Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Nursery set-up

Just 3 days to go. It's all ready and waiting for the little man to show up.

As a family of (soon to be) 5, currently living in a small apartment, we've done our best to turn a corner of our bedroom into a cute little nursery without making the rest of the room feel claustrophobic. Making the best of #smallspaces.



What do you think? 

Monday, 4 May 2015

Banish Hair-brushing Blues

Neither of my girls relish having their hair brushed, I'm sure many moms out there can relate. It starts with some groans and once we're full swing into de-tangling, there's no end of "ow", "you're hurting me", and yelps that sound like they're getting tortured;  no matter how gentle I am trying to be.



After one particularly noisy session which left me worried about what the neighbours would think, we came up with an idea that would banish the hair-brushing blues.

For every "ow" they would get one kiss.


Now they count very carefully each and every "ow" to ensure that they get all the kisses they're entitled to. Hair brushing time has become fun and hassle-free. 

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Every Mom Needs a Hobby...or 3: Digital Art

Our fourth hobby post centers around a fantastic creative outlet. It's not something you can do while watching TV, such as crocheting, it's less hands-on than creating jewelry and it doesn't get you out doors like photography, but it certainly has it's own appeal and a special place in my heart: Digital Art.

I've had a relationship with Photoshop every since my dad brought it home on his new computer back in the late '90s. It started out with basic color adjusting and morphed into minor and major touch ups, photo manipulation and an attempt or two at an actual painting. Here are a few samples I've created over the years:

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Give a Candle a Makeover in 3 Easy Steps

3 easy steps to turn a plain, boring candle into something beautiful.


Step 1: Start with a plain candle and using a paint brush, cover with white glue.


Step 2: Fill a plate with large grain salt and roll candle over (add some glitter for extra sparkle).


Step 3: Leave to dry for a few days.

It's that easy!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Super Moisturizing DIY Honey, Sugar, and Vitamin C Face Mask

Are you looking for natural, healthy skin masks or scrubs that work beautifully? Why not try this honey, vitamin C and sugar face mask/scrub.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Happy Bubbles: A Positive Routine for Kids Who Struggle with Bedtime

Are you one of those parents (like me) who have difficulty getting your little ones to bed?


If your kids are anything like mine, bedtime has always been a struggle. I thought we'd finally gotten it under control when last year  Kiddo 2 started to have bad dreams every night.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Eggplant Casserole: the BEST Eggplant Recipes #2

If you enjoyed last week's delicious Oven-baked Tomato and Cheese eggplant recipe, you'll love this one even more. This adapted recipe was handed down from my Italian mother in law and is definitely a family favorite.


best eggplant recipe

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Every Mom Needs a Hobby...or 3: Photography

Continuing with our "Every Mom Needs a Hobby" series which has already featured jewelry making and crocheting, this week brings us the joys of photography.

The great thing about hobbies is not only the creative outlet, but the fact that it is possible to earn some extra income on the side. Many moms open an Etsy store, or sell their creations at craft fairs.

With photography there is always the option to sell photos on sites such as Shutterstock, Dreamstime, iStockphoto, etc.

autumn leaf

Saturday, 7 March 2015

18 FUNtastic Ideas using LEGO to Teach Math

Using Lego to teach math? ABSOLUTELY!

When I was in school I loved math, but when I decided to home school my kids, math was one of the subjects I worried about most.

Not only did I desire to make learning math fun, I also wanted to ensure that my kids understood the LOGIC behind it.

It's easy enough in the early years to have children memorize facts, but facts can only get you so far. I believe if a child understands the concept of math at a fundamental level, then they will have an easier time grasping more abstract concepts later on.



After much trial, error, and learning from past mistakes, I've come to thoroughly enjoy teaching math to my kids. I love finding the way to explain a concept to them in the way I know THEY will best understand it.

I firmly believe if a child is not grasping a concept it is not because the child is dumb or unable to understand, it is because it’s not being presented to them in the right way. Every child has their own mode of learning and I believe it is my responsibility as a teacher to ensure that I am presenting things in a way that makes sense in their heads.

