Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Wellbeing Wednesday - Lovely Lavender

lavender, so calming and lovely
Spring arrives tomorrow. I am looking forward to watching the flowers burst and bloom. In particular, I am looking forward to picking some fresh lavender.Lavender is one of the most versatile herbaceous plants in this world. Not only does it look and smell amazing, it has wonderful healing properties that anyone can use safely, and without needing to be a hippy!

As a flower, lavender can be cut fresh and dried to be used as clothes and linen fresheners, as a tea with slices of lemon, in muffins and cakes, in a herbal pillow, or loving displayed in vases around the home. 
lavender sachets to keep your knicker drawer fresh!
I love lavender so much that I designed my wedding around the flowers. In fact it is my ninth wedding anniversary today, and so we are blessed to have lots of beautiful lavender around the region to pick. The lavender bouquets and decorations were so lovely to look at, the calming properties made for a somewhat relaxed atmosphere in the church and were romantic and spiritual in nature. I had a huge bouquet of lavender and made lavender pins for the gents.
romantic and lovely
As an essential oil, lavender has many applications. Using an oil burner, you can create a calming and relaxing aroma that permeates through the air. Drops can be added to your bath or even on a handkerchief to place under your pillow for restful sleeps. Lavender can be added to a base oil for massage to ease and relax tired and aching muscles. Blend lavender with eucalyptus oil and you have a powerful concoction that will assist in healing colds and flu, infections, and ease depression.
lavender essential oil is versatile
One of my favourite applications is to assist with menstrual pain. I heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to this and massage all over my abdomen, and lower back and breasts. 

Lavender is a suitable calming agent for children too. You just need to halve the amount of essential oils used. 

Do you like lavender? Would you use it regularly? What is your favourite flower or essential oil?

Be Happy, 

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Discipline - what do you do?

skate park currency
Discipline is one of those 'not so fun' moments of parenting. As your children get older, so do your expectations of their behaviours. Therefore the need to discipline becomes more apparent. I have two sons, aged 8 and nearly 4. We are good parents and tolerate lots, within reason. We use a 'thinking chair' as opposed to 'time out' or 'naughty spot'. The boys have tasks or jobs to give them a sense of responsiblity and contribution to the family unit.

However, of late, we are needing to resort to a firmer form of discipline with our 8 year old. You see, he is getting his name on the board at school, regularly. Not for being naughty as such, but for being distracted or distracting others on the way back to his desk after sharpening his pencil. Or for talking when his teacher is talking. Or for talking too loudly in class. Or accessing restricted library computer files from his class room computer during free class time. He is a clever kid. And these are minor behaviour slips, most of which I think he will grow out of with awareness and maturity.

But it does raise the issue of discipline. What to do to show our son that his teacher is the boss when he is at school? At first we took away the Star Wars Lego for a week. Didn't work. A friend suggested grounding for a week, as this works well for her son, who is also Juniors' bestie. Kind of worked. But the message still wasn't sinking in. We needed a currency, and my brilliant husband found it in the Skate Park.

If Junior got his name on the board this week, he would not be able to go the Skate Park on the weekend with Dad for a skate. The threat of this alone last Friday night was enough to reduce Junior to tears. The message had finally sunk in. 

So, it seems that the Skate Park is Junior's currency at the moment. He has had a great week at school, with no name on the board and so got to go to the Skate Park on the weekend.

What types of disciplinary methods do you use in your family? What is your kids' currency?

Be Happy

Monday, 29 August 2011

Good Manners on Monday # 4

Last week ago, I received a Gift from a bloggy friend, the lovely Felicity at Gifts of Serendipity. Felicity gave me the gift of a link to "Life Matters", the radio program on Radio National. Danny Katz was the guest on this show, and he was talking about his latest book on Manners and Ettiquette, "No thanks Hank".
No thanks Hank, by Danny Katz

Now, at Nurture the Little People, we are all about Manners and we love books too, so when I saw this book, I rushed out to get it straight away, and it's a Classic!

"No thanks Hank" is a hilarious book of rhymes, verse and nonsense poems based on the use of manners and etiquette in everyday situations. The book is based on two characters, Hank and Hank, two boys who refuse to say "thanks" for anything, and their folks have had enough!

