Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bad Habits

I have one really bad habit that I wish I could stop.

I am kind of embarrassed to admit it but...

I chew my nails!

Not just my nails but the skin around them too. I am really ashamed of this habit and the way my fingers look. I will often try to hide them from other people and whenever I have to sign receipts I am conscious of people looking at them. They really look disgusting, the skin is always red and raw and often bleeding in places.

It's a habit that's always been with me. I tend to do it when I'm stressed or anxious or emotional or even bored. It was worse in my teenage years when I was at High School. All my nails were constantly chewed down low. They would often hurt and throb at night when I was trying to sleep. But the pain didn't stop me chewing them! Sometimes I wonder if this habit is some weird form of self harm behaviour - some sort of physical outlet to the stress and emotions I am feeling and can't deal with.

I've tried everything I can think of to stop but nothing seems to work. I've tried that bitter solution you put on your fingers, I've tried chewing gum, I've tried getting people to remind me when I'm chewing my nails, I've tried things for my hands to fiddle with and I've tried sheer will power. Will power works for a while and my nails will grow for a little while but all it takes is for another stressful situation to happen and I'm back to it again! I hate it. At the moment I'm in that 'in between stage'. Some of my nails still look fine but some not so good.

I would really, really like to stop chewing my nails now though so from this day forward I am making the pledge. It's in writing now so there's no going back! Any friends or family who see me chewing my nails feel free to remind me of this. Although I usually only do it when at home so Chris, it's up to you! ;)

Well, I've shared my bad habit with you all now, feel free to share yours!

Wordless Wednesday

The Washing Machine - endless source of entertainment for two kids!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Science experiments with Daddy

Last week we visited Daddy at work and conducted some special science experiments with him. Daddy works in a chemistry lab at a university. It's always an exciting experience to visit him at work as we usually only go a couple of times a year (usually when it's school holidays and we don't have as much to do!) It's a bit of a novelty for the kids to go into the city. They are constructing a new building next to Daddy's at the moment too and the kids love watching all the machinery working.

We got some lunch from the bakery and took it to a local park to eat. When we got back to the lab after lunch it was time to do some experiments! We made slime (a different slime to the one we made a few weeks ago) and watched a sugar volcano.


Lots of fun was had making this slime (and putting it all over everything at home when we came home!) First we added all our ingredients and then the kids helped to mix it all up. It was interesting seeing the reactions taking place. It went from a liquid to a solid as we mixed it. The best part though was getting to feel it - as you can see by Jacob's face!

Slime (the scientific way!)


50 mL 6% PVA
10mL 4% borax
food colouring


Mix the PVA and 3-4 drops of food colouring in a glass container (the slime will stick to plastic!) then add the borax and start stirring. When the slime starts to stick together, tip it out into your hands and gently knead it until it gives the right consistency. If it's too wet and slippery, add a little bit more borax. If it's crumbly, add a little bit more PVA.

And for the non-scientific method (aka the one you can make at home!)

Mix 1 teaspoon borax in 1 cup of water. Stir until the borax is dissolved. In a separate container, mix 1/2 cup white glue (PVA) with 1/2 cup water. Add 3-4 drops of food coloring, if desired. Mix the two solutions together and stir. The slime will start to form immediately. Once the slime is well formed, start to knead it with your hands (out of the bowl!) Some water may be left over in the bowl.


Here's what happens when you add sulphuric acid to sugar. Nothing much at first but then the sugar starts to dehydrate which produces steam and heat (a lot of heat!) Eventually it turns into carbon (which is what the kids are touching in the last picture). Even I was interested in seeing all this happen.

Sugar volcano


1 cup sugar
50mls sulphuric acid


Put the sugar in a bowl and pour the sulphuric acid over the top. We don't recommend you try this at home though, this experiment was done under a fume hood at Daddy's work.

And finally, I just thought I would add this picture of Chris and Jacob. Jacob really loves his Daddy and had such a great time doing special things at his work with him.

