Make 2015 your ultimate!

A new year, a fresh start – the time to chase your dreams?

Make 2015 the start of something wonderful for you!

Do you want to:
be calmer,
know where everything is,
be more organised,
never miss an appointment,
save money,
try a budget,
eat healthier,
exercise,
start a new job,
begin your own business,
achieve at your current job,
work on your relationships,
spend more time with the children??

 

Make 2015 your ultimate year, and get ultra organised, by setting up your own Home Management Folder!

Whether you have your own planner or you’re creating a master organiser for the house (or both!), this month we’re going to show you how to start putting ducks in a row so you’ll have more effective use of your time.

 

WHAT IS A HOME MANAGEMENT FOLDER?

 

Its a place for you to organise your life, that of your children, spouse and household!

Bills, budgets, appointments, records… its the place where everything happens! When everything is all contained together, it makes it easier to find, easier to manage, and easier to follow.

 

WHY DO I NEED A HOME MANAGEMENT FOLDER?

Having everything in one place eliminates you forgetting! If you can free your mind from having to remember what bills to pay, what appointments to attend, what meals to cook, then you can focus on the fun projects!

Its a place that everyone in the house knows where information is!

If something happens to you (say you need a few days in hospital unexpectedly), then someone else can come into your house and look after your family, in the same way you would, because they have all the information!

 

HOW DO I GET A HOME MANAGEMENT FOLDER?

Hold onto your babes, TMP readers! This month, we’re going to show you how to put together a folder that will change your life!!!!

Every day this week, we’ll feature posts, photos, ideas, printables and inspiration so you can put together your own folder!

 

 

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Lining up Lunchboxes

The school stationary lists are out, the uniforms are clean and labelled, and the lazy late evenings are reigned back in. It’s back to school time and that means it is lunchbox chaos again!

Children are at school for 6+ hours, and they’re constantly on the go! Their minds and their bodies need fuel to ensure they are making the most of the amazing opportunities that school offers.

The biggest problem I’ve seen for parents, is that they find lunchbox making hard work and uninspiring. They’re confused over what are good choices for their children, and worry that the kids will get bored with jam sandwiches. Add to that the time pressures of each busy rushed morning, and many lunchboxes don’t have the right foods to fuel our children.

Lunchboxes start from the time your child is about 6 months, and are usually a lifelong journey, so it helps to enjoy the process somewhat, and make it as easy as possible!

The biggest advantage to ensure successful lunchboxes is to be prepared – and with that comes a little forward thinking and energy. Spending an hour or two each weekend really makes the mornings easier – the time investment is worth it!

Lunchboxes are a passion for me. I find it upsetting that marketing has brainwashed us into thinking we are doing the right thing for our children (selling us convenient ‘healthy’ pre-packaged products), when in fact, we’re doing the opposite: salt and sugar laden food.

If you want to ensure the lunchbox in your child’s school bag is healthy, you need to make it all yourself. Now, that does seem labour intensive, but there are shortcuts to ensure you’re not spending hours baking, plus it can work out cheaper than buying packets of chemical-filled lunchbox snacks!

The internet is rife with recipes and you can soon find your favourites. I try to bake fortnightly, and spend a morning in the kitchen, making cookies, slices, a cake, mini quiches, pikelets, scones, little pies, yoghurt, smoothies and meatballs.

I’m no supermum – I don’t make all of that in one go! I usually pick 3 things to make (that’s long enough in the kitchen for me!) and then once everything is done, I freeze it. The following fortnight, I do 3 different things.

Sometimes the kids help me – they love to have input into their lunchboxes, they love to help, and they love to bake. Baking is an awesome opportunity to teach skills like measuring, counting, heat changes and science reactions.

But sometimes I prefer to do it myself and send the kids outside – there are simply days I don’t have the patience to supervise flour cup counting, and I don’t want to clean up egg spilled everywhere. And sometimes, I don’t want to do it all, though I regret it during the week when I’m frantically coming up with lunchbox fillers!

Another key to success is to keep it simple. If you’re going to be baking a raw 3 layer chocolate caramel slice, the novelty is going to wear of quickly.

This is one of the big reasons I prefer divided lunchboxes. It doesn’t require much brainpower for me to work out in the morning what needs to go into the lunchbox, when I fill the biggest compartment with fruit and vegetables, the second with ‘fuel’, and the other two smaller sections with a savoury snack and a sweet treat.

