Monday, October 29, 2012

Handling a distracted eater

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I must confess this parental failing I have: I chase after my toddler at meal times.

Yes. I am one of those parents that run after their child at meal times, spoon in hand, attempting to shovel food into my son’s mouth as he plays, watches TV or runs around.

Innocent beginnings
The whole thing started innocently enough when we were trying to encourage him to be more independent at meal times to sit at his own child-sized table and chair to eat his food.

However at less than two years old, his attention span barely lasted more than a minute before he became bored. So I started bringing in different things to distract him… having another set of utensils to play with, other toys, TV…

Pushing boundaries
Before long he started to test and push boundaries, wandering off to grab another a book or toy, then wandering off further and further away until I had to run after him to bring him back.

By then I realised that we had ended up in a very compromising situation where I was being sucked into this long drawn-out meal-time process just to get food down into my toddler’s tummy.

Things were getting out of hand
The whole thing was getting out of hand, so we called a parenting meeting between hubs and I.

We realised that we needed to stop making excuses for Nathan that he is still young or still learning how to behave or doesn’t really understand yet. What we decide to enforce IS the way he will learn how to behave.

So we decided to set some basic rules:

  • At meal times, bums must strictly remain on the chair at all times
  • No TV allowed at meal times
  • One toy may be allowed at the table
  • Parents will decide when meal time is over

Ups and downs
Of course we have had plenty of ups and downs, and often we had to resort to the dreaded time-out chair when rules are not complied with.

We’ve experienced some meltdowns and food being flung everywhere. And sometimes I make the mistake of letting Nathan push boundaries too far before enforcing the rule or punishment.

On the right track
Despite the challenges, we have honestly seen some marked improvement during meal times over the past few weeks. And the majority of meal times now run fairly smoothly with bum remaining in chair (although we still sometimes encounter the occasional escapee situation).

It’s still on ongoing learning process for everyone, but I think we all seem to be heading in the right direction.

Have any of you faced a similar issue? If you have any tips and advice to share, please feel free to share them with this mummy-in-training as I’m eager to learn from you guys.

Linking up to

www.ajugglingmom.com

P.S: At the moment Nathan’s meal times are at an earlier time separate from us because I usually prepare a different toddler-meal for him and also to align the timing with his nap/sleep times. However now that he is getting older, I am planning to transition him to eat at the adult table with us for dinner. This will be a bit challenging because it means I will have to work hard prepare the full dinner meal for everyone right on time (usually we adults are flexible to eat much later in the evening after we settle Nathan’s bath and sleep time). Not sure how this plan will go yet, but we’ll give it a go and see how it works out.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Have a wonderful weekend

Our photo moment of the week

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We’ve had a wonderful week with both my parents here. Nathan is totally basking and revelling in all the grandparently love. The weather bureau has promised a beautiful sunny weekend, so we’re planning to milk it to the max with a trip to a couple of wineries in Swan Valley on Saturday and maybe a leisurely brunch in Fremantle or Coogee Beach on Sunday.

And as always…

Some linky treasures for your weekend

It’s about time I treat my Dyson vacuum to this

People with beautiful thoughts can never be ugly

Changing my world 15 minutes at a time

And if Dr Seuss wrote Star Wars

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Homemade Lavender Tea

I’m not really much of a gardener. I leave almost all the planting, weeding, pruning and watering to my man. But the one section I do love most in our garden is our lavender plot.

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There is just something so therapeutic and soothing about the scent of lavender. Sometimes when I need a quick pick-me-up, I head out and pluck a couple of stalks, rub them in my palm and breathe in the scent.

Another lovely way I use my lavender is to make my own  Lavender Tea

After harvesting the lavender, I wash the flowers in water and lay them out on a clean towel to dry (usually 2-3 days in good warm weather)

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Once they are completely dried, I pick the flowers off the stems and strip the tiny blossoms off

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Then I mix them together with some good quality black loose-leaf tea leaves – approximate 1:1 ratio. If you don’t want to add the black tea, you can also enjoy the lavender tea just plain as it is

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To enjoy, simply scoop a couple of teaspoons into a tea ball or an infuser, pour in some hot water and let it steep for a minute or so.

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The effect you get is a whiff of lavender with each sip – not too overpowering

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These would also make lovely gifts sewn up in some small muslin bags in little tea sachets

Apart from lavender, you can also try this method with other herbs like mint or basil.

Happy Friday!

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Linking up to

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Let the children play

One of the most amazing things I find about children is their innate ability to play.

They don’t necessarily need a lot of sophisticated toys. Children can turn pretty much anything into a toy or create a whole play scenario from just one or two simple items.

So this month, I observed and collected some evidence of play scenarios created by me and my little man with just a couple of basic household items.