There is some great humour in this book and it will amuse parents and kids alike. One of my favourite tales in the book is Stephie said the "S" word and there is also a really funny take on the modern day version of Pass the Parcel.

I love how Danny Katz and Mitch Vane have written and illustrated a book about manners so cleverly, it's bound to get the kids (and their parents) thinking.

Have you read "No thanks Hank?" Do you have any other books on manners to recommend or any other favourite Danny Katz stories?

Be Happy 

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Grateful for One Pan Wonders

I love you one pan wonder dishes! This ones' from Donna Hay
This week I am grateful for the humblest of dishes, the One Pan Wonder. I love a good tasting dish that you can easily throw together and cook in the oven or slow cooker. It saves time, due to the minimal prep and is always tasty and nutritious. And it generally satisfies all the family.

This week I have made three One Pan Wonders. A chicken, chorizo, cherry tomato, potato roast thingy (inspired by Donna Hay's roast chicken chorizo dish), A vegetable pilaf with lamb cutlets and a big fritatta. I love the simplicity of using one pan. I love the fact that I often use up left over roast vegies or those veg that are starting to turn in the fridge. I love that there are less dishes and I love that it gives more time for other things, like family or getting ready for work in the evening.

What are you feeling grateful for this week? Check out other Grateful Goodness at Maxabella Loves for a Grateful Fix!

Be Happy, 

Friday, 26 August 2011

Things I know - it's great to meet you!

there is nothing as refreshing as new friends
I've been blogging around the traps for about eighteen months now in various forms here and here and here. I love the connections and bloggy friendships I have made on the journey. Nurture the Little People is my newest blog, being only 6 (ish) weeks old and I have met even more fabulous people that I would not have met had I not started this latest creation.

This week I know, it's great to meet you!

1. Lizeylou from's lizeylou. She's also having a great giveaway too!
2. Emily at The Beetle Shack
3. Anna Ranson at The Imagination Tree
4. Courtney from Nobashake
5. Lee from, Mummy Issues: Part 2

These are just a small handful of the blogs I've discovered and connected with over the past few weeks. And of course another favourite is Yay for Home! Why don't you stop on by and see what other people know this week.

Be Happy, 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Nurturing Big People - listening to body talk

a day of rest...just what the body ordered!
As a mother, I spend a lot of my time nurturing my family, building my nest and feeding my brood. All of which I love. As a Massage Therapist, I dedicate an hours time to nurturing another and channeling energy. As a Hospitality Manager, I spend a lot of my work making sure people are having a good time and ensuring that my staff feel supported and encouraged, nurtured. 

So you see, there is a lot of Nurturing going on in my life. It is a busy life, as you will find the story with most mothers and parents. However, when we are busy, we often forget to nurture ourselves and we find it hard to hear when our bodies are talking to us.

I've been having some restless sleeps of late, and waking up feeling a bit stiff and cloudy in the head. Generally a big cup of Peppermint and Green tea lifts the cloudiness and some Sun Salutations stretch out the bed aches and stiffness. 
But there has been something lurking in the background. A little voice as barely audible as a whisper has been calling me.  
 "Rest. Stop. Breathe. Sleep".

And so today I awoke feeling even more cloudy and foggy than usual. My body feeling heavy, tired. And over that cup of tea this morning, as I noticed a feather floating down from a tree outside, I heard my body loud and clear.

"Rest. Stop. Breathe. Sleep".

This morning, I took the boys to school. I purposefully left my bag at home, so as not to be tempted to one of the cafes in town. I wore my bed socks and daggy tracksuit bottoms, so as not to be tempted to meet up with the school mums and engage in school politics. Today I will rest, stop , breathe and sleep. My body is telling me I am tired. It's been a busy three weeks since moving house, and it's caught up with me.

It is so important to look after yourself and give yourself the time to recharge your energy. Being a nurturer, you have got to listen to your body talk, and pay attention to the messages it sends. 

When you really listen, what does your body talk say to you? How do you nurture yourself?

Be Happy, 

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

5 a Day Books

A few weeks ago I came across an inspiring blog by UK teacher Anna Ranson. The Imagination Tree is a fantastic resource that explores different ways to play and create with children, and it ticks all of my boxes for Nurture the Little People.

