I am feeling like a domestic goddess due to my baked goods at my son’s 2nd birthday party! 

DS2 is so into cars, there was no question that I’d be making a car cake.  I didn’t want to cop out and just do the ‘cars on a racetrack’ option so I chose his favourite car from our local Playcentre and based the cake on this.  I also following a tip from Juggling Motherhood who linked me to the University of Cookie – thanks!  And managed to put together some fun little gingerbread men with great icing effects. 

The whole family was impressed and my son loved it all – hooray 🙂

My tips from the whole episode:

  • Use professional food colouring – the cheap stuff from the supermarket gives a sort of insipid salmon colour not racing car red.
  • Keep snacking on the decorations to a minimum as you go – I felt SICK by the end of it from little nibbles of sweets and icing!
  • Keep the dogs out of range – our crazy boxer helped himself to one of the gingerbread men from off the table.
  • Only do it if it makes you happy – not need to go to the effort if it stresses you out and makes you feel pressured.

I’m taking the plunge!  I’ve given in my notice and in less than three weeks time I will officially be a stay at home mum, home exec, housewife, domestic goddess.  The last seven months of juggling jobs and kids and all the demands of my other life hats (Playcentre, childbirth/breastfeeding tutor, small business owner) have come to a head and after months of thinking we’d agreed on a plan.  DH is a little (a lot!) nervous about the responsiblity of being the sole breadwinner.  Not because he’s not up to it – it’s the first time without a fall back since we first moved in together 10 years ago.  But there you go, life is about leaps of faith and making change to make a better life for your family.

Things I’m nervous about:

  • Keeping to our (tight) budget
  • Getting fed up with the kids by 4pm
  • My husband being stressed about the responsibility on him
  • Hmm, that’s about it really – the pros definitely outweigh the cons – BRING IT ON!

Things I can’t wait for:

  • Even more Small Moments of joy and challenge with my children
  • Seeing my kids in the morning, not having to rush off while they’re still sleeping
  • Focussing on raising them in the way that I want to, not compromising on things like tv, eating together, getting them to help with jobs etc, because it’s faster/easier/less stressful/gets us out the door more quickly, if I just give in/do it myself.
  • Supporting my husband and seeing him less torn between trying to help run the household and make this job work.
  • Having time for me occassionally
  • Being more involved in the day to day running of our Playcentre and spending time during the day with my friends who are at home with their kids
  • Spending more time with my sister and seeing the cousins grow together
  • Being a domestic goddess (some of the time anyway) – getting back into my decluttering, organising, cooking, creative side of running a house
  • Spending more time in the garden with the children
  • Feeling that we have chosen the right thing for us and our children and we are LIVING it!

Together with my children I am discovering the joys of vegetable gardening.  I’ve never been a talented or enthusiastic gardener, but the motivation to show the kids that fruit and vege don’t just come in plastic bags from the supermarket has inspired me to get into it.  I’m working very hard to not be too ‘achievement focussed’ and just go with whatever happens.  So far we’ve had:

  • Two very stunted tiny carrots
  • A vigourous and healthy crop of radishes
  • Some fabulous broccoli that seemed to take a whole year to grow
  • Successful bok choy
  • Lettuce seedlings and basil flourishing on the kitchen window sill
  • Leeks that resemble miniature spring onions
  • Seeds that have done nothing at all
  • And some mad wildflowers that have taken over the raised bed, whoops, so much for adding colour!

The last couple of days have been filled with excitment as our tomato plants finally put some energy into fruit instead of leaves.  And my son has enjoyed tasting the unripe strawberries. 

When we started, I got lots of books on ‘gardening with children’ out from the library but to be honest I just found them intimidating and overly detailed.  So we’re going back to experimenting – it’s the process not the product as my Playcentre philosophy reminds me!

Some gardening tools for Christmas, a renewed spirit, and some summer sun and we’re ready for whatever our next gardening adventure holds…

A quiet moment captured as DD3 and DS1 experience their earth

On the first day of gastro, my children gave to me two power chucks in the car and in the lounge

On the second day of gastro, my children gave to me a big sleep but no eating, and two power chucks in the car and in the lounge

On the third day of gastro, my children gave to me two catastrophic nappies in a cafe, a big sleep but no eating, and two power chucks in the car and in the lounge

On the fourth day of gastro, my children gave to me three sets of sheets to wash, two catastrophic nappies in a cafe, a big sleep but no eating, and two power chucks in the car and in the lounge

On the fifth day of gastro, my children gave to me one brown accident while napping, three sets of sheets to wash, two catastrophic nappies, a big sleep but no eating, and two power chucks in the car and in the lounge.