Simple Water Play
With just a few plastic containers filled with some water, my little one was fully engrossed in scooping, pouring and watching the water stream and trickle out from one container to another

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Magic Cubby House
An ordinary picnic blanket draped over some furniture can magically transform ordinary items into an instant cubby house for little people to crawl under and be in their own little world

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Pretend Cooking
An old pot and a basic utensil can transform any kid into an instant chef – Lego blocks and little knick-knacks become yummy stews, casseroles and a myriad of other dishes

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Just mummy and me
And even with nothing else but just mummy and me, we can have the best time in the whole wide world just singing and talking and laughing and just being silly together

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Celebrating my little one along with this series on…
 
www.ajugglingmom.com

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Old friends

My mother and her sister catching up with an old friend

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“One of the greatest titles we can have is ‘old friend’. We never appreciate how important old friends are until we are older. The problem is we need to start our old friendships when we are young. We then have to nurture and grow those friendships over our middle age when a busy life and changing geographies can cause us to neglect those friends. Today is the day to invest in those people we hope will call us 'old friend’ in the years to come.”

– Grant Fairley

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Linking up to

Monday, October 22, 2012

A shoe box filled with love

It was this story that touched my heart and moved me to tears…

“I’ve never gotten a gift like this before,” said six year old Pov. “I like the stuffed animal the most,” she added, pulling the stuffed gorilla tightly into a hug. With an unstoppable grin on her face, Pov carefully looked through the contents of her shoe box stopping to inspect a pencil case filled with pencils and erasers and pens. “I will use this for school,” she said. “I like it so much!”

So this year our family decided to get in on the action and pack a shoe box present to bless an underprivileged child through Operation Christmas Child, an initiative by Samaritan’s Purse.

Here’s what we did…

I found an empty shoe box

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Covered it in wrapping paper

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And start filling it with presents!

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Apart from toys, gift suggestions also include clothes, personal hygiene items like a toothbrush or comb, and pencils, erasers, exercise books and stationery items for school.

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Nathan also offered his favourite football softie toy. However I was already having trouble squeezing all the items in, so I said he could hang on to it. But I helped him draw and colour something nice to put in.

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Final count of all the presents (this will be a bit of a squeeze)

Something to love ~ a little puppy soft toy
Something for school ~ crayons and notebook
Something to wear ~ a T-shirt and a pair of shorts
Something to play with ~ matchbox cars and bouncy balls
Something for personal hygiene ~ a toothbrush
Something special ~ a water bottle and a story book

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It didn’t really take a great deal of effort to put this little box together. But just imagining the look on that mystery child’s face light up at the sight of these gifts is enough for me.

Related links and resources:
About Operation Christmas Child
Samaritan’s Purse International

And if you’re not based in Australia, here are some other options you can check out for blessing a needy child this Christmas:
World Vision Singapore Life Changing Gifts for Needy Children
World Vision Malaysia Gifts of Hope

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Linking up to

www.ajugglingmom.com

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Have a super weekend

Our photo moment of the week

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Photo Caption
On the menu for dinner…
Stewed pork belly by Chef Mummy & Lego casserole by Sous-Chef Nathan

 

Linky treasures for your weekend

How to make restaurant style steak at home

This crusty bread recipe sounds like a must-try

Interesting infographic on what your web design says about you

And don’t throw away those food scraps!

 

Have a super weekend

Friday, October 19, 2012

Buddha’s fruit herbal tea

A bout of cold-flu-bug has been hovering over our household lately. Nathan had suffered from a very bad cough and runny nose and my mum has been battling a case of the sniffles. As for me, I’ve been plagued with a couple of extremely painful and persistent mouth ulcers.

I was taught that all these type of symptoms are associated with a traditional Chinese concept known as ‘heatiness’. Pretty much every type of illness and health issue in the entire traditional Chinese world is supposedly linked to the balance of ‘heaty’ and ‘cooling’ elements in the body.

To counteract the symptoms of heatiness and avoid any resulting illness associated with this condition, we are told to avoid ‘heaty’ foods and to drink ‘cooling’ herbal drinks.

One of the most popular ‘cooling’ herbal remedy is Loh Han Kor tea.

Loh han kor or Buddha’s fruit can be found in the dried herbal section at  any oriental store.

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The fruit consists of a solid outer shell, with a soft furry texture inside. Although it may not look like it, the fruit is very very very sweet. In fact, it is almost 300 times sweeter than sugar!

To make a basic loh han kor drink, all you need to do is break open the fruit and throw the whole thing in (shell and all) into 1-2 litres of water and simmer it for around 45 minutes. The sweetness of the tea can be very strong, so you can dilute it slightly with more water as needed.