The fuel section ideally contains protein and carbs to ensure kids stay full. Pack in things like bread rolls, cruskits, creamed rice, mini quiche, pizza, sushi, fruit or vegetable muffins, boiled eggs, meatballs, sausages, tuna, wraps and rice or bean salads.

Make the biggest part of the lunchbox healthy with fresh fruit and vegetables. Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, grapes are all appealing to tuck between the usual apples and bananas!

Add some nuts and seeds and crackers to a small cup or compartment, and a treat food (cookies, cakes, slices, sweet muffins) to the other compartment. Add some cheese, custard or yoghurt to the lunchbox (ours doesn’t fit so I add it in additionally). Keep the lunchbox wrapped in a bag with an ice pack (even a plastic bag and a frozen drink bottle) and pop into the school bag with another bottle of water!

You can also do prep in the evenings. Make more meatballs than you need, or cook an extra large portion of macaroni cheese or creamed rice. Pop into smaller containers with a spoon, and add to lunchboxes. Try putting together lunchboxes in the evening and store in the fridge, so they are ready for the morning.

Don’t forget to join us at Ministry of Lunchboxes on Facebook for recipes and inspiration!

This article was originally published in the Bay Weekend.

Are you up for the Challenge?

NO-SPEND FEBRUARY

February is a short month, which makes it perfect for challenges 😛

Its also the month that kids go back to school, Summer holidays are over, reality sets in, and we get our routines back.
It may be the month you evaluate your New Years resolutions, that may or may not still be relevant, and consider your goals for the rest of the year.

February is also the month that credit card statements come in, the spending from Christmas and any holidays bites, and the bank account is looking somewhat sad after uniform/stationery purchases.

So it makes sense that February is a fantastic month for looking at your finances!!!

Which is why, here at The Motherhood Project, we’re going to embark on ‘NO SPEND FEBRUARY’ – will you join us?!

A no-spend month is an easy and effective way of boosting your bank account without earning more money.
If we’re looking forlornly at our bills, my partner will say, ‘how will we get MORE money?’ and I say, “how will we spend LESS money?” . . . for many of us, there are some changes we can make to really help.

Quite simply, you pay all essential bills. That is all bills you need to live, or that you are tied into contracts with. This includes power, phone, rent, food.

You do not spend on clothing, toys, books, entertainment, trips out etc. – All non-essential spending is put on hold.

When I define essential, its somewhat confusing. In order to live, we need food, shelter etc. We don’t need phones (for most of us). Yet, if you didn’t pay your phone bill this month, you’d get hit with a payment fee, and still have to pay it next month. That would be counter productive! See what I mean?

So if you have loan payments, HP’s or other commitments, then do stick to them!

Obviously if you have a major celebration on your calendar like a wedding or family party, you have to ride those costs too! But you don’t need to go out for Friday drinkies with friends, or catch up on a coffee date, if you aren’t going to stick to water!

Also, let me clarify – this is your life! Your money! Your challenge! So if you missing out on a coffee date is going to make you hate on me … well, either get the coffee and be happy (and poor?), or evaluate how this challenge is really making you feel.

Because challenges like these really lay bare your spending habits, and that can make you feel guilty, angry, resentful and bitter (although at the end you will feel relieved and happy when you have saved a few dollars!).

How much you can save this month will depend entirely on your shopping habits. Maybe you’re already quite thrifty, or maybe you have a lot you can save on. I usually find that when I do a no-spend month, I have more than a weeks groceries worth of money I’ve saved. That to me is totally worth it!

So… are you in?!

If so, make sure you’re signed up >>>> to our blog updates and Facebook page so you don’t miss out on any savings tips!
Let’s do it!

2015 in 2015: It’s coming!!

Our new project is coming… and together we’re going to make 2015 super organised, super inspirational, and just all-round super awesome!!!

Make sure you are signed up to receive our post updates >>>>> on our side menu, so you don’t miss out!

If you’re ready to get organised, get motivated, and get out there to make life wonderful…. then you’ll join me in counting down until February!!!!!!!!!

Kindness

I have been sitting here staring at a blank page for a while now. Thinking about something significant in my parenting journey to write about.