Please God, do not let there be a sixth day…

“It’s a balancing act, juggling kids and work”

Heard this before?  Today just feels too hard, more like a three ring circus with clowns throwing cream pies in my face and mad carnival music blaring in the background.  I’m feeling really sick of trying to ‘make it work’, find a balance, be all things to all people.  *Sigh* does anyone else ever feel like this?

Today, I left home at 6.20 to get into (paid) work.  My saint of a husband has the job of getting the two little ones to Playcentre and the nanny.  To compound his usual morning stress, we have overseas family coming to stay tonight so he had to fend off DS1’s attempts to trash the house, while making beds, packing bags, and clearing dishes.  While all this is going on, I’ve been working away at my computer for a solid couple of hours already.  So the story goes….  he’s got them both in the car, runs down to the house to grab the bags, comes back up and DS1 has vomitted his weetbix all of the car.  Great!  He unpacks them, runs everyone through the shower, changes, and cleans up the car.  Rings me – “what should I do?”. 

Bother bother blast and lots of other much more rude words, I think.

Now that Plan A has been copiously puked on, enter Plan B.

DD3 is fine, she can go to Playcentre.  DH and DS1 will come and pick me up from town and I’ll work from home.  Rescheduling 4 meetings is a small price to pay right? 

DH loads them back into the car and drives down to Playcentre.  DD3 does a flying leap from the car and headbutts the pavement.  Copious tears are added to the copious vomit.  DS1 vomits again.  Gross.

They finally arrive to pick me up at 10.30.  I’ve been working for nearly 4 hours.  I’m tired.  I’m worried for my wee boy.  I’m worried for my wee girl, although her head is fine apparently.  I’m worried because the nanny has been queasy all weekend but assures me she’s fine.  Should I take them both home with me?  If I just have DS I can put him down for his sleep and actually get some work done as I’m officially not on leave.  Will DD be happier with me at home but parked in front of the evil babysitter the TV?  Or happier with the nanny?  What if the nanny gets sick?  What if she has a head injury?  What if I am slowly going crazy but everyone is too kind to tell me??

*Sigh* (again).  I cannot stress how sick I am of this particular juggle.  I actually quite like multi-tasking, problem solving, and change.  But just not of this variety.  It only strengthens my desire to be at home with my darlings full-time next year.  

Days like today are very motivating!

  Tightrope, Vera Brosgol

Yesterday, I went to a birthday party extravaganza.  It involved a vast array of coordinated decorations, banners, photo displays, a themed cake, themed cupcakes, themed dip, themed biscuits, themed sandwiches, themed outdoor activities, remarkably great goodie bags, and costumes.  For a 1 year old.

I’ve always been sceptical of parties like this for little children.  Thoughts of one-upmanship, spoilt kids, and just sheer pointlessness have been top of mind in the past.


We all had a fantastic time.  There was lots of food and drink for the adults and the kids and lots of fun outdoor toys for the kids to play on.  I realised early on that the party was not only a celebration of the wee boy’s first year, but an outlet for the mum.  Typically a really social woman who loved entertaining, the first year of motherhood has brought, as it does for many of us, a bit of a change in social life.  She was the life of the party, not stressed out by it at all, just having a bloody good time.  The birthday boy went off to bed when he was tired, no worries about forcing him to stay up and appreciate presents or any of that.  It really was a celebration for their whole family.

Later on, parties become all about the kids, but if this family wanted to celebrate in this way, why not I say!?  It wouldn’t be something I’d choose to do myself (stressful!) but they and their guests (numbering 30+ adults and all the children) seemed to enjoy it immensely and there was not a whisper of trying to have the ‘best party on the block’.  All power to them I say!


Recently my darling DD3 has been experiencing separation anxiety at times when her Dad or I leave her – whether that’s leaving her with someone else or leaving her in her bed at night.  We’ve always believed in emotionally supporting and validating our little people’s feelings, and are strong advocates of having a parent in the home and of not pushing ‘independence’ on our little people too early, so it’s been hard to know what to do.  Luckily, we have a resident child pyschologist in our extended family so we called her in for a bit of a family conference.  One of the issues has been that we often talk about missing each other, even when there are short separations, like popping off to the gym. 

Here are some thoughts that she provided us with which I thought might be interesting to all of you with sensitive little ones.