I enjoy making math a visual, tangible concept and here are 18 ways I've used Lego to accomplish just that.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

5 Ways to Ring in the Spring Around your Home

Winter is fading, but spring has not yet arrived. If you're like me, you are getting itchy feet and can't wait for the promise of warmer weather. Here's a few ways you can springify (I know, it's not a word...) your home even if spring hasn't yet fully sprung.

spring tips

Saturday, 28 February 2015

What's Your Favorite Omelette Filling?

There's nothing like whipping up a delicious omelette for a quick dinner. We all have our list of ingredients that turns an omelette from yum to scrumptious. What's your omelette filling secret?

photo credit: Omlette via photopin (license)

Here's mine:

  • thinly sliced tomatoes
  • thinly sliced mushrooms
  • thinly sliced olives
  • a generous sprinkle of cheese



Friday, 27 February 2015

12 Humorous Truths about Motherhood

Here's my list of 12 truths about motherhood to add a little humor to your weekend. 

12 truths about motherhood


  • 1. You will never sleep the same again.
  • 2.  Dealing with disgusting bodily fluids is unavoidable. 
  • 3. There will always be more laundry.
  • 4. Eating a relaxed meal will be regarded as a special treat. 
  • 5. You will have a stash of  scribbles art work that you have no idea what to do with, yet can't bring yourself to throw away.  
  • 6. There will be a plethora of items in your purse for "just in case".
  • 7. You will memorize more silly children's songs than you ever thought possible. 
  • 8. You will find yourself singing the silly children's songs more than you'd care to admit.  
  • 9. Getting out the door will no longer be as simple as slipping on a pair of shoes and a jacket. Plan an extra 15 minutes per child.
  • 10.The dishes will never be quite done. 
  • 11. Invariably, at some point in time, you will sound just like your mother.
  • 12. You will not love every minute of it. But when it's all over and they're grown and gone, you'll only remember the best parts.  

Natural Remedy for Stomach Flu

Recently Kiddo2 suffered from an intestinal bug (vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps). I remembered that one of my brothers used to get these frequently so called up my mom to ask for her natural remedy.

natural remedy for stomach flu
Photo by:  Philipp Kleindiens 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Asking for Help: It can be hard, but it's worth it.

I recently read a really good post by Love Peace Beauty called Accepting and Asking for Help. This is something we all need to do from time to time, yet we often find so hard to do. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Saturday, 21 February 2015

A Tyrant Spell has Bound Me...

I found this incredible photo on Flikr. It reminds me of one of my favorite poems by Emily Bronte:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/philkoch/10951778564/

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me,
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow;
The storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

Creativity: Piercing the Mundane to Find the Marvelous

Kiddo2 handed me this picture she'd drawn. Being in the middle of something I thanked her quickly and started to turn away. Something stopped me, and I decided to take an extra minute to ask her what everything was. This is what I learned: While to me the art may look simple, to her it was a whole world of intrigue. 


imagination

It's like that quote, "The creative adult is the child who survived". Creativity can't be taught, but it can certainly be unlearned. Take the time to explore the creativity in your child. Don't squelch it. Give them the freedom to express themselves even if it means coloring outside the lines or painting green cows. Demonstrate your interest by encouraging them to use their imagination and empower them to rise above the limits. 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

DIY Hair Mask for Shiny, Residue-Free Hair

I tried out this fantastic hair mask that left my hair incredibly soft, shiny and best of all, residue free. All you need is two simple ingredients which can be found in your kitchen.

DIY soft shiny hair mask

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Lemon Water for Your Health

I started to drink lemon water every morning 15 mins before eating anything and I def. noticed an improvement in my health. 

I know many people think they could never down a cup of lemon water on an empty stomach. I thought the same before I gave it a try. But I've found it's surprisingly refreshing and doesn't upset my stomach at all. -even while I'm pregnant. It's certainly worth a try for the sake of good health!

lemon water healthy living

Have you got a favorite health secret to share? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Mommy vs Teacher: Things I've Learned as a Homeschooling Mom

As a home-ed mom, I sometimes find it difficult to switch between teacher mode and mommy mode.

super mom
The basis of home-ed is seizing every opportunity to create a teaching moment. This ensures that learning is always fun, spontaneous, and follows your child's interest.

Sometimes, though, kids just need mommy.

I was reminded of this recently when Kiddo1 presented me with a card she'd made. I was very touched, yet for a split second the teacher in me raised her grammatically-correct head and I nearly ruined her precious gift by pointing out the mistakes.