There are so many moments, lessons learnt. I can’t quite figure out which one is more important to talk about here. Some things are very big and heavy and possibly too much for my to write about on my first post here.

So I will start a little simply.

Kindness

I want to raise children who are kind, generous of spirit, prepared to go the extra mile to do good in the world.

I say sometimes that kindness in my religion.

I am certainly human and have days I am less giving than others. I have days where people annoy me and I can’t get past how annoyed I am. BUT I have found many ways to incorporate kindness in my life and in turn in my children’s.

I actively seek out little ways my children can do RAK’s or be in the position to give. Because they get the same high I get from it.

Doing good in the world is addictive I tell you.

But I am now myself also seeking ways to make a difference in the community around me.

Mostly in my children’s school community. Some if it’s just ideas in my head at the moment but over time I am sure I will share.

 

But I wanted to list things we have done or do still that I think helped my children and I be more giving and kind.

  • Always thank the bus driver. Always.
  • Wish people who serve you a good day and look them in the eye and smile while thanking them.
  • Buy coffee vouchers from a coffee shop (we did Starbucks as my kids love their juices and iced chocolates) leave them with the cashier and ask her to assign them to the next so many patrons. (I did this on my birthday a couple of years ago for the first time).
  • Same as above but give the vouchers to your children to gift to people they think need a little love (we did this on Christmas eve last year).
  • Take change uptown with you and look for parking meters that need change as you walk around.
  • Take baking into your school’s staff room with a note from your children.
  • Give baking to teachers or families you like or even just randomly.
  • On my children’s birthdays I take in cupcakes for them to share with their class and staff they choose, they love walking around knocking on classrooms offering staff the cupcakes. Biggest high for them ever. My son whom is now at high school prefers I pack cookies for him now so I don’t have to go in.. yes it is a bit shame for mums to come in at that age).
  • On Christmas eve we make little packages of treats up and doorbell ditch them with wee cards.
  • We took baking to the firehouse recently, and plan to do the police station and the library next.
  • We take a plastic bag to the part with us , or when out for a walk and collect rubbish while we are out.
  • We now through the bookcrossing website release books into the wild. Sadly none have been registered by whoever took them yet which has made us a bit sad but we are still hoping.
  • Our school is low decile and are lucky to have fruit for schools and sandwich ingredients provided for kids who have no lunch. If your children’s school has these things in place offer to help with them. I did sandwiches last year and it really opened my eyes up to how many kids didn’t have lunch.
  • Talk to your kids about this. I have told my kids to always make sure they eat lunch as I don’t want them going hungry (as one child was giving away most of her lunch) but yes if a child has no lunch share your sandwiches or baking with them if they notice the need.
  • We regularly clear out cupboards and “stuff” we do often on sell things but also box up stuff for local charity shops (never save mart) as I think our old things can do more good via those shops.
  • Good deeds in your family. I openly try to do good deeds for extended family. But also within the home. Now my kids do these for each other (between fights, let’s be real here). Kind notes. Little treats for each other etc. It is beautiful to see.
  • Leave kind comments on blog posts you really enjoyed. Bloggers really do appreciate them.
  • Compliment people. It feels weird to start with but it can really make people smile.

I am sure I will remember heaps more once i have pushed publish.

doorbell ditch doorbell dtiching doorbellditch

(These pics are of the kids doorbell ditching on a Christmas eve)

 

But. Kindness. Random and otherwise.

Children learn to be kind by seeing it around them. They mimic you. So if you go out of your way to help people in turn your children will too.

Embracing kindness and making it a daily goal has improved my parenting. My children love coming up with ways to help others and they go out of their way to see a need.

I encourage you to be a little kinder this coming week.

As I tell my kiddos… “You will never regret being to kind”.

 

I would love to hear things your family does to teach and demonstrate kindness.

 

Green

When Spilling Becomes a Problem (Part I)

Throughout my whole pregnancy, I was so excited to meet my precious little boy that I thought of little else. I was about to become a Mum and impending motherhood was going to be filled with tender newborn snuggles, time spent breastfeeding my bundle and changing dirty diapers. And let’s not forget walking the hall getting my babe to sleep and then watching him sleep. I probably wasn’t being very realistic, but what first time mother has a sound and true knowledge of what being a Mum is like.