Visit We play at Childhood 101 for more great play ideas

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

12 weeks

Today I would have been 12 weeks pregnant. I was looking forward to this stage of pregnancy so much. It would have meant that we were over the hardest bit of the pregnancy and also the worry about losing the baby would have eased. We would have also have started telling people about the pregnancy and sharing our joy. Sadly this was not to be the case.

Ironically it has also been 4 weeks to the day since I lost this baby as well. So, how do I feel now? I think that initial shock, disbelief and grief that you feel when you lose a baby has started to subside. For the first couple of weeks all I could do was cry. I just wanted to be left alone and I didn't want to have to care for the kids.

Life has, for the most part now, returned to normal. In that I am able to go about my normal activities and am functioning again. Sometimes it feels strange that the world keeps turning even though things have changed so much for me. Sometimes I think it should just stop but I guess if that happened my grief would never end and that's not a good thing.

The difference for me now is that I feel like I am walking around with a piece of my heart missing. These two babies I lost have claimed a part of my heart and they will be with me forever. While I think that getting pregnant again will be a start to the healing process, there will always be a piece of my heart missing. People don't seem to understand that. They think that once you are over that that initial grief then that is the end.

I am struggling with feelings of jealousy and bitterness towards others who are pregnancy or who have newborns at the moment especially as the first baby I lost would have been only about 4 weeks old now. Seeing others with their newborns reminds me that I will never see the two babies I lost grow up. As much as I hate feeling this way it is an involuntary reaction for me at the moment. I am conscious that this will change as time passes.

I still have my moments of tears. It's usually just something across the day that will trigger the memories of what I have been through. But I can see that the passage of time is healing. And that someday I will be able to accept everything that has happened and be at peace. But I'm still getting there.

Wordless Wednesday

Fun at the Park near Daddy's work!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Musical glasses

Today we did a different sort of tactile activity. This time focusing on sound. We filled some glasses with different levels of water and created our own musical instrument! Each glass made a different sound when it was hit with a pencil. The kids really enjoyed this activity. Check out how much fun they had.

Not only did they enjoy listening to the different sounds the glasses made they also enjoyed making the different coloured water and pouring it into each glass. Then Jacob helped to line up the glasses from fullest to emptiest. So many learning opportunities!

Just a note: the glasses actually made a better sound when Mummy hit them ;) But I think the difference in sound is still demonstrated quite well when the kids did it. And they were happy with the sound which is all that really matters in the end!

Visit We play at Childhood 101 for more great play ideas

I want

I am not a materialistic person. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am quite the opposite. We don't have a big house. We only have one car. We don't keep up with the latest fashion trends. We're not obsessed with having the latest gadgets. I truly believe that what matters in life is that we are happy and healthy. That our children are nurtured and brought up with respect and gentleness.

It's just that sometimes I am consumed with this strange desire to acquire stuff! I don't know whether it's just me or whether it happens to everyone but sometimes I just sit here dreaming of having a bigger house or will find myself browsing through online catalogues for cute clothes for the kids. Often when I go to other people's houses I will look around and think 'oh, I wish we had that' and I feel that tiny bit of jealousy creep in.

The truth is we don't need this stuff. Nor do we have the money to buy it! So why do I feel like this? Maybe it's to do with the way the world works. Having stuff is often seen as a sign of success. That big house, two cars, the latest clothes, and so on. But the truth is, it doesn't always make you happy!

Of course, surrounding yourself with people who have the same sorts of thoughts as you helps a lot. I remember a conversation I had with another girl when I used to go to Mother's Group. This was when they were talking about reducing the baby bonus. She was complaining because if it was reduced they wouldn't be able to upgrade to a bigger car (they already had two cars, including a 4WD, as well as a big house AND a rental property!) I, on the other hand, was planning on using the majority of my baby bonus money to pay for my homebirth. Needless to say, I stopped going to that group pretty quickly!

I guess it's always going to be a natural instinct for me to want more. But I need to look at the positive side to not having more. A bigger house would mean more cleaning. Another car would mean more money spent on rego and insurance. The latest fashion would mean that I'm not getting that 'one of a kind' item of clothing that comes from scouting the op shops.

