Friday, 30 September 2011

Dealing with Disappointment

disappointment, such a big emotion, image sourced here
Do you remember the first time you felt really disappointed as child? Your stomach feels sick, pain in your chest and that heavy feeling of injustice...NOT FAIR playing around and around in your thoughts. I don't remember the exact first time, but I do remember many moments as a child when a play date was cancelled, or the weather suddenly turned bad. As horrible as these moments felt at the time, they are an important part of growing up and learning to cope.

My heart sank today as my big boy got into the car and burst into tears after school. He hadn't been invited to his best mates 8th birthday party today after school. And unfortunately for us, the friend was parked two cars down and we heard the laughter and fun as the children all piled into the BF mum's car. The big heavy sobs said it all. Junior was bitterly disappointed. He couldn't understand why he was not invited, considering his friend lives a hop, step and a jump over the fence on the street behind. I didn't know the answer why. All I knew was that his friend was only allowed to invite three friends, and I'd only learnt that 5 minutes earlier in the play ground.

The tears got heavier, the sobs louder and Junior's face redder. He wondered if he had done something wrong. I started to feel yuck in the stomach too, an old feeling of disappointment rearing it's ugly head. 

We got out of the car and I hugged my son and told him that I loved him. And that we would pack for his holiday to Grandma's tonight. I decided to give him some treats of a lollipop and icecream, hoping that the sugar might make him feel a bit better. We fashed his face, and the red disappeared. Hoges came home and took both boys out for a bike ride.

It's tough watching your child experience real disappointment for the first time, this I Know,  and not having any answers for it is hard do you deal with this experience?

Joining in with Yay for Homes, Things I know linky

Be Happy,  

Thursday, 29 September 2011

the mother of all chocolate cakes

Yummo! Katie's chocolate cake so easy and delicious!
Yesterday when I was doing my usual blog roll scan, I came across a fantastic guest post by Katie at Planning with Kids. Katie is a mother of eight children, and her guest post Our Big Family Story was so inspiring and uplifting to me. At the end of her post, Katie shared a recipe for her chocolate cake that she often bakes to feed the tribe when they come home from school. As an avid baker, and a working mother, I am always looking for an easy recipe for something delicious. And well after reading this post and recipe, I just HAD to bake it!

Katie's really easy chocolate cake recipe (as it appeared on Planning with Kids). 

Katie says she uses a large square cake tin or two loaf tins, how ever I used a large round spring base cake tin, and it worked a treat!

  • 125 grams unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups SR flour
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • Dash vanilla in 1 cup full cream milk
  1. Mix dry ingredients (I don’t sift – ever!)
  2. Add wet ingredients
  3. Beat together with electric/hand mixer for approx 5 mins
  4. Bake in moderate oven (160 C) for 40-45 mins.
Ice with chocolate icing. Approx two cups icing sugar, 1/3 cup of cocoa, one tablespoon softened butter and water to mix.

Do you have a favourite cake recipe that is really really easy?

Be Happy,

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Playing Pirates

pirate posing!
How much fun is it to play dress ups? There is nothing like a make believe play session to get the children exploring their creativity. We had a pirate play day after school on Monday in preparation of Juniors class presentation on water for Tuesday. Mini Hoges and I went on a shopping trip to find pirate patches and found the last two pirate sets for $1 each at Sam's Warehouse. Each set contained pirate patch, sword, telescope and pirate pouch. Love a Bargain. Aaarrgh!

What do your kids love to dress up as and imagine?

Be Happy, 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Author in Focus - Richard Scarry

Richard Scarry has been popular in our family for years. I adored his busy world as a child and had a fantastic giant colouring in book that I spent hours carefully colouring in between the lines. Hubby loved his stories and has fond memories of searching for Gold Bug and reading about Dingo Dog. And we all love Mr Frumble and his pickle car and the trouble he is always getting himself into.

The Cat Family, values respect, love and togetherness
A popular American author, Richard Scarry's books and illustrations have been delighting children since 1949 when his first works were published with Little Golden Books. Scarry uses animal characters like the Cat Family to reflect values such as love and respect and family togetherness throughout his stories. And it is said that he was raised in a family that adhered to these virtues providing a nurturing family atmosphere.
What more could a boy want in a book
My boys love the action and busyness of the illustrations of Richard Scarry's stories. Some of our books are Trains, Busy, Busy World (this was hubby's copy and well loved!), and Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. The range of imaginative vehicles in this book is amazing! A pencil car, an alligator car, banana car, pumpkin name it, there is a car made out of it! We have also enjoyed recent releases of sticker books and posters that have provided hours of entertainment and conversation.
a favourite character, Goldbug appears everywhere!
Richard Scarry created children's books for a good fifty years before he passed in 1994 at the age of 75. His illustrations and characters continue to bring much love to children everywhere. We have read many of his books and watched the animated cartoon of his Busy World, however, just when I think we've read them all, I discover another Richard Scarry treasure.

