June 2015’s picks

A bit late and still have more I want to add but that will have to wait for next month.  Little people with fevers and moving molars mean I didn’t make as much progress with this as I would have liked!

Thanks to those who have subscribed and for the positive and helpful feedback on this blog.  I will be updating the pages to focus on my best picks and will be adding a few photos to break up the text.  This will take some time so bear with me!   Please let me know about any other improvements you would like.

To read:

  • I was very cheeky and asked for the new Design Mom book for mother’s day.  Lots of lovely ideas from a mom of six in how to make your home stylish and child friendly.  She also has a blog.  The only drawback is it is written with a lot of space in mind – i.e. separate living room, family room, kitchen dinning, home office etc.  Having said that the concepts can be merged into smaller spaces.  Sydney friends feel free to borrow my copy but be warned that reading before bed might not be the best idea as I couldn’t sleep for thinking of all the things I would like to do/change!
  • I have heard time and time again that you need to look after yourself in order to look after others well.  Easier said than done.  But I did enjoy getting these emails every day for 7 days reminding me of small things to do in 7 minutes to grab back a bit of time for me (and be conscious of doing it).  While they are aimed at mums the concept is definitely relevant to all!
  • For those who give public presentations – this summary of the big TED talks common traits was interesting.
  • Some good posts on Eric’s blog – How to stop worrying; and 4 Rituals to keep you happy.  Mr S and I are trying to talk about three things we are each grateful for every day.  It is nice to reflect together and makes us realise how incredibly fortunate we are.  I am very keen for the boys not to grow up entitled and this article had some good suggestions (mainly for older children) of how to avoid this.
  • I enjoyed looking through this blog – http://empathyiseverything.com/.
  • This made me smile – friends are always welcome at our home and I am slowly accepting a (temporary) drop in standards!
  • Donna Leon books for an easy read and reminiscing about Venice.
  • Diane Von Furstenberg’s The Woman I Wanted to Be – I had no idea of her background before I read the book.  Interesting if you are interested in her and fashion but I found it hard to believe at times (just a completely different world!).
  • Have you heard of Sugru? It is mouldable glue that turns into rubber.

To watch

  • Lovely little video about children talking about anger and calming down.
  • Would you be brave enough to let a child dress you?
  • With some web-exploring I discovered Kin Community.  Looks like you could waste a lot of time looking at all the different people on there but I will let you know if I find some gems.  Do you follow anyone on YouTube?
  • I am really enjoying the TED ‘talk of the week’ which they send through on their newsletter.  I would recommend signing up.  Bamboo Houses was fascinating.

To listen to

  • I am looking forward to listening to some of the podcasts recommended by the TED team here.  So far I have enjoyed State of the Reunion.
  • I also borrowed an e-audio book from the library – I didn’t realise that there were so many e-resources available for free (books, films, audio etc.).  My local library uses Bolinda which is a widely used site.
  • Downcast also comes recommended if you want to set and forget downloading.
  • Brains On podcast is good for little scientists.

To Eat

  • I made Ottolenghi’s granola bars again – so good.
  • A friend gave me some of these set muslei bars – awesome pick me up when it was very much needed!
  • Ideas for beautiful cake decorating.
  • We have been trying different ways to make our porridge more interesting.  These worked well (serves two adults and a toddler):
    • Stew a chopped apple/ pear until almost soft in a pan.  Add 1 cup of oats and 2 cups of milk/ water.  Cook on a low heat until liquid is absorbed and oats are soft.  Optional extras: Cinnamon, chia seeds, raisins, maple syrup.
    • Add 1 cup of oats and 2 cups of milk/ water to a pan and cook on a low heat.  Add handful of frozen mixed berried when almost all of the liquid has been absorbed and cook a little longer.  Serve with sliced banana and chopped nuts.
  • I like this idea for setting the table with clues for name cards.
  • I like the idea of preparing ahead for the week and these Salad in a Jar look lovely but I haven’t gotten round to trying them.  I also like the look of these Picnic salads.

Toddler activities

Sorry play sheets will be coming some time in the future – hopefully next month!

Want to try these:

This month we enjoyed:

  • Smelling and tasting spices.
  • Using different toys together – e.g. duplo to make tunnels for Thomas to go under; simple plastic shape sorter and playdough (make basic shapes and then roll on their side to create impressions); Duplo people and animals with playdough – body and foot prints.
  • Making characters from a favourite story in playdough – we did Dear Zoo.
  • Looking at a $2 Great Barrier Reef reference book picked up at a garage sale.  I know the page numbers for turtles, sharks and ‘eyes’ off by heart!
  • Using puffy paint – doesn’t keep very well as the paint absorbs water from the air- sorry to those who received cards before I discovered this.
  • Playing hide and seek with the ‘mini’ Koala and when it was hidden getting a cuddle to tell you to open your eyes.  Great if you don’t have a cuddly toddler!
  • Made tidying up the Duplo more fun by posting it through a tube.
  • Helping with the weeding in the garden at the weekends.
  • Having chats about what we have done to day and what is happening tomorrow.
  • Taking diggers/dumps/spades to the park to play in the bark on the understanding that we have to share toys that we take!

Interesting parenting related links:

To organise

  • I have been looking at some IKEA hacks and liked the magnetic knife strips for cars and the spice rack book shelves –Hacks for nurseries and DIY hacks.
  • Book Crawler app looks very helpful for those with a large library and time to catalogue books!

To connect

A friend in Sydney arranges ‘You should know each other’ breakfasts.  While these have a business slant, I think it is a great idea and one of the best presents you can give someone is a new friend.  Who can you connect?

Some more ideas for keeping in touch:

  • Use the Smilebox free app to send a photo message.  I used the free week trial on the main site but didn’t think I would have the time to use it enough for the fee.
  • Send a ‘saw this and thought of you email’.
  • Emily McDowell Studio’s empathy cards (originally designed for giving to people with cancer) have so many other uses.  Often telling someone that you are thinking about them is a big thing, even if you don’t know what to say.

To craft

This month I had a lovely chat with a friend and we talked about our challenges and what is stopping us from doing them; we agreed to tackle them by the end of June.   I have been putting mine off for at least 18months: using my sewing machine for button holes and installing zips.  I take on most challenges with gusto but I have a block when it comes to machine sewing.  (I think it has something to with how good my mum is with hers!)  So far I have figured out button holes and hope to share photos of new projects next month.

Here are some more inspiring sites:

In Sydney

See you next month!