Friday, 29 March 2013

13/52

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Noah and Isabelle: This is the scene that greeted me on Tuesday after I returned from taking a phone call in another room. A tender brother and sister moment where Isabelle hugged Noah while they watched a kid’s movie on my laptop. (A scene that was made even sweeter by the gripping cricket game going on in the TV in the background  – something that I expect only other crazy Kiwi cricket fans to understand.)

Joining in over here

For the rest of my 52 project (so far) see here

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Inspiration { Yellow }

I’m not normally a major lover of yellow, but something has possessed me recently to want to rush out and buy yellow sandals, gumboots and knee high socks for the whole family and to want to whip up pleasant blouses and sew this coat in that exact colour. (And don’t worry about my often lamented, every growing ‘to do’ list – it’s a Spring Coat, so I’ve got a while!)

[Click each image to go to original link – or at least as far back as I could trace. You can also find these on my Pinterest boards.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe the reason for this recent love affair with yellow is due to it being dominant in my inspiration for the new baby's room, (‘room’  really meaning nook in our room) ; … or perhaps it’s my way of paying homage to and farewelling what has been a long hot Summer here in our little part of the world? (It’s still lingering, by the way). Or perhaps it’s just Pinterest’s fault - (highly likely.)

Whatever it is, it has also got me craving slathering's of melted butter on hot crumpets.

What is inspiring you lately?

x

Monday, 25 March 2013

{Cherry Top Rewards: Success Chart} Review and Giveaway!

Check out this amazing new product, the 'Success Chart' from Cherry Top Rewards. Every time you want to reward your child for a task completed or for their behaviour, let them scratch off a Success Circle. They get the instant reward of finding out what exciting picture lies underneath!

Krystal from Cherry Top Rewards kindly sent me two charts. One for us to review and one to give away to you lovely people!

As I mentioned in this post I’ve really been concentrating on being more intentional and positive in my parenting, especially when it comes to Mr Noah, my headstrong yet delightful 4 year old.

I have found that this chart has been an excellent tool in encouraging and motivating Noah in a positive way. He loves getting to scratch off the circle and can’t wait to see what is hiding underneath. He seems much more excited about this than any sticker chart I’ve done before. (Besides I’ve had a couple of occasions where the sticker book was discovered and the TV got covered in stickers – I fortunately don’t have that problem with this chart!)

We’ve been using the chart to encourage positive behaviour from Noah – at his kindy they use the phrase ‘good choices’ something we try and carry over at home. If he makes a ‘good choice’ or decides against making a ‘bad choice’ he gets to scratch off a success circle.  Recently Noah had a splinter in his foot and I told him he could also scratch off a circle if I could remove the splinter with a needle. Not only did he gladly let me remove the splinter he also offered me another (phantom) ‘splinter’ to remove. It turned out it was a freckle. I guess this is a testament as to how much a hit this chart is with my kid!

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I also love all the innovative ideas and helpful tips on encouraging your kids on the back of the Success Chart (see the second to top photo). For example:

“The best goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.”

And..

“…Take photos or draw pictures of the tasks and/or behaviours you’ll be rewarding, and stick them right next to the chart. Combined, they’ll be a visual reminder of the goals you’ve set together.

You can use this chart for toilet training, sleeping through the night, brushing teeth etc. Set the rules and boundaries so that it suits your family’s needs…”

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We’ve been keeping Noah’s chart hanging above his bed with special photos, his artworks, certificates and other treasures.

Noah’s scratched off a few more circles than when these photos were taken and when he completes the chart I plan to turn it into a fun game of bingo – by cutting it into 4 for 4 players and the winner is decided when a row is covered. That way the fun can continue and Noah can be reminded of his success and reward for good behaviour every time he plays it.

Want to buy your own Success chart?

You can buy yours here via the Cherry Top Rewards Facebook page. (At the time of writing this post the cost for a success chart is NZD$10.95.) And if you don’t have Facebook you can also buy your success chart from the following retailers: Weepals, Urban Bambini, Kebe Kids, Toytistic, Bella Bambini, IQ Toys, Bubbalooz, Bee My Baby.

And, do you remember me mentioning the word … GIVEAWAY???

Here is how you can win your own success chart: (There are 3 possible entries – the more times you enter the higher your chances of winning):

Entry #1: Comment here with what you’d use the success chart for.

Entry #2: ‘Like’ Cherry Top Rewards on Facebook.

Entry #3: Share the link for this giveaway on your choice of social media (FB/ twitter/ blog/ pinterest etc…)

Please leave a separate comment for each entry and leave your email address if it’s not linked in your profile.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS OPEN INTERNATIONALLY FOR 2 WEEKS ENDING MONDAY 8 APRIL 2013 8PM NZ TIME. I will also throw in a little mystery item from me too (I haven’t decided on what yet!)

Good luck and thanks again to Krystal of Cherry Top Rewards.

Jenny x

Joining in with Miriam and others for 'Becoming the Mama I want to be.'

Sunday, 24 March 2013

12/52

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Isabelle: Big doe eyes and a continuing love affair with her thumb, a standard expression of Miss Isabelle’s.

