Sensory Rainy Day Play…

Wow, what a hiatus. Sorry, I think the winter blues must have really gotten to me (either that or I was having too good a time!).

Firstly, remember that baby that I just had like a few months ago? He is a whopping 9kg+ 6 month old now, and he is also on the move as well! He isn’t quite crawling yet but he “knee-hops” around and shuffles himself over to where he wants to go – now I’m in trouble, aren’t I? Plus the toddler also turned 3. What?! I thought he was just a baby, how is he now 3?

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Anyway, today was just a normal day at home with a toddler and a baby. It was raining so peacefully in the morning that the kids actually stayed in bed til 6.30am (an achievement in this house)!

Of course, since it is freezing and raining, the toddler insists that he needs to play outside on his bike (which he got for his birthday last week). After grumbling all through breakfast, I let him go outside to play only for him to fall off his bike into the biggest puddle in our backyard. And the baby gets food all over his clothing (he won’t take a spoon so it’s messy BLW for us). 2 outfits straight into the wash, sigh.

Then, in a moment of inspiration, I decide we are doing to do some sensory play stuff with pasta, rice and barley. I’ve seen friends of mine doing really awesome things with their kids. Unfortunately, things often get more messy with my kids… Apologies that the pics are not clear as well as I can’t seem to get them to sit still.

First we were putting pasta on the Father’s Day card to make the words “Happy Father’s Day”…

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And then the toddler decides to become Masterchef and cook up a delicious yet messy concoction for us to savour. The mess is aggravated by the fact that the baby thinks he can cook too, so a bit of a tussle ensues and more stuff flies everywhere.

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The thing I did like about this exercise is that it took up the whole morning! It allowed Jacob to have a whole lot of imaginative play, from cooking food to making it rain and snow. Eventually we had to clean up (and Jacob loves his hand-vac and did attempt to clean up though in truth he scattered it more) and by then it was already lunchtime.

In the afternoon, we decided we’d take the rice and barley to feed the ducks – a healthier option than bread perhaps! We also got to say hello to the new spring ducklings – this lot have already been there for a few weeks, and there was another brood of very little ducklings too.

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Then, of course, puddle jumping. The most dreaded time of our walk for me, but I have come to terms with the fact that Jacob would be heading home completely drenched. Trust him to find the deepest puddles ever!

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I must say I absolutely love doing all these fun things with the kids, despite the mess and the amassing laundry I have to deal with. I am quite sure that these little things that we do are actually big things in my kids’ lives. Here’s to the many days ahead – sunny, rainy, whatever the weather! 🙂

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Living the nerd life

I’m sure you’ve heard of Pokemon Go. It’s taking over the world like a storm! It encourages people to venture out to new places and even has caused mishaps like people causing accidents being too engrossed in it.

I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a nerd, though I exhibit some nerdy characteristics. I was a bit of a plain Jane in high school – I was never really into makeup and preferred to spend my time hidden behind a technological device, i.e. computer or phone.

So many years later and it hasn’t changed! I wasn’t really into Pokemon back in the day but I certainly remember a thing or two about it. And what’s awesome is that hubby is full on into it too!

Hence resulting in our numerous walks we are taking simply to catch Pokemon. No, our kids are not going to stand in the way, we are going to wear them on our backs/fronts and keep trying to catch ’em all!

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But really, there are a lot of perks of living the nerd lifestyle. Some of these include:

  1. We’re pretty good with technology. Okay, Daniel is pretty good and I am just catching on/surviving as we go. He is the go to person if some gadget of ours breaks, but I’m okay with using the gadget anyway. We often help our friends out with gadgety stuff. The fact that I’m using the term gadgety tells you how good I am though. Oh, you get the gist.
  2. We’re in on the conversations. I think I’m still not quite there yet though I can occasionally quote anywhere from Harry Potter to Game of Thrones. It’s exciting to talk about the shows / books that we like with other enthusiasts. Back in the day, I used to write fanfiction – doh, I know, right?
  3. We do well at trivia things. I wouldn’t call my sister-in-law and brother-in-law nerds (though they might disagree with me) but at their son’s school quiz night, they absolutely nailed it. Knowledge and nerdiness often go hand in hand, which can come in handy, but if not, is also just a whole lot of fun to know all the same.