If you’d like to get a little fancier, here is a simple recipe to make loh han kor herbal tea
(recipe adapted from Kuali.com and messywitchen.com)

Ingredients
1 whole dried loh han kor or Buddha’s fruit (gently crushed open)
8-10 dried red dates or jujubes
6-9 dried longan*
80 grams rock sugar
2 litres water

(*Longan can be eliminated if you want the tea to be more cooling as longan fruit is considered to be heaty)

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Place all ingredients except longan into a pot, bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer gently for about 45 minutes. Add longan in at this point and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes.

Serve hot or cold.

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Happy Friday!

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Linking up to…

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Monday, October 15, 2012

A father who shows his love

Today’s post is a special one for my father’s birthday coming up this week.

How does your father show his love to you?

Compared to mothers, most fathers are generally not seen to be as demonstrative of their love and affection. When we talk about the traditional role of fathers, most people would associate words like ‘Provider’,  ‘Leader’ or ‘Head of the household’.

I now realise how tremendously blessed I am to have a father who decided to break out of the traditional mould of fathers in showing his love to his children.

So when I reflect on my own relationship with my father and how my dad showed his love to me as his daughter, two things immediately come to my mind…

dadswritingLove letter from dad
My father has a very distinct handwriting – strong and bold, every word written at a firm 30 degree angle. Over the years, his handwriting has become a familiar sight on documents, addresses and birthday cards. But the full preciousness of his handwriting came through during the time when I first came to Perth for university studies.

My dad had flown over to Perth with me to ensure I settled in well in uni. On the last day of his stay, after we said our goodbyes I went back to my room and discovered a sealed envelope with my name written in his familar handwriting. Inside was a letter from him.

In the letter he wrote about how proud he and mum were of me, he asked me to take care of myself and reminded me to call him if I ever needed help, then signed Love, Dad.

It was a simple letter, but I could sense every word carrying his love and prayers. That is why it is so precious. I keep the letter in my box of treasured items because I know no matter what happens in the future, I will always have this letter as a keepsake of my father’s love for me.

Take the time to write your children a letter… sign it, seal it… Your child will quietly realize the letter he or she holds is from a man unlike any other in the world –Dad. Letters from friends may eventually get thrown out, but Dad’s letters get safely put away. And in the future, during those discouraging moments or perhaps on lonely days, those notes come out again and again, bringing the reader an assurance of one certainty –Dad’s love. (Gary Ezzo, Growing Kid's God’s Way]

 

hugsdadThe biggest hugs
My father is not a big man. Across the general population, his height and built is fairly average. But going by hugs, there’s no denying he is the biggest man I know in the whole wide world.

When my dad hugs someone, he REALLY hugs them. Like really pulls you in, arms wide and fully open, then tightly enveloped around you completely and holds you captive for at least a good moment or longer. Sometimes his hugs are so tight, I have to remind myself to breathe.

My dad’s gigantic hugs are just like him–big hearted and generous with no holds barred. No matter how old I get, I will never get tired of getting his hugs.

There is something very special about Dad’s arms. Mom’s arms are comforting, but Dad’s arms are secure… Our children are never too old to be kissed, hugged or held –ever! Even as a full-grown man, I would give anything to be held one more time by my own dad who passed away… (Gary Ezzo, Growing Kids God’s Way]

 

Although this post is dedicated first and foremost to my dad, I hope you enjoyed taking a moment to reflect on and be thankful for your own father… and maybe also be grateful for the man in your life (who might also be the father to your own kids).

Happy Monday folks!

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Linking up to

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Babywearing giveaway winner!

Thanks again for all the lovely comments on your favourite thing about babywearing.

As promised here is the announcement of the winner of the ERGObaby Doll Carrier

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Congratulations to Pam!
Your comment about how babywearing enabled you to go “off track” was really insightful:

My favourite thing about babywearing is that we can off track, to places we can't go with the buggy… e.g. walk back to the car via the beach or walk right over the headland with our toddler and have the ergo with us just in case she can't quite manage the whole route – no need to drag a buggy along for the ride

(Babes In Arms should be in touch soon to organise the delivery of the doll carrier)

I wish there were more prizes to give away as each of the comments had something that resonated with me in some way.

More than that, it was nice to connect personally with some of you and to discover some great new blogs to add to my reader.

To keep the love going, I’m planning another giveaway of my own as well very soon – possibly from my own little sewing room. So keep a look out ^_^

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Have a great weekend

Our photo moment of the week

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Sorry for the slight delay in this week’s photo moment and linky treasures post. There was just so much going on since yesterday gearing up for a super busy weekend. We were at a wedding this morning, so it was only fitting that this week’s photo moment happened there.

And thanks everyone for all the lovely comments and anecdotes on your favourite babywearing memories giveaway. I’ll be looking them all over again to select a winner and announce it by tomorrow. So stay tuned!