Noah: Over the fence on Uncle Nathan’s shoulders retrieving a toy car*.

*(The day before Nathan who stayed over the weekend asked Noah what was over the fence (a vacant section). Noah replied: ‘cars.’ Nathan said – ‘there’s no cars over there’; to which Noah responded saying: ‘there is now’ and promptly threw his toy car over the fence!)

Joining in over here

For the rest of my 52 project (so far) see here

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Nursery Art and Nesting

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On Tuesday I made this simple artwork to hang by the new baby’s change table. It was a bit hard to photograph, but essentially its just some letters stamped on cute fabric in a bright yellow frame.

(I tend to sing “you are my sunshine” to my babies when they are little. And I have one particularly vivid memory of singing it to a very colicky Noah in the middle of one very looong night.)

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Our region had recently been declared to be suffering a drought and we were getting some much needed rain at the time I was making this, so I thought the rain clouds were rather fitting. It also fits with my overall theme of yellow, hot air balloons and clouds and things (see my unisex baby inspiration post here).

I use the word ‘nursery’ (in ‘Nursery Art’) in quite a broad sense, as the baby will actually be in our room for the first 4-6 months. Fortunately we have a quite a bit of space in our room, and I’ve been enjoying starting to set things up in there.

We haven’t any drawers for the baby yet so I have instead put the change table in our room and bought some wire baskets under it in which to store little clothes and bits and bobs. I initially wanted yellow wire baskets, but these were hard to come by. Someone suggested that I could spray paint them with auto paint (a great idea), but I quite like the white and to be honest really can’t be bothered!

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I’ve been plodding away on the hexagon quilt too, although now I’m thinking of making it bassinet not cot size! We’ll see.

Speaking of bassinets, we still haven’t decided whether we are going to use a bassinet or baby hammock yet. At any rate the hammock/ bassinet with be positioned next to the change table near the head of our bed, and will have the hot air balloon hanging over it and this Sweet William print.

I just love organising a baby nursery/ nook!

I have a few more decorating ideas, but now have to decide which ones I’m going to do … you could say I have too many ideas!

Joining in with my creative space and Show and Tell.

Jenny x

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

New glasses and a 34 week old bump

Check out my new glasses from Firmoo... And they were free!

It was perfect timing as I needed new glasses … it’s a long story. Basically Isabelle had snapped one of the arms off my old glasses and I had temporarily ‘fixed’ it with washi tape (NOT a child’s sticking plaster as some suggested!) This was ok as I had a well overdue eye test anyway and needed new lenses (my eye sight actually improved??? Who knew this was possible? I’m short sighted and basically my prescription went from –1.5 in each eye to –1.25) . But instead of spending at least $160 on glasses at my local optometrist I decided to take Firmoo up on their offer.

When  Firmoo first contacted me a while back about reviewing a pair of their glasses, I have to admit I was a bit sceptical. While I’m totally up for reviewing products here on my blog I want to first be sure that it’s a product and company that I can fully stand behind and that I can give a neutral, unbiased review. I shouldn’t have worried, Firmoo is actually the ‘world’s most popular online glasses store’ and also encouraged me to be completely honest in my views of their products.

I think the thing that most impressed me about Firmoo was the speed at which I received my glasses. I literally ordered them on Monday last week and I received them Monday this week. Whaaaat? That’s a turnaround period of one week… and with delivery to little old NZ???

Because these glasses cost me nothing, I decided to be a bit adventurous and try a more thicker frame than I’m used to.  I selected this style in black. I found Firmoo’s website super easy to navigate and despite not physically being able to try on the glasses as I would in a store I was able to virtually try them on using a webcam photo. My other observations of the glasses are  that they are well made, sturdy and comfortable and they very handily came with a nice case, cleaning cloth and tool with spare screws.

To be honest I’m still getting used to the style, but it’s growing on me; as is that belly – get a load of that thing!

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I’m wearing: Glasses – c/- Firmootop – Farmers, Jeans – Pumpkin Patch Maternity (borrowed from a friend), necklace and shoes – Number One Shoe Warehouse, cuff bracelet – op shop.

Did you know, that you too can get your hands on a FREE pair of Firmoo glasses? You just have to pay shipping. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a prescription, a lot of people these days wear non-prescription glasses as a fashion statement/ accessory; and Firmoo caters to this too.

Click  here to take Firmoo up on their first pair free deal!

See here for more of my maternity style posts.

Joining in with Wardrobe Wednesday  and WiWW

Jen x

Monday, 18 March 2013

This parenting business

I’ve recently made a more of a concerted effort to be more positive and intentional in my parenting.

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I have been feeling pretty tired recently – a common pregnancy symptom I know, but finding out my iron levels are 6 when they should be at least 20, also didn’t help. ( And finding out seems to have only increased the feeling, because when I learnt of this fact, I suddenly felt even more lacking in energy – much in the same way that when someone says ‘nits’ everyone suddenly feels itchy – funny that!)

Anyhow, despite my many reasons and excuses for feeling tired, there is no excuse for me ever being short and less patient with my kids. A reason/ explanation for a shorter fuse? sure; but an excuse or justification? No.

