Monday, 26 January 2015

A New Baby and A School Boy ...

So I'm sitting up in the wee hours of the morning patting my baby back to sleep. His big wide eyes stare up at me in the darkness as I rock and pat, rock and pat, rock and pat...

Now some may think that my lack of sleep is making me crazy, but I have to admit that this is one of my favourite times of the day. These quiet stolen moments where me and my littlest are the only two awake, it's just me and him snuggling together in bed.

Time will pass in the blink of an eye. Soon it will be morning, the alarm will sound and I'll get on with my day. Half forgetting the hours I spent awake the night before. Too busy to slow down with so much to get done.

People often say "I don't know how you do it with three kids?" I usually just smile and shrug at them. I love it. It will be all to soon that my little baby will grow up into an independent person.

Yes, my littlest doesn't sleep well, but he is still only so little. So dependant on me. That needing stage, I love it and it doesn't last long enough. I am his mum and he needs me for everything. Even the basic things in life we take for granted, like sleep. He needs me to help teach him how to go to sleep. And that is one of my jobs as his mum. I am his first teacher. It's me who must show him with patience and kindness until he has master it on his own.

With my oldest about to start school I have discovered my love of this feeling of being needed, because like everything in life it doesn't last.

Tomorrow I will stand - probably propped up against a wall - as I watch my first little baby start school. An exciting, emotional, nerve racking time for all of us. Where did my precious little baby go...

I have no idea what to expect. No idea how he will react. Now idea if he will cope well or not. Or even how I will react or cope? These are the fears that filter through my head during these early hours.

My oldest little baby, so grown up and heading off into the world without my hand in his. Just thinking about it makes my eyes well. How are you suppose to be able to let them go? How are you suppose to let a piece of yourself spend five days a week apart from you? So far their whole life has been wrapped around you. They have gone where you go, done what you do. It's hard to now let them go off on their own.

I read somewhere the other day that on the first day of school there are two types of parents. The first type, Type A, you will see wearing dark sunglasses, huddled together as if protecting each other from the cold. They talk in low voices, anxiously wondering what their children will do without them, constantly checking the clock, counting down the minutes until the teacher, as politely as possible, kicks them out of the classroom.

The second type, Type B, you will hardly see. They will be just a blur in the school yard. Their children will probably hurry off to find something to do and you might see them in the distant jumping for joy as they hop into their car; a woooohoooo echoing through the play ground.

Well obviously I will be a Type A.

I know some may tell me to get a grip.

That I am sending him off to school, not off to war.

But this is the start of a new life for him and he doesn't even know it. A new life without me!

It will be the first time in his life that if he gets hurt he can't come and find me so I can give him a hug and make him feel better. He will have to do it alone.

It will be the first time in his life that if he has a question he can't come and ask me. He will have to ask someone else.

It will be the first time in his life that he will have to make all the decisions on his own.

I am no longer his only 'teacher'. I feel like I have been demoted. As if one of the jobs from the Mum Job Description has been wiped off. Right under Taxi Driver, Doctor and Chef....

It is not as though he has never been alone before, or apart from me. But this feels so different, so permanent.

Oh dear I'm such a sad sap! but just getting it out has made me feel just a little better.

So anyone else got kiddies starting this year? How is everyone else coping? Anyone out there as anxious as I am???


Well I was probably worrying for nothing, but we did have a few tears on the first couple of days. We have settled in nicely now.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

An Organised Morning Routine and Useful Weekly Calendar ...

Does anyone else have a little monster (or princess) heading off to school. As the date draws closer I feel myself getting more and more anxious.

I know, I'm meant to be the calm one, and it's the kids who are anxious, but this is my first time and every night I feel the fears start to settle in as I am laying in bed.

This sort of vicious circle of thinking keeps me up till all hours of the morning. Are they ready for school? Of course they are, everyone goes to school at five and they all cope just fine ... Am I ready for them to be at school? Have I made enough different snacks in the freezer? Of course you have, and you can always make more ... How will they cope without me there to guide them? What if they forget were their classroom is when the lunch bells sounds? Calm down, I'm sure their teacher will explain it all to them and the staff probably keep an extra eye on all those new little ones ... Will they remember to wait for me at the class? I hope he doesn't decide to walk home without me. I'll have to make sure that I'm at the class room at least 15 minutes early ...

Well as you can tell I haven't been sleeping much, and that's not including the two month old baby who wakes me several times a night to be fed.

One of my foremost concerns is making sure that he will be arriving to school on time. Which has as much to do with me as it does with him. Some morning in our house seem to go forever, while others flash by, especially if you need to be out of the house by 8.30am.

So to help us to get out of the door I have made up a morning routine chart to display on the wall, so that Harry can see exactly what needs to be done, in what order, and can take a bit of responsibility for making sure that he is ready.

We also use our kids calendars to ensure that everyone know what is happening and when. This idea came out of my son and his million questions a day.
"What day is it today?"
"What are we doing today?"
"When do we go and see Nanny?"
"What does the weekend mean?"
"How long until we go to Grandma's house?"

So we came up with a weekly calendar that both Harry and Lillie would be able to read and understand. I designed and laminated the background with the seven days on it and then small cards with both a picture and the word of activities we might do in a week. These included the obvious - Kindy, Child Care, School - as well as the more specific - Doctor's Visits, Dentist, Hair Cuts, Dance Lessons, Football, Shopping, Playground, Excursions, Swimming Lessons, Parties, Library Days, and then of course visiting Nanny and Grandad and Grandma.

