Monday, 14 December 2015

Get your kid a fly swat for xmas.

Don’t stress about presents this Christmas, my advice…pretend you have no money….or even better if you are like me and actually have no money all of a sudden Christmas becomes a lot more creative and a lot less about the presents….

I have always been a gift giver, it is definitely my ‘love language’ which means I appreciate a well thought out, not necessarily expensive gift where the giver has really put me into their heads and thought up something I will absolutely love. So naturally I like to give gifts to others, and when Christmas rolls around I love nothing more than to think about my kids, and hubby and what I can get them to put a smile on their faces…

However this year, as funds are a little tighter than usual (and by little I mean a lot!) I have had to get a lot more creative in the gift department. I have set myself limits (financial ones) which means you really put a lot more thought into whether they are actually going to love it, or use it once and send it to the back of the wardrobe.  I have come to the realisation that it really doesn’t take much to thrill the kids. For example (now this is quite left field) my 18 month old will this year be receiving from Santa a pack of fly swats from the $2 shop.

Now…you may either be cracking up at this or disgusted….or a mixture but let me explain, my 18 month old girl is OBSESSED with our fly swat, she likes to chase her sister with it, she likes to pretend she is swatting flies and she likes to lick it…hence the need for her own which I am sure will never come within a metre of actually hitting a fly.

Now I know that she will love this gift. I know she will be delighted when she opens it, and yes I will try and get her reaction on camera…and it cost me…da da daaaaa $2. She will love this so much more than a computer thingy where she presses the buttons, more than a miniature guitar or tiny set of drums that look oh so cute, more than a watchamacallit with lights and things that make noise….

So she has a few more gifts all along these lines where instead of just thinking ‘ohhh that is gorgeous’ and shelling out big dollars for beautiful things, which I have done in the past, I have thought about the things that actually tickle her and her sisters fancy and things which also don’t necessarily have to match the décor….

And guess what….? It’s all been far less stressful, more fun and waaaayyyyy less expensive. Leaving me time and money to spend on us having fun together as a family this summer, and if she doesn’t like the fly swat then there’s always the pack of wash cloths I got her…

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Christmas in a Jar

Christmas is different with kids.

And by different I mean better… looking back on Christmas in my 20’s it was kind of a strange time…no kids running around, not so many pressies to open (and they were generally a bit wack…) no one knowing what to get anyone else, driving a lot from one parents house to the next, making sure we saw all the family…

I much prefer it now, with the excitement from the kids Christmas is simply more fun, more exciting and … yep more expensive.

With sooo much choice out there these days it can absolutely do your head in trying to get ‘just the right thing’. To help combat the expense, (and to reduce the amount of wack presents) our family have a solution. Every year the family tries to come up with a genius new way to not spend much on the adults (it is all about the kids after all). We have had secret santa’s with a price limit, swap a present, pick one name out of a hat and buy one semi decent thing for them…..But this year my mum has come up with ‘Christmas in a Jar’.

So we will be involving the kids with this one too. Everyone fills a jar (with whatever…) and wraps it up so you can’t see what’s in it, still to be decided how we are going to choose who gets what, may be a lucky dip type scenario.

So I have been researching a little to see what’s out there, and there are some really creative and ingenious ideas (gotta love pinterest!), which I thought I would share as I am going to also do some of these for people I would like to thank for the year, but have limited funds to spend on such as my daughters school teacher, daycare teachers – who are fabulous, friends etc.

So here are some of the top runners…

 Cupcake in a Jar - yum! You can find the instructions here - But basically you make some cupcakes, cut them in half, stuff them in the jar with some icing...easy peasy and looks so cute. My daughter could make these for her teacher! 

 Being a Baileys fan I love this one! Hot choc powder, marshmellows, baileys...done! You could also do a kid friendly one with a choc dipped spoon instead of the Baileys

Handmade snow globes! This will be a present from the kids to their Nana I think! Instructions are here

Similar to the Baileys one this looks and would taste delicious! Ingredients are here

This is a cute idea to give someone to do with their kids before xmas, making the cookies for Santa, you could pretty much use any basic biscuit ingredients

Presented so beautifully this makes for a very treaty gift - sugar scrub for your body which apparently tightens and treats your skin...the recipe is here

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Fresh Eyes, Love, Laughter and Fun - What being a Grandparent means

Fresh Eyes, Love, Laughter and Fun

A mother becomes a true grandmother the day she stops noticing the terrible things her children do because she is so enchanted with the wonderful things her grandchildren do. ~Lois Wyse

I’ve travelled the road of “stay at home mum” with two toddlers. I’ve also run full steam along  the road of “working mum”, with two school aged children, a dog, two cats, two guinea pigs, a mouse and a lamb………all things I’m sure a lot of mums and dads can relate to!  All up, a busy life! 