Those are good enough reasons for me at the moment.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A simple sorting activity

Welcome to the September Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is "Maths", which isn't just about counting! Our bloggers have written about games, materials, memory, shapes, graphs and more. Check out the links at the bottom to find some other great posts on Maths.


The mere word 'maths' has been known to send me running for the hills. I am definitely not a maths person even though I have written about making maths resources before! I never was very good at maths at school and I think this has contributed to a life long fear of it! So when I first heard that the theme this month was maths I got a bit worried. What on earth was I going to blog about? So I got to thinking about it all and the fact that maths can incorporate many different things. I have two young children anyway so obviously it couldn't be an activity that was particularly complicated!

I thought about what we had at home to use and finally decided on a sorting activity. I had some beads put away in our craft box which were different colours and sizes - these were perfect for Jacob. An egg carton served as a sorting container. We put all the beads into a bowl first and Jacob got to work sorting them into their different sections. This activity was great as it wasn't just a sorting activity. We were able to name the different colours and talk about the different sizes as we did the activity.

I did a slightly modified version for Esme. I knew she'd want to participate because she wants to do everything her big brother does at the moment. I used a variety of different items that I found in my scrapbook supplies (which are currently gathering dust anyway!) She had fun moving them in and out of her bowl. I can't say she was particularly good at sorting them into the right sections but hey, who am I to judge?!

The great thing about this activity is you can use pretty much whatever you have on hand. It would also be really good with dried beans as well. I'm thinking chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, etc.


Visit Science@home to find out more about the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival.


Please take the time to visit the other participants and check out their posts on "Maths."

  • Marita at Stuff With Thing writes about meal time maths with the help of our dinner table centrepiece and other food related maths fun :)

  • AmandaB at HomeAge talks about numbers, shapes and sizes, who knew that nested building blocks could be so much more fun than just building them up and knocking them down!

  • For Cass at Schooling Choices the car is one of her favorite learning tools. She thinks you could teach a child almost everything they needed to know about Math without ever leaving the car.

  • Deb at Science@home let her kids raid the chocolate to measure and compare with scales and graphs.

  • Backyard Safari is a right-brained person who spent a lifetime struggling with math, but comes to see the light through the wonder of nature.

  • SMMART Ideas is another food learner, estimating with beans, noodles and cereal...and getting a little number writing practice in there too!

  • For Monique at Your Cheeky Monkey, learning to tell the time is an important part of learning for a child, and it incorporates areas of Maths such as number recognition, counting, sequences and general numeracy.

  • Narelle at A Bunch of Keys has a simple sorting activity that can be done with young children using things found around the home.

  • Colin at Super Parents is writing about the discipline of maths, memory, and recall at 7 years old.

  • Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now loves all the Montessori math materials. But there’s one material she says is absolutely brilliant.

  • Miss Carly from Early Childhood Resources has a range of different mathematics activities that you can play with your children of all age groups!

  • Ash from Mm is for Me has been having some number fun for little learners!

  • The Planning Queen at Planning With Kids has games to teach number recognition to preschoolers - so they don't know you're doing it!

  • Julie at Works For Me Homemaking says it might surprise you to know that maths is heavily reliant on language. Here is a brief discussion of some of the "language" of maths and why children struggling with language development may find maths difficult.

  • Thanks for visiting our carnival, we hope you find some interesting new blogs.

We have chicks!

Yesterday we headed off to the farm to buy some more chooks. Unfortunately we lost a couple of chooks last week. We forgot to lock their pen one night (we've often done this and they've been fine) and we woke up in the morning to the sound of some very distressed chooks. After some investigation Chris found that one had been killed. We're not sure where the other missing one went but it never came back. It seems quite weird that animals would be hunting at that time of day. It was just after 7am and quite light. The only thing I can think of is that a fox was hiding in the undergrowth or one of our next door neighbour's (eight!) cats was on the prowl.