Now I made the cards using the Silhouette Studio software that came with my Cameo machine (I absolutely love this software it is amazing!)  I printed off enough of each card as I thought we would need in a week - so school is five days a week so I printed of five school cards. You can see though that sometimes for very special events that we don't have a card for we use a whiteboard marker to draw it on.

Here Harry drew a picture of a baby because that was the day I was going into hospital to have Archie. As well as a Christmas Tree because that was the day of his Kindy Christmas Party...

I also have a little boy and a little girl with 'Today' written on them that we move along each day.
Now each Sunday Harry will help me to choose the correct cards to add to the next week. It is great for him to be able to see what is happening and what to expect. I think that it gives him a sense of control in his surroundings. It also means when all those questions come out I can just tell him to go and check the calendar and that is that.

 What do you do to help your kids to know what is going on each week?

Teacher Presents ... Cookie Boxes ...

Well I may be a little late with this as we are now coming to the end of January, but I wanted to show you my teacher Christmas presents from last year because I absolutely loved them.

I decided that this year I was going to come up with one idea and do it for everyone. By 'everyone' I mean teachers, carers, friends, aunts and uncles, cousin, etc...

So I have always been praised on my baking so I though what a perfect idea to make everyone a box of my most favourite Christmas Cookies.

Well easier said than done really ... I had worked out that I needed to make 25 boxes of cookies and with each box containing 10 different flavours of cookie and then at least 2/3 of each flavour, suddenly I was preparing to make 500-750 cookies. Ekkkkk

I also failed to mention that my youngest baby boy was born on November 22nd...

Ohhhh so cute!

Anyway I had to get my baking on straight away or I knew I was never going to get those cookies ready on time.

For flavours I went for
  • Christmas Choc-Chip Cookies
  • Snowflake Cookies
  • Red Velvet
  • Gingerbread Men
  • Oreo Peppermint Crunch
  • Jam Drops
  • Ginger Doodles
  • White Choc Cranberry
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

So I started by making measuring out double batches of each different cookies and placing all the ingredients into labelled snap lock bags. For example I had all the dry ingredients for my gingerbread cookies in one bag, and all the wet in another.

Then it was time to make up the doughs. I did a couple of these a day to try and spread out the time I was spending in the kitchen. I had to work around naps, feeding, picking up children from child care and kindy etc.

This step consisted of using my pre-measured ingredients and mixing them up into the ready dough. Then using my LOVED ice cream scoop I divided all the dough onto lined baking trays and placed the trays into the freezer. I had a lot of cookie balls so I used some 'in between paper' between each layer of balls.

After a couple of hours, or overnight depending on my mood, I would take them out of the freezer and load them all into a large snap lock bag and placed them back into the freezer for storage. This processed helped me to ensure that I was giving each different person a box full of freshly baked cookies.

The next step was actually baking the cookies. I was lucky that I didn't need to give out these 25 boxes all on the same day, and I was actually able to spread it into 3 batches of 8/9 boxes each. The rest was time consuming, but relatively straight forward. I just took out the amount of cookies I needed of each flavour, lined then along my bench, let them defrost for a couple of minutes and then cooked them in batches in the oven.


I forgot to mention before that three of my cookie flavours were roll out cookies and with them I had to divide the dough into three to freeze, then rolled and cut the cookies when I was baking them.

Bagging and boxing...


So Much Washing ... Labelled Laundry Baskets ...

Laundry ... it is going to be the death of me ...

It is never ending ... load after load ...

With five people in our family no matter how much laundry I might do in a day as soon as dinner is done and everyone heads to the bathroom it's as though the clothes have multiplied and suddenly I have a whole basket full of washing again.

So to help with the endless laundry in our house I had to come up with a system.

OK so laundry consists of finding dirty clothes, sorting into whites and colours, washing, drying (either on the line or in the dryer depending on the weather - although I usually do dry the underwear in the dryer because it's quick and saves using a million pegs to hang it all up ... lazy I know!), sorting into each person, folding, more sorting into types of clothing, and then putting away. I'm sure most people agree that this is 'doing the washing' and should inform my husband that it isn't just finding dirty clothes, shoving them into machine and forgetting about it!

So to help with all that sorting I have a labelled basket for each family member. It means when the dry washing needs to be sorted you can just throw it into each basket. Sometime I can do it straight from the washing line. Now to be honest sometimes it stays like that until you need something clean and you go and have a dig though your basket. Sometimes I manage to fold it and it goes back into the basket folded. And sometimes it actually makes it back to the right bedroom and the right drawer!!! But I did say 'sometimes' not 'usually'. Let's face it I have a dozen things I would rather be doing with my time than laundry.

Anyway so here are the baskets...

It was as easy as making the labels, laminating and hot gluing them to the basket. I also have a tin for socks that have magically lost their mate along the way. I just used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out a vinyl label for the tin. After a couple of weeks I decide to cut my losses and just toss out all the odd socks.

So that's our laundry sorting system. Next time I will tell you about my homemade laundry liquid which is so much better for the environment and your budget then the stuff you pay at the shops and seems to last forever with just using a couple of cheap ingredients!!!