry Potter's bed under the stairs where no one can find me :)

We do try to tell our sons to go back to their own beds but some nights they just keep coming back. They know how to wear a tired parent down until you shuffle over and let them in. I admit it feels cute when they snuggle into you, you feel loved and wanted. Then they start sleeping sideways, kicking you, and making funny sleep noises in your ears.

The other morning Monkey and Moo Moo were both in our bed at the same time. I became so uncomfortable and as it was almost time to get up, I went and lay on the floor at the end of my bed. Hubby thought that he would rather lie with me and cuddled next to me on the floor. Well it turns out that the children also would rather be with us on the floor. So there we were, all four of us lying on the hard floor while there's a perfectly good bed left empty bed above us. I thought that was SO FUNNY.