It’s been… AGES!!!!

Oh sigh, I’m one of those people that once I’m in a groove, I am great – I am in the flow, I am productive, I am consistent… BUT, if I get out of the groove – Totally hopelss at getting back in it! So this is what has happened here, I got out of the groove.. I neglected my blog. Life took over. Motherhood. Yes that’s right, Real Life.

And hey, you know what, I realised that is OK!

As the days went past I grew more distant from my bog as life got busier, and it got harder to get myself to add a new post. I kept telling myself I should. And then the guilt took over. Which is a horrible, silly thing to feel about a blog. This was supposed to be fun, a way of sharing my ideas and creative experiences, a way of sharing my motherhood. Not a ball and chain around my ankle, a lead weight on my shoulders. It was not supposed to bring me down. I have enough demands already to add another self imposed one to the list. So I have had to have a serious word with myself, and let go of the guilt, and the pressure, and let go a bit. It is ok to get out of the groove here. So long as I can focus on the important things in life, having fun with my boys and trying to find time to be creative for myself. I am going to stop feeling like this is something I HAVE to do, and more like it is something I WANT to do. Not necessarily once a week (my original aim) but simply when the whimsy takes me. (I no, don’t think I have ever written the word ‘whimsy’ in my life before).

So what I have I been up to in the past 7 or so weeks? Too many things to count!

Here are a selection of some moments…

MAIDFinallly got some business cards printed for my new lable. ‘MAID” stands for Maker, Artist, Illustrator and Designer. Whoop! I will be adding things to http://www.phoebegander.com for sale in New Zeland, but again, progress is slow due to my limited time to be creative!

IMG_2288 Flower and shell arrangement for me from Sen. Love him. X

DSCF1458Making felt pizzas.

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Zuchinni brownies. Making. Eating. YUM.IMG_3046These two. XXXXXXXX

Right, I have quite a few blog posts to add, but they will come when I have the time and energy, and not a moment sooner! x

 

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Joy Is…

Oh Rocky…
Homemade rocky roadMmmm the joy of homemade Rocky Road. YUM. And Soooooo easy. My version goes like this –

Rocky Road:

Melt 250 gm bar of dark chocolate in bowl over boiling water, pour into a bowl which has a handfull of each – mini marshmallows, pistachios, dried cranberries, puffed rice cereal (maybe two of these, I used gluten free), and a pinch of flaked seasalt. (feel free to add what you like though, crushed biscuits and chopped dried apricots or dried cherries are a hit too) Stir, and pour into a 9 x 13 inch tray lined with greased baking paper. Chill. Dust with icing sugar. Cut. Eat. If any remain, save in a tin which you will then open immediately and eat more from. Life is short, just enjoy it!

Treasure huntersChilly winter walk with friends on the beach to look for burried ‘treasure’ (I sneakily hid some sweets/lollies) Any little pirate loves this activity.

marble run towerMarble run tower. How could you not love this! Great rainy day fun, and only $10 on sale too so a total bargain that has provided hours of entertainment.

Beautiful child portraitMy baby boy. Ahhh I just Love him. Look at those eyes! x

Pansy printingPansy printing that we did at our local playcentre – Literally the best thing ever!!!! I will do a proper blog post on the soon. Involves real pansies and a hammer, but even then I got much more into it then my son, oops.. for a change…  resluts are so pretty as you can see. Joy! x

Slime!

slime recipe

My son was so excited by this activity. You only have to say the words “lets make slime” to any 4 year old boy to watch their face light up with joy! The fact that is was green, (his all time favourite colour) just made it all the more wow-tastic.

Now we have made gloop many times before, which is just cornflour and water mixed together. If you haven’t made it you must, its a wonderful sensory activity for any toddler or child. This time however I wanted to make something a bit more, well, slimey, for my boys to really get their teeth (or rather hands) into.

slime dough

slime

The mixture is one of those that you can tweak a bit to make it more runny or more firm and ‘dough’ like depending on how much water you add. The best way to go is on the ‘less is more’ principle and just keep adding a little more water at a time until it is the right kind of sliminess for your liking!