  4. We can dress up and be whoever we want to be. One thing our family really enjoys is dress up parties – it’s so awesome to be able to have an excuse to dress up as some book character or superhero. Can you guess what characters we’re dressed up as below?

  5. We have nerdy artifacts (and love them). Back in the day when I did martial arts, I accumulated a number of training items including tantos, bokkens, hanbos, shurikens, etc. and it often suprises people that I have all this in my home. Dan, on the other hand, has a Nintendo 64, which is pretty vintage in a different way too. I never played it when I was young but have finally got the opportunity to play it now. And one day it might be worth quite a lot… While we haven’t gotten into a whole lot of merchandise, I am sure one day we will – we’ve already started building our Lego collection!
  6. Movie nights are always fun. We have a lot of movie nights, especially now in winter. Netflix is our best friend after 8pm. We have seen so many series and as we’re watching, we’ll be like “Ohh where have we seen that actor before?” and we try and work out what other show he’s in, or sometimes just check on IMDB. Regardless, we always have a fun time.
  7. Our kids tend to catch on. I do let Jacob watch some degree of TV but for some reason he can name every single character on ABC kids. Even all the owls on Giggle and Hoot – Hoot, Hootabelle, Hootley, Hootaluna, etc… Jacob loves that he can relate to these characters and he often uses a range of them in his imaginative play.

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Here is Jacob at maximum hipster. Disclaimer: Yes, those are my glasses – I only let him wear them for this photo and took them straight back.

So, for those of you who are a borderline nerd like me, just embrace it – it’s ultimately a fun lifestyle! Keep on playing Pokemon Go, though be mindful of where you are so you don’t walk into a lamp post – hope you catch ’em all!

Slow cooking for dummies

So, you know how you have those moments where you head to the supermarket to buy just one thing and come back with ten clearance items you need to eat within the next 2 days, some sort of exotic fruit with a name you can’t even pronounce, three different types of breakfast cereals, cat food even though you don’t own a cat, a new toaster and half of aisle 10?

Well, no, I didn’t actually buy all of that, but I did pop by the shops just to get milk and instead I bought half the week’s supply of groceries as well as a slow cooker. Yes, that’s right, I bought a slow cooker from a supermarket. In my defense, it was on offer and I had been thinking of buying one in recent days, but just never quite made it to the places I wanted to buy them from.

This comes along with the notion of trying desperately to eat healthier. I admit I have been a nutritional disaster of late and that’s also been rubbing off on my family, since I am the one preparing the meals. I do admit that we’ve have Asian takeaway and KFC sometime this week, and those are probably my weak spots because if you give me a choice, I could have that more or less every night!

Part of my “excuse” is that it’s hard to cook a proper meal with a busy toddler and a cuddly baby. I wouldn’t call Jared clingy, but he likes to be held and if I leave the kids unsupervised for even 5 minutes, Jacob often ends up trying to undress Jared or draw on his face. I’ve relied on Jared’s brief naptimes (often 30mins at a go) to do any food prep and have just popped things into the oven rather than stir fry things, unless hubby is home.

But now I have a slow cooker, this will be bliss! I look forward to getting my meals ready in the morning and then cleaning up the kitchen before lunchtime! And looking forward to being able to cook in larger portions so we can all have lunch prepared for the next day too!

So, hit me up with some of your best slow cooker recipes! I’m looking forward to making some delicious homecooked meals.

On an ending note, here are just a couple of things we did this week. Jared is starting to get the feel of play cafes while I’ve put Jacob to work already, though it became a rather soapy affair.

Almost-vegan mac and cheese

And I’m back after a lovely weekend! We went to church on Saturday and then had a bowling night with the church group – terrorizing the bowling alley with our kids (8 between the lot of us)! Aw nah, they were all pretty good.

And today we had a quiet day at home, which is exactly what I pictured for Mother’s Day. I just wanted to be able to catch up on some things at home – weed my veggie patch, get through my numerous loads of laundry and sort through the kids’ clothes because Jacob’s now into size 3 and Jared is into size 0, so lots of phasing out to do!

Anyway, today (or rather, tomorrow) I’m meant to post a favourite recipe, so I’ll share with you this “almost-vegan mac and cheese” recipe that seems to be a go to – it works well in the veggie-smuggling front and has been well-received by vegan and meat-eating friends alike!