I’m ashamed to say that these last few months my fuse has been shorter than normal, and my kids have seemed harder work too. Apparently I was a very strong willed, stubborn child,  and it seems my eldest, Noah has inherited a few of these traits from me. While there are positive aspects of these traits that can be harnessed, it had felt like many days he and I were butting heads.

One day, while in the shower I had an epiphany. I had just said to Noah “Just because Isabelle pushes you, doesn’t mean you have to react the same way.” I thought, why then when Noah (or Isabelle) behaves badly do I feel justified reacting in a less that ideal way back (raising my voice etc)? After all I am the adult here aren’t I? What kind of behaviour am I modelling? Another telling sign was that I heard both my kids using the phrases “for goodness sake” and “that is ridiculous” – Noah when talking to Isabelle, and Isabelle when telling her dolls off. Cute? Maybe just a little, but convicting? Most definitely.

Also, as a Christian, I have to remind myself (daily) that my focus as a parent is on the eternal rather than just the temporal and the inward attitudes of my kids, their hearts are much more important than their outward behaviour and what others think of us. (I’m far often guilty of worrying too much about what others think of me and my parenting.)

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Anyway, without waffling on too much more, the short story is that I’ve been really trying to make some changes. I’ve been focusing on spending more time playing with my kids and getting my priorities straight. Sometimes life just seems to become one big nappychangemealtimebreakupfightsovertoysbathtimebedtime routine that I find myself just forgetting to play and simply spend time with them. They really love it when I do. I’ve tried to be more encouraging and focus and reward the good behaviour, rather than just react to the bad. Also when I read my tagline up there in my blog header I feel a little guilty, “sewing stuff, growing kids” – sometimes my focus seems to be more on the former rather than the latter. I have had thoughts of  “Gosh these kids are getting in the way of my sewing!” – I mean what is the reason I stay at home in the first place?

These is nothing wrong with me sewing and blogging, I do these things to relax – but they should not be at the expense to my kids. I’ve trying to use the TV less too, I find it useful at times so I can have a break, entertain the kids while I cook dinner etc, but Diego and Dora should not be getting to spend the best part of the day with my kids, I should. I was exhausted on Sunday because I’d been up with Isabelle who had vomited all the through the night. The next day Andrew went off to church but the kids and I stayed home to recuperate and in case in was contagious. Instead of parking them in front of the TV, I sat in their playroom hand-sewing away on my hexagon quilt while the kids played around me and dished me cups of imaginary tea.

Why had I not thought of this before?

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And the changes in my kids since I’ve taken more effort in this intentional approach? Like a breath of fresh air! Noah, especially is responding better to me and listening and obeying me more.

Now just to keep it up, because unlike my sewing projects and my experience being out in the workforce; this parenting business does not seem to have such neatly defined deadlines and end points – it seems to be just one big work in progress!

Joining in with Miriam for BMWB

Jenny x

(In case your wondering about the photos – Noah and I made 'Homemade Sidewalk Chalk' as part of Noah and Mum ‘crafternoon’ Tuesdays that I’ve recently instituted.  As it’s still setting it remains to be seen hoe effective it is; however it was pretty effective in two other ways – one: in making a mess and two: in making my little boy smile!)

Saturday, 16 March 2013

11/52

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Noah: Captain underpants, baking up a storm.

Isabelle: Little Miss, ‘helping’ by licking the spoon.

Joining in over here

For the rest of my 52 project (so far) see here

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

{Scrap Bag Swap 2013} Sent … and a little project

You might remember that as part of this year’s Scrap Bag Swap I received this beautiful scrap bag and fabric scraps from the lovely Clare of Green Valley Crafts.

Well this is what I sent to my partner, Treena-Marie of Creative Mama

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You can see I got quite carried away with a bit of stamping! I’m glad Treena-Marie likes her bag and scraps (you can read her post about this here.)

…And speaking of scraps, here’s a fabric covered tin I made yesterday (in about 15 or so minutes), out of some of the scraps I received.

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This is such an easy project, but before I explain a basic how to, I want to share with you a bit about the tin’s special contents:

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On Monday my Mum entrusted Noah with these amazing (and very old) Thomas the Tank Engine books. They were my Granddad’s (the top signature), then my Dad’s and then they were handed down to my brother, Tom. Now Noah has the job of reading and looking after them. (I plan to give them to Tom if he has his own kids one day.)

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Because of the preciousness of these books it is important that they are looked after well. That is why Mum gave Noah this tin (which was formally the home to some after tasty dinner mints). As much as I love after dinner mints – this tin was making me feel hungry every time I saw it, and besides I wanted something a bit more pretty.

Enter, the fabric scraps and Mod Podge. Basically I cut the fabric out in scraps (I was going for kind of a patch-worked look) and stuck them to the tin using Mod Podge. (I made sure I didn’t put any fabric under where the edges of the lid went so it wouldn’t be too bulky to shut.)

The Mod Podge is great because it sticks to everything and makes the fabric stiff and strongly fused to the tin.

Done! (I told you it was easy!)

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Joining in with my creative space and Show and Tell

Jen x