Do you have a Richard Scarry favourite?

Be Happy,

Monday, 26 September 2011

Good Manners on Monday # 7 Gift giving and Party Etiquette

generous now or open later?
The second half of the year always seems to be filled with birthdays and celebrations. We have five children's parties to attend over the next month of varying styles, themes and sizes. Yesterday we attended an eight year old's pool party at our local aquatic center. It was a pretty straight forward party and easy for the parents. The dads swam in the pool, supervising the children and the mums sat or stood around drinking coffee for an hour before party food and cake was served to dripping wet children. Then it was back to the pool for a series of games and prizes.

What impressed me about this party was the casual nature of it. You turn up, give gift and swim and eat and go home two hours later. There was no pressure or expectations on the parents. The pool provided the entertainment on a rainy Sunday. And the children were all well behaved and used their manners appropriately. There was no need to prompt for please and thank you's.

However, there is an opportunity to explore Gift Giving and Party Etiquette here. Each family has there own take on presents. I have always been one to open the presents when all the children are gathered together, or when the friend gives the gift. This way the birthday child has the opportunity to express thanks and gratitude to their friend, who may be waiting anxiously to see if the gift is liked.

At this particular party, and others we have been to, the gifts are given to the parents who stack them up on a table or in a basket and....that's it. You assume the child opens them later when all the other children have gone. And you may or may not receive a thank you verbally later or a thank you card or letter. 

For me, I want to see the paper being unwrapped and the surprise of not knowing what is in that package. 

Another trend I have noticed on the birthday party scene is the "please don't bring a gift" line on the birthday invite. I love this idea. I think it eliminates over consumerism and excessive gift giving. Think about a party where 15 children are invited. That's 15 gifts. Plus all the ones that the child receives from their family. And think about the storage for all of those new toys. We tend to give people books for birthdays. 

What's your take on gift giving and party etiquette? Do you encourage opening straight away or do you save the gifts up till later?

Be happy, 

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Rewarding good behaviour

it's always nice to receive a positive affirmation in the mail
It really is so important to acknowledge and reward good behaviour. All too often it is far too easy to get caught up in what your child is doing wrong, or how they are misbehaving. The days become a tired energy struggle of reinforcing negative behaviours.

Recently, my eldest child had been getting his name on the board at school. It had been going on for a good four weeks or so. He just wasn't listening at school or at home. We tried to find his currency. It started to work. No name on the board at all last week, and we had a great weekend with a boy who seems to have grown up all of a sudden. That magic age of eight has kicked in.

Then yesterday, Junior received a postcard, from his teacher. The postcard told Junior how proud she was of him in class and that she knows he has been making a real effort to be the best boy he can be. This beats any merit certificate at a school assembly any day. And is the best positive affirmation for good behaviour.

We are proud of Junior too, and have been made even more aware of the power of rewarding good behaviour.

Be Happy,

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Everyone's got a bottom review

I wrote about the value of this book a year or so ago when I was writing a blog called Our Park Life. I thought I would take another look at it with my youngest child (who has a habit of stripping off anywhere) and write a review.

Everyone's got a bottom is a book written by Tess Rowley and illustrated by Jodi Edwards. It was published by Family Planning Queensland in 2007, and has got to be one of the best books of it's kind. And has been described as "the little book that is badly needed for helping parents, carers, teachers and child care personnel to keep children safe" (Professor Fredda Briggs)

Everyone's got a bottom is aimed at younger children up to about the age of 8. The key message of this book is to teach children about keeping their body's safe. This book is a great tool for parents, carers and teachers as it allows us to open up conversations about sensitive issues such as our bodies and 'private parts', the differences between boys and girls, sexuality, appropriate touch, trust and open communication and secrets.

The book tells the story of Ben, a boy of around the age of eight, his two siblings and family. The language in the book is simple and straight forward and together with the illustrations, the story presents some clear and important messages like; we own our own bodies and no one else has the right to touch them, it is important to care for our bodies, the appropriate and correct words for genitalia, it is okay to be nude at home - but not out in public, and importantly, the book talks about what is rude, or uncomfortable and what to do if someone wants to do something rude to you, even if it is someone you know, it is not okay. 

What I like about this story, is that the author uses simple language, rhyme and verse to help explain the message, which in turn is empowering for young children and will help them to understand about touch, bodies and stranger danger without being frightening for them.

This book is available online from Family Planning Queensland.

Be Happy,