I actually don’t like macaroni and cheese. I remember once when I was little, I had mac and cheese and it made me spew – it was just way too cheesy and rich for me! Thank goodness now I’ve found a recipe that’s not as rich but just really tasty (and actually a bit healthy too!)

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I decided to make this recipe today – partly because I needed pictures, and also because it’s yummy! Included in my prep above is my favourite hot chocolate from Aldi that is awesome on a rainy autumn night such as this! I wish I could show you a picture of Jacob savouring it but unfortunately he wasn’t in the mood tonight. Failed the toddler test tonight, sob!

I got the original recipe HERE and just made a few changes here and there. It probably is fine fully vegan as well, but I just like to sprinkle it with a bit of cheese before baking for a bit of a yummy kick to it!

Ingredients

1 500g packet of macaroni
2 potatoes peeled/diced
1 carrot peeled/diced
1/2 chopped onion
3/4 cup water (preferably from pot of boiled veggies)
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder or garlic paste
1 pinch paprika
salt and pepper to taste
grated cheese, to top it off (optional)
frozen peas and corn (optional)

Method

  1. Soak the cashews in warm water for 30 minutes before starting the sauce.
  2. Cook macaroni al dente, according to package instructions (usually requires boiling for 6-8 minutes in salted water), drain, and set aside.
  3. Bring some water to boil in a small pot. Place chopped potatoes, carrots, and onion in the boiling water, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and soft enough to blend. Cooking time will vary slightly, based on how small you have chopped your veggies.
  4. When veggies are soft enough to blend, take them out of the water, and place them in your blender. Add ¾ cup of that cooking water to your blender, along with your remaining ingredients except for the cheese, peas and corn.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Or, place macaroni and sauce in a baking dish and mix through with the frozen peas and corn, sprinkle with cheese, and bake at 180 degrees Celcius for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese browns on top.

If you’re a meat eater like me, you can also add things like chicken, tuna, beef mince, etc. but trust me, it’s awesome just as is!

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Anyway, I feel that I didn’t quite do the last challenge justice as I only posted one pic of the town (suburb) I live in. So here’s another shot:

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That isn’t my house – this is just opposite the reserve close to our home. This picture is pretty close to my heart as this is the day before Jacob was born – I had lost my mucous plug already (sorry if TMI) and was already having light contractions. I took my dog for a walk as I figured I wouldn’t be sure when I’d be next up to walking her. It was a lovely spring day – it had rained in the morning and now a beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky. I felt excited, scared, but a great sense of calm as well. 8am the next morning, my life would be changed forever.

Today, I celebrated Mother’s Day as a mother of two! We actually celebrated last weekend (breakfast in the Barossa) but I still had a luxurious breakfast – chocolate croissants, strawberries and a hot chocolate! Yummy! Did I mention I was on a diet? Oops.

To all the mums I know, and particularly to my mum and mum-in-law, I hope you have had a beautiful Mother’s Day! Thank you for all the ways you have been a blessing in my life! Sending love from my two lovely boys.

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What did you do for Mother’s Day?

Wish List Collage (toddler style)

I’ve made it to challenge topic number 2 – a wish list collage! Just to make things fun, I decided to let Jacob get involved with my wish list (and I put a few things on his wish list on this too – though in truth I reckon I’d be just as excited as him if he got them!).

Before I get into it, I’ll just explain the progression. We were playing around with some cellotape and chalk (after doing the wishlist) – I was showing him how the chalk goes on the paper but not on the sticky tape. Then he kept bugging me to make him a treasure chest (he’s into pirates at the moment) so I used an old box and we stuck his chalk/sticky tape design onto it and put lettering stickers on it, and voila! We have the word “Quest” on it too because he wanted to use the letters Q and U, so I thought we’d just put another word there that sorta went along with the theme!

In the bottom corner, those are a couple of things he put in his treasure chest – a Thor dress up hat, number candles, a tiny green bell (which was confiscated after in case someone swallowed it) and Jared’s socks.

But anyway, back to the point. I was doing a wish list and thought I’d let Jacob make it with me. My kids are my life so there are a number of things that I want that really are for them, but seeing them with something they like makes me so happy. Anyway, here it is!