We love books and reading in our family, and so when I saw the 5 a Day Books linky, I just knew that I had to join in.

Our five a day favourites include classics like Each Peach Pear Plum, a Miffy Book about growing up and riding your bicycle, because we are all about riding our bike at the moment! We love Lucy Cousins and were so pleased to come across I'm the Best! Peter Rabbit is always a favourite at our house, so Count with Peter Rabbit gives us the perfect opportunity to learn our numbers, and finally, Oliver Jeffers, Lost and Found. I have fallen in love with his beautiful stories and amazing illustrations.

Oliver Jeffers delivers beautiful imagery
Counting to ten
a Miffy favourite
rhyming fun
a story to show we are all the best at something
Read a book or five and share the treasures you've been exploring in your family with The Imagination Trees' 5 a Day Books linky!

Be Happy 

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Grateful for Time

time, is merely a perspective, a point of view
Time, time time, see what's become of me. When I look around for my possibilities. The Bangles

I have discovered that life is based upon choices and perspective. This has become even more apparent since having children. Time is merely a tool used to measure the day by. It's a perspective, a point of view. You either have lots of it or not enough of it. 

Since moving house two weeks ago, I suddenly have more time. I don't know if it is the novelty of a new house and space to live in, but I really feel as though time is on my side. I walk the kids to and from school, a good fifteen minutes each way. I get the domesticity out of the way early and discover I have time up mys sleeve. Lot's of it. And I like it. More time for family togetherness.

The more I don't focus on time the more I seem to have. And this makes me very Grateful...and happy.

What are you grateful for this week? Link on over to Maxabella Loves Grateful Saturday to check out her Gratefulness and that of others! 

Be Happy

Image credit

Friday, 19 August 2011

Things I know - Leo's are control freaks!

Leo the Lion maybe the King of the jungle, but he is not the King of our household!
This week I have come to know, or re know or remember one of the telltale characteristics of the Astrological Sign Leo. You know the lion. Born sometime between Mid July and Mid August, Leo's typically love to be the center of attention and love to be appreciated.

But they have an ALL MIGHTY ROAR! This I know! My eight year old son has a great roar on him. He easily loses his temper, at little things and flies into a rage. And there I was just the other day writing about how eight is one of those magical ages.

Junior is a leader, and it's only natural that he wants to take charge of the family ship, but at eight years old, he has to learn to relax, step back from trying to control everything and just be a cub. He has plenty of good years ahead of him to step out of the pride and step up as his own King.

What do you know this week? Nurture the little people is linking up with Yay for Home this week to discover the things that people know.

yay for home

Be Happy

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Touch for Kids

children experience stress too
One of the many 'Hats' that I wear in my life is as a Qualified Massage Therapist. I have performed and given hundreds of massage treatments over the past twelve years. I am most passionate about giving nurturing touch to children, babies and pregnant women.

As adults, we all know that tension and stress manifests itself as knots and muscle soreness commonly in our shoulders and neck, with the odd headache attached. This is no different for children. Particularly in boys. Steve Biddulph writes in his book, Raising Boys, that male children from the ages of 8 to the teenage years often have shoulders that are "hard as rocks". 

I have found this to be the case on my 8 year old. He carries a heavy school bag, he climbs trees and gym equipment, he uses computers daily at school and concentrates hard on reading and writing and learning. It's no wonder his shoulders become so tense.

give your child the gift of touch
Over the years, as Junior Hoges has gotten older, he has become less inclined to just come and snuggle or cuddle with me. To counteract this, I have taken to giving Junior a regular weekly shoulder and neck massage of about fifteen minutes in duration. 

I ask Junior to sit on a chair, leaning into a cushion. He sits facing away from me, back to front on the chair. Using a medium firm pressure (I always ask what is comfortable for him first) I massage my way around the top of the shoulders, between the shoulder blades, at the base of the skull and the sides of the neck. For me, this a great way for us to bond and for me to express love. For Junior, he gets to receive the gift of touch, learn to relax and connect with mum.

This week, why don't you introduce the gift of touch with your kids and feel the connection.