Slime Recipe:

  •  2 and 1/4 cups cornflour
  • 1/2 cup shampoo
  • 5-7 tablespoons of water. (start with 5, mix and see if you need more. Once you have gone too runny its hard to get it doughy again)

optional:

  • a few drops of food colouring

Put your cornflour in a bowl and mix in the shampoo, I just bought some cheap shampoo at the $2 shop as it was bright green and smelled nice! Add a few drops of food colouring if you wish, if your shampoo is not brightly coloured enough. Now add the water a tablespoon at a time and mix well before adding each extra tablespoon. As you can see from the first photo, ours went a bit runny, however as we played with it it lost some of the moisture and became more dough like. It is more fun when doughy as it seems to have a stretchy, shinny, gooeyness which the boys loved. We could do handprints and roll it into balls, then watch as the balls ‘melted’ off our hands. DSCF1353 DSCF1352

J liked it best when it was in a bowl, with more water added so he could stir it around and around. There are not many photos of the firmer dough as I was so busy playing with it (with the boys ahem..) that it was hard to keep my hands clean enough to take photos! I stored the firmer dough in an airtight tub so we could play with it again. I would say it lats for a few days but not that long.  You may just need to add a touch more water to rejuvinate it! Oh and by the way, it looks crazy-scary-messy I know, like “aghhhh why would you ever make this in your house you mad person???”… but trust me, it’s actually not that messy and is sooo easy to clean up with just the wipe of a wet cloth. Promise ;-P x

NB here are a few extra photos of a firmer version of the slime made on a separate occasion. homemade slimeslimehomemade slimeslime ball

Salad Spinner Art

Salad Spinner ArtThe most fun you (and your kids) will ever have with a salad spinner…

You will need:

  • A salad spinner (no, really?!)
  • paper
  • scissors
  • pen
  • non-toxic poster paint, watered down slightly if it is thick.
  • blu tack or masking tape
  • child, or children, if you decide to let them join in…

Take the inner basket out of your salad spinner and draw around it on a peice of paper so you have an idea of how lagre your paper will be. Use this as your template and cut several peices of paper into this circle shape.

use a piece of blu-tack or masking tape folded over ontu itself to secure a piece of precut paper inside of the basket.

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Let your child (or go on, have a go yourself) put a few blobs of slightly watered down paint on to the middle of the peice of paper. Be as experimental with colours as you like! Get them to try the 3 primary colours to guess what colours will be created (using red and yellow for example).

Pop the lid on and SPIN BABY SPIN!!!!

DSCF1335 DSCF1334 DSCF1329Remove your paper and admire your artwork! Then try another, and another… (be warned, salad spinner art is seriously addictive so be sure to have enough paper handy!)

Spin Art

Make sure you wash your spinner thorughly, before using it actually spin salad (or keep a spinner just for art making purposes!) x

 

Robot Party Piñata

I am not the type of mum who goes ‘cray cray’ about organising a themed party – you won’t find matching plates, table decorations, party bags etc at my kids b’days, (if you do then hats off to you but seriously I do not have that much time on my hands, of frankly the money) but we have started family tradition of sorts that whatever The Cake is we also have a matching Piñata. So far we have had a ‘Space Rocket’, ‘Monster’ and the latest, ‘Robot’ theme.

You’ve got to love piñatas, seriously in my book a party is not a party unless you have a thing to bash that contains sweets/lollies/candy… For J’s party I thought, he’s two, he does not care for nor need pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey, musical statues to name but a few of the traditional games that bring out the stress in me… but a piñata, oh yes, he needs one of those! I love them, but I do not love the $$$ price tag that goes with them in the shops when I know that their main function is to be destroyed. So of course I make my own!

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This year, The Robot was actually quite simple.

  • A cardboard box
  • a few cardboard tubes
  • a bit of string
  • tape
  • glue
  • some silver or grey spray/craft paint
  • paper & scissors
  • decorations of choice such as milk bottle tops,pipe cleaners, stickers etc
  • something to fill piñata with (important ha!)