Luckily, the mommy mode kicked in and screamed at me to stop before I ruined what was a special moment between my daughter and me.

I'm so glad I let it pass. Kiddo1 was able to feel good about the surprise she'd made and I can rest assured that another day will come to teach the correct usage of to/too/two.

The lesson I learned was far greater than any lesson in grammar.

I would love to hear back from any other home-ed/homeschooling moms out there. Do you struggle to switch modes? Have you found any tips that work well for you? I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Easy Kid-Friendly Mango, Plum and Banana Smoothie Recipe

A delicious, fruit smoothie is the highlight of our morning. It just tastes so yummy and is a wonderful healthful snack that kiddos can make along side me. Here's one easy peasy recipe that we love.

Ingredients:

1 banana
1 mango
2 plums
600 ml. of chilled orange juice
400 ml. of chilled apple juice
3 large tablespoons of yoghurt




Instructions:

Remove the peels and cut the fruit.














Monday, 16 February 2015

Science Project: Crystal Egg Geodes

Had so much fun making these with the kiddos. Find the instructions here.


Got a fun science project to share? Let us know in the comments below.

In the Shrouded Silver Wood: A Poem


fantasy fairy
http://www.deviantart.com/art/Dream-Believer-314670634

Faerie dance and elvin play
To enchant, to bid me stay
Voices echoed o'er the grove
Pledge an evermore abode

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Can You Read My Mind? -Listening to Our Children

"Can you read my mind?" is a phrase often expressed in wonder by Kiddo1. She seems awed by my "mommy instinct" to know what's going on up there.

Case in point: The other day she asked me, "Can you guess who my  favorite superhero is?" To which I promptly replied "XXXX" (it's her secret so I won't tell it here). She stared at me with huge eyes, "How in the WORLD did you know?" She had a point. She'd only just started to get into superheros and we had not even talked about it yet.

My secret? A few days prior, we were discussing names for baby and she piped up with one which she was very adamant about though I knew she didn't know anyone by that name. It also happened to be a superhero's undercover name.

There was no Sherlock Holmes detection work here; just simply listening.

It reminds me of a quote I once read that has always hit me between the eyes:

Friday, 13 February 2015

Easy Chicken Risotto

My slow cooker is one of my best friends. I use it frequently, though not always to make a full meal.

The following recipe is a good example:

chicken slow cooker


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Valentines Day Hair Tutorial

I found a very cute hair tutorial for your little one(s) this Valentines Day:


I love how simple and sweet it looks.

No More Chapped Lips: The Best Lip Balm

full red lipsI seem to always have had dry lips. Cracked and peeling lips seem to be a part of life I just had to deal with.

I've tried so many remedies, natural and otherwise.

I know it's supposed to be a sign of dehydration, but seriously if I drink any more water I'll end up spending all day in the ladies' room.

To make matters worse, I love to wear a nice bold lip color. But as anyone with eyes can tell you, strong lip colors NEED smooth lips. There is nothing worse than a bright color on chapped and peeling lips.

Naturally,  I was eager to find a solution.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

10 Fun and Fantastic Valentine's Crafts

Here 10 fun and fantastic ideas for crafts and projects to do leading up to Valentine's Day.


#1. This simple, cute yet elegant threaded heart card:


valentines heart card

Countdown to Move: Step 1

We went today and bought a trailer. The countdown has begun. Just over two months till the big move.



Monday, 9 February 2015

My Top 5 Favorite Kids' Books for Ages 6-9

I am always on the lookout for new books to read with my kids. Our reading time over breakfast every morning is a special time of day and I love that we get to experience these adventures together.

I've compiled a list of my current top 5 books that both my girls loved, and I think would be just as appealing to boys.



Sunday, 8 February 2015

Our French Adventure

After 3+ years of living in the UK, and with a baby on the way, we've decided it was time to set our dreams into motion and move back to the south of France. After all, who can resist the sun, the sea and views like this:
vineyard south of france

Friday, 6 February 2015

Minecraft's Frozen Themed Birthday Cake

As I'm sure many kids are, Kiddo2 is intensely fond of both Frozen and Minecraft. They make up the better part of her daily thoughts and conversations.