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Sorry if it’s hard to see, but I’ll now explain what is what. It’s a bit all over the place, full of tangible and intangible things, but this is sorta what I’d like at the moment.

  1. Money

    Yes, folks , I did put a picture of money here. Hubby was watching me make this and he’s like “Who puts MONEY on a wish list?” But in truth, I think we all want more money, so I’ll be honest. There are so many things I would do with more money. I would possibly have another child (we haven’t decided yet, but $ is ultimately a factor). I would probably travel a lot more. I would eat out more and hire a cleaner to keep my house in check. I would go back to study, learn a new language, the list goes on. But the fact is that I don’t have the money to rationalise many of these things, or rather I prioritise other things over my wants. But one day!

  2. A White Christmas

    I chose this picture because Jacob loves snowmen, and tells me he will build one one day. Which is hard as we live in Adelaide where it doesn’t snow (though it has happened once in a blue moon). We’d really like to have a white Christmas one year – maybe somewhere in Germany / Switzerland / Austria or even over in the UK. We initially thought to do it next year but think we might wait a few more years so both boys will actually remember the experience.

  3. The Wiggles Concert

    So, there was a Wiggles Concert here in Adelaide last week and we missed it!! Ugh. I really would like to take Jacob to something like that – either Wiggles or Playschool or even Mister Maker or Disney on Ice. I’ve just been doubting that he can sit still though so an “active” concert where the kids can join in would be awesome. But yes, one fine day we’ll do this. And maybe mummy here might even be able to go to a concert of my own too – top of list would be Ludovico Einaudi or Piano Guys!

  4. Healthy Eating

    Yes, it is a salad. But really, I really wish that I could live a healthier lifestyle and eat better, fresher, greener food. I know part of it is my bad management (my mum was shocked at the state of my pantry when she visited me last) and also making poor choices. And the fact that I LOVE all sorts of food, particularly the hearty, fatty and decadent! I have been eating like a pig since I started breastfeeding but I hope for it to change! We have been eating more salads and fruit lately but I still need to cut down on sweets and portion sizes – last night I had a double helping of spag bol as I was SOOOO hungry!

  5. Mummy and Son Matching Clothing

    By now you’re thinking “What kind of list is this?”. But yes, firstly I admit I’m the type who loves to dress my kids alike, but now I’m taking it to another level – I want to be dressed like them! There are so many adorable ideas and I was thinking maybe when the kids are older, we’ll do a family photoshoot wearing matching things!

  6. More Travel

    I want to travel the world! I want to scale mountains and swim in rivers; I want to see big cities and small country towns; I want to hear foreign tongues being spoken, experience different climates and taste authentic cuisine. Of course, a lot of this has had to be put on hold due to having young kiddos, though we have been travelling a bit (but mainly in Australia or in Asia/on our way to Malaysia to visit relatives). But I’m confident that we will travel more in future!

  7. Japan (and Disneyland)!

    One of my most desired destinations is Japan! We’re hoping to go there next year but still in the early planning stages. I just love so many things about Japan – the culture, the food, the history, the language, the people… and I’m really excited to go there as they have so many awesome and kawaii things for little kids to do, particularly Tokyo Disneyland!

  8. Bubble Tea

    I reckon I’ve always liked bubble tea, but in my pregnancy with Jared, I was obsessed! It was about the only thing I enjoyed consuming aside from coconut juice, so hubby spoiled me and bought it for me. He knows my order now – large Thai milk tea, 50% sugar and no ice. I was so obsessed I had bubble tea at my baby shower! And I think the addiction has stuck, though I don’t have it anywhere as much!

  9. Tree Fu Tom Garden

    I’m really keen to start up my very own fairy garden in my back yard. Not much grows there, but I’m hoping that I could maybe beautify it with gnomes and fairy houses. But Jacob is not really into fairies – rather, he told me he wants a “Tree Fu Tom” Garden since Tree Fu Tom is one of his new favourite shows. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the show (or if you want to) but this boy Tom transforms into a tiny fairy-sized superhero and he goes out to help the citizens of Treetopolis in his back yard. So, yes, I’m on the lookout for cool solar houses and toadstools etc.