Anyway, we got a couple of Isa Browns to join our other two. They are still quite young, only 11 weeks so we are keeping them separate for the moment. Our old chooks are keeping a very wary eye on them! We also decided to get a couple of chickens. We've talked about hatching eggs in the past but wanted to wait until we had a broody chook to do it rather than having to use an incubator - as fun as that would be! Our two little chickens are Silkies. We have only ever had Isa Browns in the past but saw the Silkies at the farm and thought they were very cute.

The kids absolutely adore the chicks. Jacob has named his Henry and Esme (with a little bit of help!) has named hers Henny. Esme was a little wary of them at first but we finally convinced her to hold one. Jacob, on the other hand, can't get enough of them! We're not sure yet whether they are hens or roosters. It might be rather interesting if we end up with two roosters!

I have to admit that I'm kind of in love with them too! Last night when the kids went to bed I got to have a proper cuddle ;)

Friday, September 17, 2010


The other day the kids and I did some creating with our homemade version of modeling clay. I just thought I'd post some pictures of what they looked liked after they had been painted. That was a whole other activity in itself!

After they had all dried we got to do our threading activity. Jacob really enjoyed it. It was easy enough for him to do without getting frustrated and he enjoyed being able to use things he'd made as well. You can see how the threading turned out below!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sometimes I just want more

This week I've really been struggling with my role as a stay-at-home-mum.

For the past few days we've been stuck at home (Steiner school holidays started this week so we haven't had our usual activities.) Admittedly that's been my own doing. I decided I'd like one day at home, then the next day I was planning on taking the kids to the playground but couldn't be bothered, and then the day after that one I went to take them out to the library and the car battery was flat!

Anyway, the kids spent those days whingeing, demanding things from me and fighting with each other. I didn't get a moment's peace. I had even organised some activities for them but these ended up just frustrating them or causing arguments between them.

By the end of those few days I was just about mental, in desperate need of adult company, and some time out (luckily I have a wonderful husband who's happy to just take over the moment he walks in the door!) Not only was I fed up with the demands of being a Mum but I was also bored out of my brain trying to entertain two little kids. Yes, I'm actually admitting it! Sometimes this job is just boring!

It got me to thinking. Is this it? Is this my life for the next, oh, 10-15 years? To be yelled at, shouted at, demanded things of and to be a general punching bag? Sometimes I would just like a little bit of respect and some acknowledgment of all my efforts. Why on Earth did I want kids in the first place and why on Earth do I want a baby so badly?

Of course, I don't really feel like this. This is just how I feel on a bad day when the kids spend the day whingeing, complaining and demanding. We also have days that are absolutely perfect when the kids are happy, loving and enjoying everything. These are the days when I think Motherhood might actually be bliss.

I love that I have such an important role in my children's life. That I can be their source of comfort and their soft place to fall when all is not right. That I am responsible for their nurturing and ensuring that they are happy and healthy. Sometimes it's worth putting up with all this for the rewards you get.

Sometimes I do just want more but I wouldn't change my role as a SAHM for anything despite just how darn hard the job can be sometimes! In the meantime, it's time to start taking care of myself and making myself feel valued. Next year I am hoping to return to work one day a week on a permanent basis (while the children are nurtured under their grandparents care) which will hopefully give me my own 'identity'. I also need to make sure that I have some activities with adult company when it's school holiday because parenting alone is a very isolating experience!

Wordless Wednesday

The first signs of Spring!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Modeling clay

It's been a rainy day here today so perfect weather for an indoor tactile activity. This is our version of modelling clay. The kids had a great time with it all and it kept them amused for the best part of an hour. We used our playdough cutters and some kitchen utensils to make our masterpieces.

Jacob enjoyed rolling the dough and finding different shapes to cut out as well as making his own creations.

Esme decided that she just wanted to use the knife to cut hers. I was kept busy trying to pick up all the bits off the floor before our bunny got to them. Hmmm, perhaps I should have put the bunny away before we did this activity!

Here are some of the final creations before being cooked. I added holes to the middle of them so that when they are cooked we can paint them and then thread them onto some string.

