Things I love about holidays

We have been enjoying our favourite spot on the Sunshine Coast for the last 6 days. Tomorrow we go home and as I sit on the balcony of our unit soaking up this view:

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I’m reflecting on our week and all the things I love about holidays.

Napping
God I love napping. I’m not a good sleeper & a nap through the day is pure bliss to me. When we are on holidays the boys wake extra early, so usually both have a day time sleep (a rarity at home). This is a perfect opportunity for me to read (see below) or nap, or both!

Reading
Holidays are the one time there are no nasty distractions like housework or copious amounts of washing or (heaven forbid) paid work, so when everyone is happily occupied I can stick my head in a book guilt free. It’s one of my resolutions to make this happen more often than holidays.

Shared hunter gather duties
At home The Man & I generally fall into pretty stereotypical gender roles ie. wifey in kitchen, husband on couch. The Man does some cooking (mainly of the BBQ variety) and none of the shopping. Without the distraction of work or foxtel, The Man steps up quite nicely on holidays and takes over most of the meal preparation. Plus we do the odd takeout 😉

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Hats
Sea air does weird things to my hair and if I happen to forget to pack the straightener (as I did) I start to resemble a Bichon Frise. Being sun smart as I am, I always wear a hat – the beauty of which, bad hair is no problem!

Minimal washing
I encourage recycling on holiday. We live in swimmers & boardies mostly anyway.

Colour
Having had a bcc removed at 25, I’m generally very sun smart (aside from my lapse early in the holiday) & I know pale is the new tan, but I have to admit I’m loving having a bit of colour & looking a little less pasty!

I’ve just realised this list could go on forever. The bottom line is I love being “away”. Away from home, away from work, away from routine, away from reality in general.

Most of all, I love making memories with my boys.

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What do you love most about holidays? Where’s your favourite place to escape with the family?

Linking up with Jess @ Diary of a SAHM for IBOT

Née

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A Christmas tale

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Twas two nights before Christmas
and all through the house
the children ran riot
and the father did rouse.

The house needed cleaning
there was food to be cooked…
Mum was just thankful a holiday was booked!!

Wonderful Weekends: Family Traditions

One thing I really love about Christmas time is our family traditions. Doing something together every year, knowing that my family has done the same thing for generations, is really grounding for me.

This weekend we all got together to make our Christmas puddings. The recipe has been passed down through my dad’s family, so I’ll honour it as a family secret, but we make it the traditional way, similar to described here. We use calico cloths instead of steamers and the puddings get boiled for 6 hours.

There is much tradition in the stirring of the pudding – 7 times towards the heart, a taste, a wish & a swig of sherry. Even the kids get in on the stirring action – not so much the sherry.

Back when I was younger, my maternal grandma also used to make her own Christmas pudding with similar ceremony.  Come to think of it, at Christmas time in my family there is always much stirring and swigging happening (and not just on pudding day).

Another treasured tradition in my family is making Christmas cake. My mum & dad make one to their recipe and my pop makes one to his (which is gloriously rich and also makes a fabulous wedding cake). Once again without giving away any family secrets, here’s a good compromise between our two family recipes. I have it on good authority that my pop’s recipe requires no less than 10 eggs!! No wonder it’s rich.

When baking their Christmas cakes, my family use traditional wooden boxes instead of tins.  After fourteen years of participating in my family’s traditions, The Man is keen to take up the mantle as well and has been pestering my dad for a cake box for some time.  This weekend on Pudding Day, he got a pleasant surprise.

He’s very much looking forward to testing it out. The question will be – who’s recipe will he use??

What’s your most treasured family tradition? Do you make your own Christmas cake or puddings?

Linking up with Life, Love & Hiccups for Wonderful Weekends.

 

Things I know about the too hard basket

Image from Pinterest

The too hard basket is a common phenomenon in my life.

I thought as a way of getting my head around tackling it, I’d share some of the things I know about this particular problem:

I know that there is a strong link between the too hard basket and the Procrastination Gene.

I know that I can break my too hard baskets into: house, work, family and miscellaneous life crap. If I was going to be totally honest with my self, I could probably add a dedicated blogging basket too.

I know I don’t get any points for having compartmentalised baskets if they are still labelled “too hard”.

I know that the longer I avoid the baskets, the harder they get.