“With talking to her about ‘missing you’, I think what she has learnt is that being apart from someone you love, means that you are sad.  That is her reality. Naturally, whenever any of us says anything like ‘I’m going to miss you’ it is not said in a happy cheerful way.  There will be suggestions of longing, sadness, pain, something undesirable.  My guess is that whenever any of us says ‘I’m going to miss you’ what we are actually meaning is that time spent with that person is very special, rather than time apart for that person means that I’m not having a good time and am sad.  Part of learning needs to be that time apart from each other with other people, or in other situations, is also special, fun, and exciting, too.  Of course, for all of us, there is often some sadness associated with parting but for little ones, this needs to not be the focus. I think for a three year old, the concept of a parent being sad when they’re away from the child is ‘too much’ for them.  They have no way of being able to ‘make things better’, for them or Mum or Dad – other than to make sure they’re never apart from Mum or Dad – and so we see ‘separation anxiety’.

Sounds fair enough right?  So what next then?  Key ideas include:

When leaving – talk with genuine enthusiasm and excitment about the things you’re going to be doing apart from her – “I can’t wait to…”, “At work today, I’ve got lots to do and I’m going to be so busy – like you at Playcentre”.  No talk about sad, lonely, missing feelings.  If she says something like “I’m missing Daddy”, acknowledge what she’s said and move straight on to something objective eg “You’re missing Daddy.  I wonder what you’re going to do while he’s at the gym?  May playdough? Or puzzles?”.

When ‘reconnecting’ – Things that will be more helpful to say when you reconnect, “It’s nice to see you”, “I’m happy to see you”, “Guess what I’ve been going?”, “I’ve been looking forward to reading some storeis with you”.  The big thins is for her to be hearing (and consequently learning) that being apart rom her/a person you love feels ‘ok’ for you.

So I thought you might find that interesting and helpful.  I really believe that separation from family at a young age is hugely difficult for little ones, and not best for their development and secure attachment, but it’s good to realise that as our DD3 gets older, there are things we can do to support her emotional independence, without expecting her to go out into the wide world without support from us.

I often feel a great sense of joy when I am getting in the freshly dried washing from the washing line at the end of the garden.  And then I ponder, is it sad that I get such a kick out of such a mundane event?  But I always come to the conclusion that those of us who find contentment and satisfaction from small things like fine days and dry laundry must surely be more joy-filled, than those who must seek out a constant parade of new thrills and experiences.

Ooo, we went on a trip to the bulk food store, Moore Wilsons today.  I’ve only ever been in for kitchen ware and toys but exploring the food aisles was fantastic!  Does anyone else get a huge sense of satisfaction from having a full pantry?  Perhaps a combination of feeling like I’m providing for my family (hhmm, does going to Woolworths Online qualify as hunter-gatherer behaviour?) and feeling ready for anything…

I loved the giant bags of flour and sugar and drinking chocolate, not to mention the enormous cans of fruit and outrageous bags of lollies!  Lucky it was just a recce mission or I might have walked out with the whole lot.  But things are definitely cheaper there so off I’ll go next week.  And the pit stop at the fruit and vege market yielded yummy rhubarb crumble for pudding and lots of lovely salad ingredients.

So my budget changes for the last couple of days are:

Friday: Put aside fresh baking for the children’s lunches.  I love to bake but DH and I are not always the most restrained so it often gets munched through in the evenings without the lunchboxes getting a lookin.  Now I have a special biscuit tin that is for lunches so I split that out as soon as it’s cooled – genius!

Saturday:  Share bulk food buying with another family.  As tempted as I was by the enormous bags of food, on a practical front, splitting this with my sister’s family will be more sensible.  A good way to benefit from buying in bulk without having to build a shed to store it all in.



This week, we were lucky enough to explore a local facility focusing on marine education and explore the nearby rockpools.  The children loved looking and learning, but there was even a ‘touch and learn’ tank.  DD3 was a bit nervous about handling the amazing creatures so I toughed it out and held a slightly freaky ‘brittlestar’ – related to but different from a star fish.  Some interesting facts for the day: Brittlestars have 5 long, narrow arms which are sharply demarcated from the small central disc. The entire body can be up to 50cm across (eek) and they are the most mobile of all ‘echinoderms’ (whatever those are?!).  They can regenerate their arms if these are lost.

Stick insects

On arriving home, we found a 20cm long stick insect on the window frame of our house – exciting!  Apparently they can grow up to 29cms – I’m sure we’ve had one this big before.  Interesting fact about their legs….they can shed them when in danger and they grow back too.

All in all, a good day for exploring the weird and wonderful in the local environment!