And the recipe in case you want to make it yourself!

Modelling clay


1 cup salt
1 cup flour


Mix the salt and flour, add enough water so that it feels like clay - we used about 1/2 cup
Cook in the oven at 200 degrees until firm

Visit We play at Childhood 101 for more great play ideas

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kids and kids

Every year in September, our ABA group has a family BBQ at one of our member's homes. This particular family own a goat farm in Wandin. It's the perfect time of year for visiting because it's baby goats season! The kids love going down to the paddock and chasing and cuddling all the baby goats (and so does Mummy! Well, not so much the chasing business!)

I only got a few photos this year as it was just me with the children and it was a tad hard coordinating camera with trying to keep baby goats on children's knees. There were so many baby goats, including twins that had been born that very morning. They were so cute and soft!

I was a little disappointed that Oscar didn't get up to the antics he had last year though. That gave us all a good laugh!

To top off our afternoon we saw a beautiful complete rainbow as we walked back up from the paddock.

Now, I'm dreaming of a farm life!

Chris' 30th Birthday

Yesterday we celebrated Chris' 30th Birthday. Yes, he really is getting old now!!

We enjoyed a very yummy family lunch at Earthly Pleasures, one of our local restaurants. And then cake at home, which Jacob had helped to decorate.

I planned a special present for Chris this year. It wasn't really a tangible thing though so I had to make up some clues to give him! This is what I wrapped up for him:

Clue #1

A map of Bendigo

Clue #2

An army man with a parachute

Clue #3

A bit of a giveaway - a gift voucher!

Yep, I've booked Chris into a sky diving course for a weekend in October. We'll be spending the weekend in Bendigo as a family and the kids and I will explore the town while Chris is off doing his sky diving course. It's very exciting!

The other big present that Chris received was a remote control helicopter from his family. I'm not sure who's more excited about it though - the kids or him?! Chris took it out for a bit of an experimental fly yesterday. I won't post the photos of it stuck in the tree though! ;)

Here's some pictures of the celebrations!

Happy Birthday Chris! I hope you had a lovely day!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A walk in the park

Today we decided to give our weekly swimming lessons a miss in favour of some sunshine and a walk around the lake. It's been such beautiful sunny weather here lately and being outside in it all makes me feel much better. We are very fortunate to live so close to such a wonderful place (pity I don't take advantage of it more often!)

We took our bikes to ride around on. Jacob decided to ride off on me right from the start. I am sure he was about a km ahead of me at one stage and I just couldn't catch him (little girls on bikes you have to push along with your feet do not go very fast ;)) I am not usually a neurotic mother but I did get a tad concerned when he disappeared out of my sight - especially when there is a huge lake nearby. Luckily, some kind passerbys noticed that I was looking a little worried and turned him round to ride back to me - phew!

There's so many things for the kids to do at the lake.

There's ducks to watch

Bikes to ride

Piles of stones to climb

Bubbling creeks to watch

Big rocks to conquer

And water fountains to play with!

All in all, a beautiful morning in the sunshine was had! We ended up very wet and muddy - a sure sign that the kids had fun!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


This week we've been playing with slime! Jacob really loved this activity and spent ages playing with it. The slime has quite a pleasant texture, much nicer than the goop we made a couple of months ago!

Jacob scoops up some slime and watches as he tips it back into the container.

I put out a whole heap of different kitchen utensils for the kids to use in it, including ladles, scoops, spoons and a whole funnel. The favourite thing was this though, a waterwheel. Jacob was quite interested in watching the slime ooze down onto the wheels to make them move.

Watching the slime drip from his hand

Rubbing his hands together to see what the slime felt like. Jacob kept saying it felt like 'shampoo' and all soapy.

Here's the recipe in case you want to try it yourself!



1 cup Lux soap flakes
2 litres of warm water
Food colouring


Dissolve soap flakes in warm water in a large plastic container. Add food colouring. Allow mixture to stand until it becomes thick; add more water if necessary (I made ours a couple of hours beforehand but it probably would have been better left longer, even overnight!)

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