I know the more I get nagged about addressing the baskets, the more I’ll avoid them (I find this very male response to nagging disconcerting, it really goes against every intuitive sense I have as a mother and wife!)

I know, for the most part, the too hard baskets are no one’s problem but mine. I know what I need is a good can of harden up to get on with the business of dealing with them.

Do you have a collection of too hard baskets? How do you tackle them?

Linking up with Shae from Yay for Home for…

 

P.S. If you find your self in my shoes – you must check out this great post about beating procrastination by the lovely Kirri White, Life Coach.

 

 


My favourite party theme: “Stress Free”

I know that for some people parties are a BIG deal. Months of planning, cooking and preparing in anticipation for the big day. I think when an innocent gathering of people requires a theme, you know it is serious business.

Out of all the possible party themes, my favourite is “Stress Free”

I grew up in a house where getting stressed and flustered was (& still is) par for the course when it came to hosting any sort of social gathering. I can tell you under no uncertain terms, it’s not for me. I know I get overwhelmed pretty easily these days so I try not to exacerbate the situation with added complications.

Don’t get me wrong, I love attending events that have been beautifully coordinated. I’m so amazed by people who painstakingly hand make invitations, decorations and themed party food. Rest assured if you’ve managed to coordinate your tableware with the birthday boy’s outfit, I will certainly appreciate your efforts.

I really hope your child does too, because the cynical practical side of me believes that when it comes to a small child’s birthday, all they really care about are balloons, the cake, the party bag and being the centre of attention. And of course, the presents. (This probably applies to many grown ups, too)

Nothing is going to cast a shadow over little Bobby’s birthday party more than mummy freaking out that her cake pops are pooped. Or when the fire truck entertainment rocks up full of male strippers.

That is why for the Wilful One’s birthday this year I did something the pre-kid me never thought I’d do. We had a party at Macdonald’s.

Yes, I know, it’s all a bit bogan, but he really wanted to have a party with some close pre-school friends who he won’t see next year when they all go off to school. He’s never asked for daycare friends to come to a party before, always content with our predominantly family affairs and I couldn’t say no.

My dilemma was that at this stage I had already set my sights firmly on the “stress-free” birthday theme, and with the mandatory family celebration was already on the agenda.  I examined various options for outsourcing and in the end Macca’s won the bid.

Yes, it was run by a clueless 15yr old. No, it wasn’t flash and it certainly wasn’t how I would have done it. But The Wilful One ate ice-cream cake, felt like a prince, had lots of fun with his mates and quite frankly, that is all that matters to me.

Happiness at 5: Ice-cream cake

The Maccas soiree was followed by a low-key afternoon tea with the family en-masse, which once, again he loved as all the prerequisite boxes had been ticked. Balloons – check. Presents – check. Centre of attention – check. Oh and yet another cake – check.

This cake is ridiculously easy to make and is lots of fun.  I found it at The Tipsy Hostess (via Pinterest)

Apart from Macdonald’s I’m yet to pay for party entertainment. I think it’s prudent to save magicians and sumo suits for when pass-the-parcel and piñatas no longer keep pint-sized party goers amused.

I realise this time is fast approaching. That’s why I’m glad there are so many fabulous bloggers out there who rock some serious party mojo.  When my stress free no-frills approach to birthday celebrations no longer cuts it with the guest of honour, I’ll be turning to the following ladies to help up the ante:

Maxabella Loves: Bron is currently doing a wonderful series on all elements of hosting children’s parties. She’s got the whole planning caper down to a tee and there are lots of links and pics from other great online sources.

Great fun 4 kids: Simone is the party queen. Her parties inspire (& intimidate) me!  She has a whole page dedicated to invitations, recipes, decorations, the works. THEN she has a link up page where other bloggers can add their party posts as well. There are some amazing posts there.

Planning with Kids: Nicole is the Planning Queen and parties are no exception. She has lots of great posts and even has a Parties with Kids eBook.

So, when it’s time for me to step up, I know I’ll be able to find loads of inspiration and helpful tips in my hour(s) of need.

What’s your party style? Do you always have a theme or do you opt for stress-free like me?