And as always…

Here is this week’s instalment of linky treasures

If I were to get married again I would love to wear this and carry this

A simple and clever way to cook and serve up flower eggs

A cute and whimsical peanut-butter-jelly-sandwich game

And this simple craft would be just lovely for Christmas

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Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Super easy recipes roundup

With my mum around, I haven’t been doing much cooking at all this past couple of weeks. My mum would definitely have some great recipes to share, so I will aim to do a special one featuring a really nice dish made by her in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I thought to do a roundup of some of my favourite super-easy recipes I’ve shared in the past – all requiring only a handful ingredients and fool-proof cooking processes…

Homemade microwave kaya (coconut jam)
Made with only four ingredients and whipped up using a microwave oven.
Tastes awesome too when it’s freshly made!
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One-minute chocolate mug-cake
Only needs three ingredients and also just zapped in the microwave in a minute.
An instant chocolate cake fix anytime you need it.
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One ingredient ice cream
Made with just ONE ingredient with the aid of a food processor
No garbage in it – this is the only ‘ice cream’ my son has tasted and he loves itDSC00777

These recipes are too simple to mess up that you absolutely have to try them.
Do share them with me if you do – I’d love to see how they turn out for you.

Happy Friday everyone!

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Linking up to…

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Going to bed angry

Why is it the worst flare ups always happen at the worst timings?

Like late at night or before bed. Worst still, having an early start or an important meeting the next morning.

It’s exhausting, mind-numbing, frustrating, stupid, inconvenient and just plain unfair.

I hate it. Yet I cannot let go. I’m one of those folks that would rather plant my flag on that hill and die there. Kamikaze style.

So…

Question: Is it OK to go to bed angry?

I’ve read various conflicting views on this and both sides appear equally convincing…

I know sometimes we need to call a truce or ceasefire, but at the same time I don’t want to die from a heart-attack or stroke in the middle of the night (due to going to bed still hopping mad)

There was something peculiarly gratifying about shouting in a blind rage until your words ran out. Of course, the aftermath was less pleasant. Once you'd told everyone you hated them and not to come after you, where exactly did you go?”
Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

 

So what then?

Well to requote something a wise friend of mine previously quoted...

Sometimes the godliest thing you can do in the universe
is get a good night’s sleep

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Hope you all  had a good night’s sleep.

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Linking up to

Talkative Thursdays

Monday, October 08, 2012

The importance of confinement support

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A friend recently shared this article on Facebook which talked about how cultures who practice some form of ‘confinement period’ after childbirth appeared to have a lower incidence of post-partum depression. I can personally testify to the truth of this article.

Fending for ourselves…
After Nathan was born when I arrived home from the hospital, there was a short interval of one week when we pretty much had to fend for ourselves. My mother who was coming to look after me was not able to come earlier due to some logistical issues. I had pre-cooked and frozen some meals in preparation for this and my darling hubby did the best he could to help out around the house.

A very trying time…
Despite all my preparations, that interval was still a very trying time for me. I was sleep-deprived, learning how to handle a new baby, I was in pain due to my stitches, my brain was all frazzled and I had little patience to give specific instructions to my hubby for every little task he was helping with.

Breaking down…image
I remember on the third day after we arrived home from the hospital, I had a home visit from a midwife as part of the hospital’s post-natal care. After the midwife had examined and weighed baby Nathan, she turned to me and asked gently “so how are YOU doing, dear?”.

It was such a simple question, but I immediately broke down and started crying. That was really a low point for me.

Thankfully, my mother arrived just a few days later to look after me. I definitely appreciated having home-cooked food all the time, not having to worry about doing dishes, laundry or housework, and being able to rest and sleep whenever I could in between baby’s feeds and wake-times.

Looking back…
Looking back on the whole experience, it made me realise how important the ‘confinement period’ is in our culture. Whether or not we follow all the traditional practices to the letter, I think the key thing is having someone to provide practical functional care and loving support.

Considering others…
After reading the article and reflecting on my own personal experience, I think I should try to be a little more pro-active in offering practical help or support to fellow first-time mommy friends. Particular if they’re in a situation like me, being far away from family, especially in their post-partum period.

Whether it’s bringing over a full-blown traditional confinement dish or helping to wash their dishes or just popping by to see how they’re doing – if they are anything like me, even a small act of kindness can make a big difference.

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Linking up to Susan’s Motivational Mondays

www.ajugglingmom.com

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Have a lovely weekend

Our photo moment of the week

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So things have been pretty peachy now that my mum is here to visit. She’s been helping with the cooking, cleaning, gardening and looking after Nathan. She’s even attempting to get Nathan trained up on doing some housework. If everything goes to plan, I should be able to put up my feet more even after she leaves.

Here is this week’s round of linky treasures…

Loving these homemade bows from this awesome kids archery party

This DIY collapsible cardboard playhouse looks totally doable

Planning to make this for my little man for an upcoming wedding

DIY fort kits for kids – what a great idea!

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Have a lovely weekend.