  10. Beach Holiday in Paradise

    I’ve been reading so much about this place called Paradise Resort Gold Coast, which is this awesome kid friendly resort that I’d love to go to! It’s got pools and a number of playgrounds including water play but also rock climbing, ice skating and a Kids Club so parents can have a day without the kids! Definitely sounds like a fun holiday! But I’m also keen to go back to Far North Queensland to bask in tropical paradise.

  11. LOTS of Lego!

    This certainly would be Jacob’s wish, but in truth, I love Lego as well. I never really got into it as a kid but I just love seeing how Jacob gets into it and builds so many interesting things. I’ve actually already bought him some Lego Juniors (which is for 4-8 year olds, but they have so many cool vehicles/diggers that he can make). I might try some of that with him from his 3rd birthday!

And so, that’s my wish list!

On an ending note, I just wanted to share a couple of pics. We went for some buffet breakfast on Sunday and it was sublime! On the way there, the sun was really bright and was shining in Jacob’s eyes. This is his “The sun is in my eyes face”. Then he decided he’d had enough and put my breastfeeding shawl on his head. Oh well. Gotta love his problem solving skills!

Bye Bye Baby Weight(and a blog challenge!)

I have a number of things to post about, but will start with the most recent thing I’ve embarked on – time to lose that baby weight!

So, I’ve decided that it’s about time I stop using breastfeeding as an excuse to stuffing my face and actually start losing some baby weight. No, I am not being hard on myself – I really have been quite indulgent of late and it’s probably time to stop eating so much chocolate!

The pic on the left is when I was 32 weeks pregnant – the one on the right was taken just last weekend and I reckon I haven’t lost much at all (aside from the baby coming out of course!)

This morning was a bit of a bummer – I was all excited about this weight loss thing and told hubby I’d get it done it a flash! I’m very fortunate that my genes are very forgiving and I don’t put on weight that easily. At the rate I eat food, I should be obese by now! Also, I’m not too put off by exercise – it’s more finding the time to do it…

But anyway, so I was being all gung ho and dancing to the Wiggles on TV, and then I leaned to get Jacob and Jared to come and dance with me. A warning to mums – don’t try to lift your baby while you are Doing the Twist. Yup, I did, and I twisted something in my lower back. I have had previous back injuries from cheerleading (back in the olden days haha!) and it feels like a similar strain to then!

So instead of doing all the things I wanted to do, I’ve just been sitting around all day feeling sorry for myself! Okay, not quite – we did end up doing some craft (which I will share another day) but I suppose that my exercise part of my program has to be put on hold for now. Thank goodness my awesome hubby was at home to pick up my slack – I could barely pick up Jared (who is nearing 7kg at just under 10 weeks – argh!!).

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Lying down is a good hobby for now! This is when Jared was just over a week old!

However, I’ve been trying to eat more healthily regardless. The other day, I made up a salad (which is really unlike me as I’m not into salads) and I was so amazed that Jacob ate all of it up! Yes, he ate his salad!!! Fair enough, there was fruit in it, but I was just so amazed that I’ve named it Jacob’s Success Salad. He ate it so quickly that I didn’t get to take a photo! It’s really simple but that’s what I put in it:

Jacob’s Success Salad

Ingredients:
1 tomato, cut into small pieces
1/3 of a cucumber, cut into small pieces
1/2 a carrot, grated
handful of grapes (cut them in half for the littlies)
half an apple, cubed
frozen corn, thawed
lemon juice to sprinkle (optional)

Method:
Mix them all together and serve with a dash of lemon juice (though Jacob has it without – fresh is best). Yummy! 🙂 Other things I could probably put in this are strawberries, mandarin pieces, diced orange and thawed frozen peas.

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And also, before I forget, I was invited to participate in a blog challenge by Tanya from iReview Global on the Bloggers United Australia community! I am looking forward to this and hoping it will keep me committed to blogging (as sometimes it can get a bit difficult with 2 littlies) – I’m really relieved that I only have to blog on odd days, not every day!

This is what I’ll have to follow during my challenge:

blog challenge

If you want to join, you’re most welcome! You can view Tanya’s original post HERE. Please comment here if you decide to join in so I can check out your posts as well!

Over and out – off to cook some healthy dinner with a sore back! XD