I didn’t spend too long making it ‘perfect’ the only bit of effort required really was cutting out the bottom of the box and loosely taping it back on using paper strips, this was so that two years olds would not find it too hard to make the goodies inside escape. I then got my husband to add the tube arms using string and glue on the ‘eyes’ (at this point I was busy making The Cake) and spray paint the whole thing with leftover silver spray paint we had in the garage. In the morning I filled La Robot with lollies (I am going with lollies since I am in NZ but I would normally call them sweets) and also party blowers. FYI kids LOVE party blowers. my ears however do not. Final touches were the pipe cleaner antennas, stickers and mouth from a bit of paper. All that we needed to do now was hang him up, let each kiddo have a turn with the bat and wait for the lolly explostion!

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Who had the most fun?! Oops that would be me.

Here is the cake. I only took one crappy photo of it with my not so flash phone (tad annoyed with myself for this) But you get the jist. I totally just copied it from here

IMG_4167Less then 6 months to the next party. Yay!

x

 

DIY Geo Board for kids

IMG_4578Saw a similar thing here (WOW I am sooo excited that I just learnt to do a hyperlink! Sorry, I am a total techno-phobe mostly, and my husband – mega geek – just showed me and I almost did a little dance! Sorry, I digress…)

Back to the Geo Board – I didn’t have a pin board but I did have a couple of cork mats that I use for putting hot pots/pans on so I thought that will do just nicely thank you! Add to the mix a packet of rubber bands and a box of push pins and you have a fun ‘game’ that will keep your child entertained whilst also teaching fine motor skills and shape recognition. Oh and S obviously thought it was amazing since it contained PINS, an item usually forbidden due to their ability to inflict pain and damage! (yes, he did take them out and scracth the table but…meh)

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Little J even got involved and thought it was great fun! I MUST stress that adult supervision is required at all time!!!! (unfortunatly not one to bring out while making dinner, sigh)

Improvise with your choice of board, any kind of notice board will do, the bigger the better!

x

Organise the Chaos

So one of the reasons I have decided to write this blog as a way to document my journey through motherhood, as so many days get swept up together and lost in the blurry confusion of the past. A bit like when you wake from a really good dream but by the time your cup of half drunk tea is cold you have forgotten what was so great about it as all the details and ‘realness’ of the dream get lost… Anyway, that is kind of how the past 4 and a half years feel. Since my son was born with the sleep deprivation that followed and then the second baby arriving, throw in a 9 month visit to the uk and it all seems to be one very long a chaotic dream.

And since Senny, my oldest, comes out with the most amazing things and so often I forget them by the end of the day (bad mother alert!) I felt I should have a place to document them. Also I will be able to reflect back at the crazy times when I am older and my boys are grown up and I will be able to say “look, maybe it was fun after all!” ha ha :) I also want to keep track of my journey to understandingmy kids and how our daily life is affected by the fact that we are pretty sure that our oldest boy has Asperger’s Syndrome.

I feel like such a weight has lifted off me since I realised that  Asperger’s is most probably a part of what makes Sennen the way he is. That now I realise that he IS different, and not just ‘naughty’ because I am not parenting him effectively, or that I am some how doing something ‘wrong’ which if I did ‘right’ things would magically click into place and be easy (ha yeah right!) but actually, now I know why he is sometimes so difficult, so frustrating and challenging, I can learn to understand, empathise, and work with him rather than feeling like life is a constant battle against him.

I have accepted that he is not your ‘typical’ child. I have accepted his difference from me and from his brother, and that has been like a lightbulb turning on, illuminating a way of understanding him.

Hurrah! Hooray! Knowledge is power, and I feel empowered knowing that I can now help him be the best version of himself that he can possibly be. And now I can learn to be the best mother that I can be for him too.

Perhaps life will now resemble organised chaos slightly more than just a chaotic dream…

we shall see.

x

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 Senny being “paracute man” x