Be Happy

image credit 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Snacks to keep the Little People Happy

Yesterday, Multiple Mum wrote about Food Wastage on her blog, And then there were four. This is an issue I take very seriously. And just like most parents know, when you have Little People around the house, there is often an awful lot of food waste. And expense. Take bananas, for example. Gill at Alice Becomes yesterday wrote about the cost of bananas and whether people factor that in when purchasing them (or not). She also wrote how she hasn't bought any for awhile as M1 has a tendency to waste them on his pram, brother or hair.

In our household, we have two boys, so there is sometimes food wastage. The biggest culprit of food wastage in our house is Mini Hoges, the nearly 4 year old. He is a grazer. He will eat small amounts of food all day long, and mostly in the mornings and late afternoons. It can be challenging keeping up with his grazing appetite and satisfying his ever changing palate. Hence the food wastage. He's the sort of kid who will grab an apple, take a bite and proclaim it's yucky. He will also ask for one thing for breakfast, have a mouth full, then say he doesn't like it or he's full. I can hear you groaning in sympathy. I know it is a phase, and he will grow out of it, just as his older brother did.

Inspired by yesterdays posts, and the constant asking for "something out of the cupboard", I decided to put together a big bowl of foods that I can pour out into a nutricious, easy snack to satisfy Mini Hoges. I call it the Cup of Fun!

I used up the last of some Mini Weetbix, threw in some dried apricots, apples and cranberries, and a very small handful of smarties, some marshmallows, grissini sticks, cashews and pepitas. And when Mini Hoges asked me for "something out of the cupboard mummy" I presented the snack in his favourite cup and said "Here you are my darling, a cup of Fun!" to which he giggled, and is now happily munching. Looks like it worked!

How do you combat the ever persistent requests for food in your household?

Be Happy

image source

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Breathing Through Parental Stress

when all else fails, breathe deep

It's one of those mornings. It's raining, the traffic is heavy making you feel late for the school run. The moon is full and the kids are behaving like lunatics. One child hits another. Game on. You feel your shoulders tighten. Hands grip the steering wheel a little firmer. It feels like it takes you hours to get out of the car and across the road to school, all the while it is raining and those kids just won't let up. You just want to SCREAM!!!

Sound familiar?

We've all been there. This used to be me. Especially if I had worked late the night before. The unrelenting stress of being a parent. It doesn't go away. But the way in which you react to the stressors determines the way you cope.

My solution? Breathe. 5 deep full breaths. In and out. In through the nose, and out through the mouth with an audible "haaa" sound. It works wonders. You can even get the kids in on it too. Ask them to pretend that you are all trying to blow up the biggest balloon in the world. They will have a giggle at seeing you doing something so silly in the midst of their squabbling. Seeing you taking full deep breaths and blowing out with full puffed cheeks will get everyone laughing. 

And we all know that laughter is the best medicine.

By demonstrating positive coping skills during stressful times, we are teaching our children valuable tools, that they too will mimick later on.

What other ways do you cope with parental stress during those crazy times?

Be Happy 

Monday, 15 August 2011

Good Manners on Monday # 3

roxanne at "things I no likey" agrees that saying "huh" is bad manners
 Pardon me for being so rude, it was not me it was my food
It just popped up to say hello, and now it's gone back down below.

I am sure we all remember this one from our childhood days. It's one of those rotten rhymes that no one really knows the origins of. On another level though, this weeks Good Manners on Monday is focusing on the use of saying "Pardon" or "Pardon me".

How many times do you hear your child, or even yourself saying "huh?" or "what?" when your don't hear something correctly or misunderstand someone? A simple, "Pardon me I did not hear you" demonstrates good manners and correct use of proper language.

Accidentally stand on someones foot in the classroom, or supermarket...perfect opportunity to say "Pardon me for stepping on your foot". In this instance, the use of manners acts as an appropriate apology.

And finally, letting out that accidental burp or fart. The correct thing to say is "Pardon me", and leave it at that.

Good Manners, they are so simple to use, yet they go so far.

Have you got another example of using Pardon or Pardon Me to demonstrate Good Manners?