For her birthday she asked for some Minecraft books. I'm always thrilled when my kids ask for books as presents so we decided to get her the Complete Handbook Collection. It is very nicely boxed, looks super elegant and "grown up". She loves it!

In light of this gift, I decided to make her a Minecraft/Frozen themed birthday cake. She has always loved mixing themes (such as her Tinkerbell/rocket ship of a few years ago) and I decided to give it a shot.

minecraft frozen cake

Hands Off, Mom: Things I've Learned as a Homeschooling Mom

Sometimes find myself being too "hands on" with my kids. I believe it's a habit left-over from when they were very young.

child doing school

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Pea and Mint Soup

Kiddo2 very kindly lent me a hand today making something we have never tried before: Pea and Mint soup. Apparently this can be eaten warm or cold. Today we opted for warm.

pea and mint soup

Positive Parenting: If Not Punishment then What?

Another fantastic article from Positive Parenting Connection. I like it when posts give real-life examples to help put the concepts into a practical application. Positive parenting is by no means easy! It's so much easier to just yell, or slap out the punishment, but my hope is that by doing my best to implement a more positive approach, my children will grow into that type of adult.


positive parenting

To read the full article click here.

Poem of the Day

I wrote this during a difficult time in my life. It was a helpful reminder to me to find the beauty in every aspect of my life; the joy in sorrow.

Sorrow, come and be my joy
Join me here for midday tea
'Neath the shade of willow-weep
Share my broken company.

Leave me not for gladder souls
Share with me thy sweet refrain
Cold would be the carefree heart
That from sorrow would abstain

In thy sage and boundless soul
Precious jew'ls lay hidden deep
Diamonds rare and rubies that
Make those born in mirth seem cheap.

Would the faint inner churning
Lend to me a written prayer
Cause a dried and barren well
With thy waters more to bear

When my soul has given forth
All the sweetness sorrow brings
Then let joyousness return
Join the singing my soul sings.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Boys, boys, boys


Oh my! Is this what I have to look forward to? 
<insert nervous giggle> 

Read the full article:

Photo of the Day

As mentioned earlier, one of the hobbies I've dabbled in is photography. While I am by no means a professional, I do love to take pictures and have been lucky enough to travel around a bit and collect a few decent shots.

Following is a perfect example of  being in the right place at the right time:


Beauty Tips: Silky Smooth Skin

It's always been my dream to wake up in the morning to a perfect complexion. Unfortunately, fate would have it that acne was a constant source of trouble for all of my teen years and even into my 20s. I wish I had known then what I now know about skin care. It would have saved me some (embarrassingly) misguided facial "treatments".

Things did start to smooth out (literally) just prior to my pregnancies, but I still suffered from occasional break-outs, redness and enlarged pores, as can be seen by the picture below.

how to get good skin

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Every Mom Needs a Hobby...or 3: Polymer Clay Jewelry


polymer clay necklaceThis hobby developed a little differently than others I've gotten in to. I had heard of and seen some polymer clay creations and to put it frankly, I wasn't impressed. It seemed to revolve mostly around miniature food, which is cute enough, but didn't really do it for me.

Of course, I hadn't seen much, had never searched the web (which I now spend a shameless amount of time doing and am always thoroughly impressed), and had based my opinion solely on the few examples I'd seen previously.

One day hubby decided that it would be good for me to get into some creative hobby type thing. I think he realized that I needed a break from being a mom all the time and that a creative outlet would give me the space I needed to just breathe.

After some gentle persuasion which included going and buying the clay and a few basic tools himself, he sat at the table with me for a clay-playing session, It wasn't long before I became hooked.

Positive Parenting

I read a quote from a Facebook page that I follow called Positive Parenting Connection. It went like this:

Crying is the most effective (and usually the only) way for a child to communicate sadness. So telling a child it’s not OK to cry is like saying it’s not OK to be sad. Children should know that all of their feelings are OK and normal. We may not always agree with their tears or understand them, but a child feels the way he feels and should be allowed to express it. - Kelly Bartlett.


Health and Fitness



I cannot praise these guys enough!

They have hundreds of different workout routines for every level of fitness and training preference. I use them every day and it's such a pleasure to not get bored by doing the same routine week after week. 

The exercises are all very well explained ensuring proper form and allowing you to get the most out of each workout. 

So here they are:

Check em out!