What I’d failed to factor in was all the things that could go awry. My perfect baby boy arrived 3 weeks before his due date and was a tiny 5lb 2oz. He was hungry. He fed, and fed and fed. Then spewed, and spewed and spewed, then hit repeat.

It shouldn’t have surprised me really. I was a ‘spilly’ baby who failed to gain weight and was eventually diagnosed with reflux and failure to thrive. So it was no shocker that my baby was a ‘spilly’ baby. But how much spill is too much? When does being a ‘spilly’ baby become a reflux baby?

These questions were all answered in time, but it took an agonizing 8 weeks to get the answers we searched for. I asked the lactation consultant while we were still in hospital if there was a chance Connor could have reflux as even in his first days of life, whenever he spilled, he would become increasingly unsettled. I was fobbed off. “Babies don’t develop reflux until at least 2-3 weeks of age. Stop being paranoid.” I mentioned that I had been a reflux baby and also diagnosed as failure to thrive but it mattered to them little.

After 6 days in hospital with my boy, we were finally released into the world and we got to take him home! The day we all wish for but also dread. No nurses with a wealth of knowledge, no cleaners to whisk away the spilled over sheets and blankets and bring back fresh ones. No meals delivered to your bedside (not that hospital meals are anything to be excited about!).

We took our baby home, delighted to be together as a family for the first time. AND in our own home. The first few days went relatively smoothly. There was some spilling, some tears (mine and Connor’s), but we carried on. And then he stopped sleeping. My two week old newborn would have to be fed to sleep, would wake and cry as soon as you removed him from the breast and would take another hour to settle. In the end, by 4 weeks old he would be awake anywhere from 1-5 hours then sleep 4-6 hours and repeat. I asked about reflux again. This time, my midwife. She assured me she doubted it was reflux, but if I was concerned, to take him to see the Doctor for their opinion.

The doctor wasn’t a huge help. We were given a prescription for baby gaviscon, but advised not to give it to our boy until he was at least 6 weeks old and then only to be given sparingly. I gave him his first dose the very next day. What do you know, it settled him slightly and the spilling reduced! A week later, it was no longer working and we were back where we started. By this stage, we’d been referred to Plunket for sleep advice.

We’d also stopped trying to put Connor in his bassinet after trying all the other tricks of the trade (raising the head end of the bassinet, warming the sheets before putting him in, swaddling tightly. You name it, we’d tried it), we’d given up. Every time we laid him on his back, a screaming match would ensue. The only place he would sleep semi-comfortably was my chest – the one place he would sleep was also the one place I was being told in no uncertain terms he should not be sleeping. So against all advice, to save our sanity and get some sleep, we started bedsharing, something we had never, ever intended to do.

Connor was now bringing up almost all of every feed, and feeding pretty much 24/7. The only place he was content, I wouldn’t call it happy, was at the breast. I felt homebound. I missed family events, I stayed in. The only place I went was coffee group. Connor would scream for the entire 20 minute drive to the rooms, then feed and promptly crash out for the 3 hours we were there. It was my only respite, the only place I felt able to take my screaming baby where I received no judgement. Family told us that the way Connor cried wasn’t normal, and now they tell us that they should have done more, but in the moment, it’s about getting through.

At times, I wondered if it was all in my head, but my instincts told me it wasn’t. My boy was in pain. He would scream, and I mean scream, like I’ve never heard a baby scream. If he was asleep on me and transferred to someone else’s chest, he would wake within minutes and scream. My husband was working 10 hour days then coming home and doing all the housework, the washing, cooking dinner. Everything. While I sat on the lazy boy with the baby screaming at my breast, arching his back, or bringing up his feed. It was an endless cycle. A vicious cycle. He’d been back to the doctors twice and while we’d been referred to the Pediatricians, when I asked how long the referral would take the answer was 6-8 WEEKS! I promptly followed up with “Well what do I do in the meantime?”

“Hang in there.” REALLY? Seriously? You’re telling the new mama on tenterhooks to “Hang in there!”?!