Now, I’m a “stay at home grandmother”, Janny.  To my delight, my grandkids love calling me Janny or Jan Jan and even my children have taken to calling me Janny.  The name was chosen because of my attitude to becoming a grandparent……”not ready yet guys!!   I’m still feeling too young to be called Nana or Granma” but I love the name Janny, and how it sounds when the grandchildren talk to me. 
Looking back at watching my children grow, I realize that those years past by all too quickly.  Life was a blur, the children were constantly changing bringing new challenges nearly every day.
Mornings were a juggling act, and as for the rest of the day…..I’m sure I don’t need to spend much time on describing this part of parenting!

 Now, I’m a grandmother!!!!  And the point is?   The point is……. when I hear the reminiscent cliché ……….  “And I wouldn’t change a thing” I wonder how someone could look back over their parenting life and be so sure that they got every little bit of being a parent so right.  I know I didn’t.  As a parent, we are learning every day along with the children and some days all the loving, laughing and fun times are forgotten while you battle with a toddler screaming loud enough to deafen you. 

So, yes there are few things I would change if given the chance but the one that is most strong in my mind is spending more “kid time” with my children.  By kid time, I mean being a child with your child.  Now that I’m a grandparent, I love to act quirky and childish……silly even.  Why is it you have to wait until your body is starting to crack up to be a kid again.  Being a kid to me is …Saying silly stuff (something that comes a bit too naturally to me!), playing mud pies and getting dirty rolling down a hill.  Yes, I have rolled down a hill with one of my grandsons and he laughed and laughed and thought it was hilarious to see his Janny clumsily bumping her way thru the grass, down the slope. 
When I had my first child at 20 years old, I think I was still growing up myself. 

I was too busy learning to be a mum to be a real “kid” with my children.  I had the physical ability, but I missed seeing some of little things that children give, that I see now as a grandmother.  My granddaughter and I have an awesome bond that started as soon as she was born.  Even before she could crawl, I was on the floor next to her, talking and playing at her level.  I’ve tried to keep that up all thru her years, but as she gets older and faster, I’m getting slower, and some of the more rough and physical stuff is becoming less.  However I can still pretend to be a dog with her and give horsey rides even if they are much shorter now. 

I think parents get glimpses of these special moments but need to be reminded to take a break and to be able to step out of their fast, chaotic routines.  Even, for just a short period, to see things thru the eyes of a grandparent and become a kid again.  Remember when, as a parent, you took a night away without the kids and the awesome feeling of love and joy you got from coming home to excited open arms …………

That is what being a grandparent is like! 

It’s, fresh eyes, love, laughter and wonderful childish fun.  

Written by Janice MacKenzie
Mum of two, Janny of four

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Mumma Guilt Trip

OMG! You are going out!

You have managed to wrangle a few hours off mummy duties for a catch up with the girls…very exciting and definitely needed…..BUT THEN….what happens?

Small person number two is ok, they have no idea you are off out for a bit of a life as they are in bed already. But older small person (small person number one) is a different story.

So before heading out the door you get the old mumma guilt trip which goes a little something like this…

#1 – The panic sets in. “What’s happening…why are you dressed up mummy?”… the questions slowly become higher pitched as small person number one realises…You. Are. Leaving.

#2 – The whinging begins. “Can I come too….ohhhh I reaaallllly want to come…plllleeaaaseeee!”

#3 – The mother of all guilt trips – the crying and sad face come out. “Dooonnn’t gooooo Mummyyy”

I have found that this either makes me feel quite bad (i.e guilty) or quite angry….why can’t I just go out have some ‘me’ time and not feel guilty about it…hmmmm?

For a lot of parents doing something for yourself can be like wading through a personal psychological battle….but actually research suggests taking some time out for yourself is soooo good for you, I couldn’t agree more!

I recently asked the question to parents “what would you do if you could have a hassle free night off from the kids”. The answers came thick and fast, I could almost see the daydreamy looks of pure bliss as people thoughtfully typed up their best ever night out (or in).

From simple responses such as having a HOT cup of tea to those unheard of nights out, the movies, dinner, date nights, coffee and cake, there really is such a need for parents to have just a little time out (and not on the naughty step).

It’s quite overlooked this need to really truly have some time to yourself doing fun stuff that you enjoy…..without the kids (shock, horror!)

So it’s really about saying hang on… I’m going to use those movie tickets in my wallet that are now expired that Dad gave me because I NEVER get to go to the movies and he even offered to babysit and I  STILL haven’t used them!

It’s about using those beauty treatments that your lovely, well meaning friend got you for your birthday that you find one day and realise that was 10 months ago!!
Sometime you actually do need a wee break from those darlings that you love more than anything in the world.  

Take a break from the world of smooshed sticky substances you don’t even recognise all over everything…take a break and encourage others around you to do the same, you will all feel so much better for it.

Written by Pauline Rowe, Founder of Cup of Sugar,