Be Happy 


Saturday, 13 August 2011

Grateful for Sunshine

This week, I am feeling incredibly Grateful for the gorgeous winter sunshine that Margaret River has been blessed with. Being winter and in the South West, you are almost certain there is going to be a big down pour of rain. But it's been sunshine since last Friday when we began our relocation to a new Hogan Central. And the sunshine has lasted all week. Enough for us to move and clean up the old house! YAY!
I am 'Walking on Sunshine' this week and linking up with Maxabella Loves Grateful Linky.

What are you grateful for this week?

Be Happy

Friday, 12 August 2011

Things I know - boys, boys, boys

Junior and Mini Hoges, love the beach, this I know!

Here at Hogan Central, I am surrounded by boys. I have two sons and a husband. I make sure that I wear skirts often!

Here is what I know about my boys:

  • they play rough and tumble
  • they love the beach
  • they enjoy construction and making things
  • they love to "work" outside like their Dad
  • they always leave the toilet seat up (and sometimes a little wee on the floor)
  • they love music with guitars and love to rock on
  • they like to ride their bikes and kick the footy
  • they sometimes fight and punch and kick each other
  • they will grow up to be best friends
  • they love their family very very much

What things do you know about this week?

Nurture the Little People is joining in Yay for Homes' linky, Things I know. Check it out and see what wonderful things other people know.

yay for home

Be Happy

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Lamp Chop Wednesday

lamb chop wednesday...delicious!

It can be challenging to feed the family at times. Everyone has a different palate and are at different stages of growth. But one thing I know I can make, with out fail is lamb chops. That's why every Wednesday is Lamb Chop Wednesday in our house hold. 

Char grilled lamb chops, parmesan mash, steamed greens, gravy and mint's simplicity at its best, and its a winner!
What's your fail safe dinner that you just know everyone will eat?

Be Happy

Monday, 8 August 2011

Good Manners on Monday # 2

thanks for the lift!

# 2 Shyness vs Laziness

Last week I wrote the first post in my series, Good Manners on Monday This is my quest to get us all thinking a bit more about the way that we speak to each other and ultimately respect each other. 

This weeks post is about Thank you and exploring the idea behind what prevents kids from using their manners and saying "thank you".

For the past 6 months, we have been taking a child to school with us twice a week, and his mother brings home Junior from school on those same days. We have known this child for 3 years, he has been in the same class as Junior for all those years. We have had regular play dates and know the family well.

The problem is though, this child never ever says "thanks for the lift" or even "good bye" when we get to school. He literally whisks his seat belt off and opens the door and runs away to class, 2 seconds after I have put the car in park. After 6 months of this, it truly has grown on my nerves. Junior and I have had conversations about making sure that he always uses his manners and says "thank you for bringing me home" to his friends mum, which he does, because I hear him.

I was always brought up to say "thank you" to my friends parents if they brought me home, took me somewhere, had me over for a play date etc, etc. And these are values and manners that I expect my children to follow.

Does the use of manners (or lack of), in particular saying "thank you", indicate shyness or laziness? And do you think this reflects badly on parents who don't encourage their children or demonstrate good manners?

Be Happy, 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Relocation, Relocation

moving house, packing up and go!
We are moving house on Saturday at Hogan Central. The house has been a buzz with packing and sorting and packing up the car with boxes and moving them to the new garage. I love to move house. Even though I wish I could snap my fingers and have everything moved for me like Elizabeth in Bewitched, I do love the cleansing feel of sorting and culling. Moving house gives us an opportunity to make positive changes in our family. 

But moving house can bring anxiety and unwanted stress for children, especially young children. A new bedroom, a new street. Watching your beloved belongings being boxed away. I have noticed that Mini Hoges has been a little bit extra clingy this week, and he has been coming into our bed most nights. Junior, being four years older than his brother is relishing the idea of being in a new house, mostly because his best friend lives in the street behind, just a hop, step and a jump over the fence.

To make the transition to a new house smoother and easy for Mini Hoges, I have taken a few steps to include him as much as possible in the process:

  • Allowing children to choose their own bedroom
  • Get children involved in packing and boxing up and moving their own belongings
  • Set the new bedroom up in a layout that is as close as possible to their old bedroom
  • Lots of visits to the new house and playing in the backyard
  • Walking and biking the new route to school and kindy from the new house, before you move
  • Purchase of decorative items for the new bedroom, like a new wall hanging, rug or bed linen 
Have you moved house with children? What steps did you take to make the transition easy on them?