Taken at the hospital after 10 hours of being awake and crying

And then the next day he cried for 13 hours. Yep, you read that right. 13 hours straight. My 8 week old baby boy, screamed his little heart out for 13 long, exhausting, horrific hours. I put him to the breast and he would arch his back in pain and flail about. I put him on my shoulder and he would scream in my ear. I handed him to my husband with tears in my eyes. “I can’t do this anymore.” And so we took him to ED. We were at wits end. We’d tried everything. We couldn’t keep going the way we were. It was impossible.

How to Make Chocolate Milk

There is a new kid in town, and woosh, are they popular!

choco milk

I’m sure this newly released product, a collaboration between Lewis Road Creamery and Whittakers chocolate, has been a marketers dream. Dubbed ‘liquid gold’ and a sell-out across the country, consumers cant get enough of this chocolate milk – despite the media widely reporting that there are 10 teaspoons of sugar in a serving!!

I’ve been making real hot chocolate forever … why use powder when you can melt chocolate into milk and drink it warm! It’s my best winter indulgence! So it wasnt too hard for me to figure out how to make chocolate milk… cold.

Kids love it. I think it tastes just like that perfect bottle above ^^ too!

So if you can’t get the real deal, here goes!

choc milk

Get yourself 1 litre of REAL milk. That is, farmhouse milk (silver top), Lewis Rd Creamery milk, or raw milk with cream (yummy!).

Pour half into a saucepan and warm gently. Break up 1 block of Whittakers Creamy Milk (try and avoid the ‘one for the pot, one for the mouth’ if possible, but do allow yourself to sample a piece of two. You know, just to check it is ok :-P)

Use a spatula to use and make sure the chocolate doesnt catch on the bottom, add the remainder of the bottle, and then use a whisk to mix well (remember to keep on a low heat so it doesnt boil).

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

When it is chilled, it is ready… if you managed to leave it alone for that long!

I’m amazed that some people were shocked by the revelation of much sugar is in each bottle. Chocolate milk is a TREAT food, always has been, always will! Enjoy and indulge… everything in moderation 🙂

The Power of Life, and Reproductive Rights

New beginnings, new endings….
The pregnancy test… those little blue lines.

For some, it is a relief. For others, scary.
Sometimes happy, sometimes horrified.

 

Sometimes, making the hardest, biggest decision in your life, as soon as those blue lines have lay a situation down before you.

Abortion. For it, or against it. Pro-life? Pro-choice?
Silly teenage girls who forgot to use protection?
Well…. I recently read that the majority of abortions are undertaken by mothers. Women who already have children.

Doesn’t that turn your thoughts around.

Menstruation, sex, pregnancy, infertility, miscarriage, abortion and contraception.

Woman troubles.
Women’s troubles.

 

Making the decision to have an abortion…… then going on to have children,.
Having children… then going on to have an abortion.

 

Does having an abortion affect the way you parent, when you have children later?
Does having an abortion after you have completed your family, make you a better mum?

 

Abortion shaped me as a mother. After all, I wouldn’t have my eldest, my peanut baby, if I hadn’t had the abortion. Circumstances were such that I made the decision. I live with it. I’m not particularly proud of it. I did not enjoy it. I say I wouldn’t do it again, although I know if I were in the same circumstances, I would.

I’ve completed my family. My children are beautiful souls, I see magic and miracles in them every single day. Babies are a gift.
I have seen many a friend struggle with infertility and baby loss.It seems so unfair.
And yet, I don’t want another baby. I’m finished. I’d do it again so that I could be a better mother to the children I have now.

 

What having an abortion in 1959 was like . . .

http://www.buzzfeed.com/dianawiener/what-it-was-like-having-an-abortion-in-1959

“The abortions are part of my own history”

 

 

Pregnancy and birth are not an easy journey. It’s not a period of your life, either. It is signing on to be a parent forever. That is a lot for a woman. She must become someone else. And if she isn’t ready… Pro life, or pro choice.

The biggest and most emotional choice, when faced with those little blue lines.

No one else has the right to make it for her.
Every woman should have the right to decide what happens in her life.

 

 

 

And I do believe that each abortion sits with the woman, as part of her history, forever.
For good, or for bad.

For a beginning, or for an ending.

 

 

 

 

I’m so excited to be a part of The Motherhood Project collaborative blog! My name is Vittoria and my writing is controversial, serious and thought-provoking! I have a wonderful husband and together we have a large family! I love being a mum and I believe our children are here to teach us!!!!!!!