Linking with Jess @ Diary of a Stay at Home Mum

Balloon image via We Heart It 

Grateful for photographs, memories & shared experiences

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m terrible with photographs – I take millions but apart from uploading them on the blog or FB, I rarely do anything with them.  I have them stored on the lappy, 2 hard drives, 3 USBs, the iPad, a couple of photoboxes and, of course, my iPhone.  I was grateful for  My Pigeon Pair’s post yesterday on the topic which made me feel less like an archival failure! Photo organisation is definitely on the holiday to-do list.

Despite my haphazard storage of them, I was ever so grateful for photos this week when the Wilful One started asking questions about his great-grandfather. My mum’s dad died when I was 8 months pregnant with him so they never got to meet.  Questions about Great Granddad Fred led to questions about death and what happens when we die and ultimately the Wilful One’s realisation that he will one day die too (OMG those words are hard to write!).  I have to admit I was slightly taken aback by how upset he was, as we have discussed death fairly openly with him up to this point, having lost a few furry and finned members of the menagerie over time. He knew that death also came to people but I don’t think he fully comprehended the gravity of the situation before now.  

I must highlight at this point that the conversation happened at a particularly bad time.  The eve of The Man’s first night away, after a late night home from daycare and with a hysterically over tired Bam Bam present.  Serendipitously, my BFF and I had only recently discussed her own daughter’s reaction to death and I gratefully drew on her experience to piece together an explanation for the Wilful One that gave him some measure of reassurance and got him off to sleep. He was comforted by the knowledge that even when someone is gone we still love them and hold them in our memories and hearts.  

The next morning we looked through the multitude of photos and found some pics of Great Granddad Fred and also the boy’s great grandparents on The Man’s side. The Wilful One yet again stunned me by his maturity and asked if the photos could be put in his room so “I can look at them and aways remember”. I am shamed by (yet grateful for) this request as it is a task I have been meaning to do since his birth – I even have the empty frame still hanging in the ex-nursery. Slackest. Mother. EVER.

And to my dear Granddad Fred, I miss you so much. You would be so proud of this boy and I promise through my memories and photographs they will both know who you are and will love you like I do.

 

 

 

 Linking up with Maxabella Love’s Grateful for… hosted by Lemon Rhodes.

Gorgeous family tree image via We Heart It

Cherish Your Cherubs: Affection

I’m a little late with my Cherish your Cherubs post this week and I’m sad this is the last task. I want to say a special thanks to Naomi @ Seven Cherubs for hosting this project. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. 

This week’s task was an easy one for the menagerie and me as it was all about showing affection.  Affection is the corner-stone of our family. My boys are very loving and we have lots of spontaneous cuddles and kisses. In fact, there’s often quite a lot of argie-bargie in the evenings over who gets to sit on whose lap for a cuddle first!

Affection helps reassure us that we are loved. The Wilful One is such a sensitive soul and can often sense when I’m not having a good day. He’ll often come up to me and give me a hug and a “Love you, mum” before running off again to play. Likewise, I’m very conscious of his feelings and insecurities and if we ever have cross words,  we’re always careful to reassure him with a cuddle and an “I love you”.

As for Bam Bam, well I’m quite sure he was a koala in a past life. It’s impossible not to be affectionate with this kid. If you are sitting on the floor, he’ll be sitting on you. He constantly demands “UP” and I have to admit he rarely gets turned down from me as he gives the best cuddles ever. Even his kindy teachers love to steal cuddles from him.  There is nothing quite like the feeling of  a little toddler body with arms and legs wrapped around you and their face buried into your neck. Love, love LOVE!

I can honestly say that I could cuddle that kid all day. Lately, with both of us being sick, we’ve had a few days like that!

I think it’s very important for boys to know and express affection. My boys are very fortunate they have a daddy who think so too. It’s a wonderful thing to see a rough neck tradie who is not afraid to cuddle and kiss his little men and tell them how much he loves them. Considering he wasn’t raised in a very demonstrative family (unlike mine) I find this nothing short of amazing.

The boys cuddle each other too. They can often be found draped over each other on the couch and if they are being parted there’s always a brotherly cuddle goodbye, if not a few tears!

My affectionate little boys give me hope that they will grow into affectionate big boys who will be able to comfortably demonstrate love to the important people in their lives. Especially their mum!!

Did you grow up in an affectionate family? How do you show affection to your children?