Happy Days, 

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Favourite Reads

Here at Hogan Central, we love books. I mean we REALLY LOVE books! I didn't realise just how much we love books until this week when I boxed up 38 large boxes of books to relocate to our new house on the weekend. That is a lot of books, and a lot of reading.
I asked the children to choose three of their favourite books to keep out and we'd read those over the week. Here is their selection:

Mini Hoges' top three reads:
the quiet book

the potato people
just jack
Junior Hoges' top three reads:
I think, I am
disgusting dave
world without fish

For myself, I often find I have two or three books on the go at once. I am currently reading "Soul Lessons and Soul Purpose" by Sonia Choquette, "What Alice Forgot" by Lianne Moriarty and "The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul" by Deborah Rodriguez. Hoges is enjoying "How to Make Gravy" by Paul Kelly and "Breaking the Sheep's Back" by Charles Massy.

What does your family love to read?

Happy Days, 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Wellbeing Wednesday

run a bath that soothes and heals
It's the middle of winter and like most people we are living with runny noses and chesty coughs. The dampness of the rain and cold mornings makes for some snotty congestion and it feels like the common cold keeps getting passed around the classroom.

In our family, we have always been big advocates of steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil. This is great if you are an adult - a few drops of eucalyptus into a bowl of boiling hot water and a towel over your head works magic. However, this is not so safe if you are a child. And not everyone has a plug in vaporizer. My method is to run a bath. Nurturing, soothing and safe.

Run a bath at a temperature that is suitable for the person intending to have the bath. For children add 15 drops of pure eucalyptus oil and 15 drops of lavender essential oil. And swish the water. For adults, double the quantity of oils. Keep the windows shut and the exhaust fan off and you will generate a healing steam that will clear your lungs and soothe your bones and aching muscles.

What methods do you use to clear away head colds?

Happy Days

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Beaut Breakfasts - apple crumble

desert for that!

Breakfast at our house can sometimes be a bit of a hit and miss. Whilst Junior has happily grown to enjoy a variety of breakfast foods, Mini Hoges still struggles with the idea, claiming "I don't like that" to almost everything I make for him. And that includes those breakfast foods that he loved two days ago.

With a surplus of apples slowly softening in my fridge, I decided to turn them into a healthy breakfast apple crumble.

Breakfast Apple Crumble

12 Apples, peeled, cored and sliced into chunks
2 cinnamon sticks
1 large piece of orange rind
1 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
50 grams of butter

Stew apples with cinnamon and orange rind until they begin to soften. Place in a baking dish. 
In a bowl, rub together oats, flour sugar and butter so that the mixture resembles a crumbly texture.
Spread over the top of the apples and bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes.
Serve the crumble warm or cold with a big dollop of natural vanilla yoghurt.

What different types of breakfasts have you served to fuel and nurture your family?

Happy Days

Monday, 1 August 2011

Good Manners on Monday

good manners matter
There are certain things that I as a mother am always saying to my boys. "Pick up after yourself", "Put the toilet seat down", "No running in the house", "Use your manners". But what does this mean? What are good manners, and why are they important?

As a parent, I believe it is our fundamental responsibility to teach children good manners. Every person on this earth deserves to be treated with respect and feel positive about themselves and those around them. Displaying good manners means that you have respect and that you care about your fellow person.

Whilst we may affirm good manners such as "please and thank you's" in our children, it is also important to demonstrate manners in our actions. Because children mimic their parents and older siblings, we want them to learn positive behaviours like holding a door open for someone, giving up your seat on the bus or leaving the last cup cake for someone else (even though your mouth is just drooling for it!).

This week in our family, we are going to focus on language and manners. This involves the tone in which we speak to each other, the volume of what we are saying and moderating for where we are saying it, and the words that we will use, with a special focus on excuse me, please and thank you. Each time the boys use their manners with the three focus words, they will earn ten cents for their respective money boxes.

What good manners do you ensure are affirmed in your family?

Be Happy,