Monday, 23 September 2013

Activity Monday - Alphabet Train

Today was activity Monday for Mini Miss and myself.

For me it started last night with some preparation....Printing a train and alphabet cards and cutting them out.

Then this morning we set up the activity together.

By this stage Mini Miss was very excited about the train. She had already noticed the letters on each carriage and had been pointing out all the letters she already knew.

This activity was designed to encourage her to explore the alphabet some more and hopefully learn and recognise some new letters. At the moment she can recite the alphabet and recognises about half the letters, particularly the letters in her name, which she can give me in the right order (small mummy boast there! What?! I'm allowed to be proud!).

Anyhow, I showed her the box of "oh circles mummy" and how they each had a letter on them too. I had to demonstrate what to do. The idea being that you matched the circle to the letter on the train. 

This activity was so much fun! Mini Miss even enjoyed sticking the blue tack on each circle to stick it to the train. As well as alphabet recognition, we had fine motor skills, lots of talk about colours and shapes and much talk about trains! Mini Miss has a LOVE of trains, ever since we were lucky enough to win that wonderful weekend away to Sydney thanks to the Coffs for Kids website.

I plan on leaving the train up for the week. She has already gone back and added more letters, and even some stars as decoration for the sky! I think we will continue to decorate, and when we are done, because the train and the circles are made out of cardboard, we will pack it away for another day.

But as always, the best bit was we spent one on one time together! 

We talked, we laughed, we played. The train went on an adventure to a magical world of Mini Misses imagining....

We did so so much more today. Went on another nature walk, fished for alphabet fish, went for a swim....but I guess that is for another post! 

If you want to recreate our Alphabet Train for your little one, copy the pictures below, print on A4 card, cut them out and then set up your scene. We went simple as I wanted to focus today on the letters, but it can be as decorated as you want. 

We used blue cardboard as a backdrop, and purple paddlepop sticks as the tracks.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Talk Like a Pirate Day!!!

Ahoy Mateys!!!! 

I love International talk like a pirate day! It's a great excuse to say "arrrrrgh" and watch Pirates of the Caribbean (who really needs an excuse to do that lol!)

Mini Miss is currently obsessed with pirates. Her favourite show is Jake and the Neverland Pirates, a weird spin on Peter Pan & the Lost Boys. So obviously we were looking forward to dressing like a pirate, talking like pirates, going on an adventure to find our treasures to put in the treasure box....for a 2.5yr old, she was excited!!! 

We had our pirate mask and the plan was to make a sword for her. Yesterday i bought her a music box, which no matter the number of times i told her otherwise, she decided it was her treasure chest! No matter how hard I try, she is not my little girly "oh it's such a pretty box with a ballerina and sweet music" kind of kid. She's the use your imagination and turn the otherwise "ordinary" box into something awesome like a treasure chest kind of kid! It currently contains a feather & a rock! Not jewellery and glitter here!! 

Anyway, I digress......

Sadly, mini miss is sick :( so no international pirate day celebrations here. 

Mind you, Mini Miss's idea of pirates and mine are very different. Mini Miss's view on pirates is they are sweet and fun loving people who love adventure, sharing and learning valuable lessons about team work and helping others. 

I think of pirates as wild, dangerous, swashbuckling, sword wielding long haired, dirty bearded, troubled eyed, rope swinging........oh yeah picture Orlando Bloom right here and you get the idea.....or Johnny THEY are the pirates I like!!

So today we have an endless run of Disney Junior on the TV while she lays lifeless on the lounge, & we both get some much needed rest I guess. At least she can watch Jake & the lost boy pirate crew! Maybe if I'm a good girl I will get to watch Pirates of the Caribbean tonight (nudge nudge wink wink Muddled Hubby!)  

However, it won't stop my talking like a pirate at every chance!!


Monday, 16 September 2013

Monday is now Activity Day - Playdough making

I don't spend enough time with my Mini Miss. Time has run away from me this year, and she is suddenly 2 and a half and is very interested in EVERYTHING! A little sponge, just shy of asking why all the time, but happy to ask "what that mummy?" at everything, or the new one "what letter that?". She is growing up fast, and I want to enjoy some of this new, sponge like time, before she turns into the 4 year old "know it all" or the 13 year old "I don't really need you anymore" kid!

Sooooo, I have decided that EVERY Monday will be a special activity day for just Mini Miss and Me. 

This week, we made home made, no cook playdough.

I went with no cook as I wanted Mini Miss to do as much of the making as possible, and I am not ready to introduce stove top cooking to her just yet! 

I found the recipe in the wonderful world of Pinterest, on the KIDSPOT website and it is just so simple. I can see us making this often. If you haven't checked out the Kidspot website before, I highly recommend it! 

To save time though, here is the recipe:

2-3 cups of flour
3/4 cup of salt
2 tbs cream of tartare
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 cup of water
1 tsp of food colouring

To make it is even easier!!

1. Put 2 cups of flour, salt and cream of Tartare into a bowl.

2. add food colour to water, helps it mix better in the dough
3. add oil and water to bowl and mix vigorously.

4. Add more flour if needed, until the mixture comes away easily from the bowl and turn out onto a floured board and kneed until it is no longer sticky. 

Thats it. So simple! 

You don't have to worry if they eat it, you know whats in it and its perfectly safe. (Mini Miss has definitely snuck a couple of bites in when I haven't been mouth is a giveaway!).

There are so many simple, yet important learning areas in this activity. We measured and counted. We mixed and poured. We watched as the white dough turned blue, and we talked about all the other colours we could make. We made things and she made up a little story about a snowman she made. (Mini Miss LOVES making up stories...all the time....about everything!).

Not to mention, it was awesome fun!

I loved spending time with her, and doing something just for fun. I love that Mini Miss enjoys helping with the housework, washing, dishes, cooking, just not vacuuming (not a fan of loud noises AT ALL!), but doing something fun together, was just so relaxing.

I highly recommend you try it if you have little ones! 

I am open to suggestions for next weeks activity so feel free to leave a comment with a suggestion/link!!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Mini Miss Explores Spring

So, on the days I get to actually spend at home with Mini Miss rather than working, I like to do something fun. 

I know, weird right?! 

If I absolutely MUST do housework, I try and include her in some way. For example, hanging out the washing. Its surprising just how much this kid loves to hang out clothes! I don't know, maybe she gets that from her Dad or something. But I certainly do not like hanging out clothes, or doing dishes, or vacuuming.....but these, these things she LOVES to do, or at least, help with!

But yesterday I decided to sacrifice the housework and go explore Spring with her. It has well and truly sprung here, flowers are blooming, trees are green, weather is warm.....I love it! 

So we went on a nature walk, basically to collect some items to use in a craft activity I had in mind. Bucket in hand we set off. One of the benefits of living on an acreage is that I have access to "the bush" without it being too dangerous and scary! (And, not being able to hear your neighbours arguments, thats a good plus too!).


We walked around the house, down the back of the yard, over the the "not running at the moment" creek. We looked at trees, and the different leaves, the different flowers. We looked at bugs and ants. We talked about spring, about all the colours we could see, about all the different textures we could feel. 

Mini Miss's eyes were alight with learning. She was hands on and loving every minute of it! I love this age. She has just started asking questions, the why and how questions. At this stage, its still cute, and the questions just have a simple one answer purpose. She actually wants to know WHY and HOW. I'm not looking forward to when she is 3 and asks why over and over again!

Once our little bucket was over flowing with interesting things from the garden, we headed back inside. I set her up with some PVA glue and a piece of paper I had set up. It looked like the grass and the sky, very original i know! I talked to Mini Miss about how she could use all the things we had found to make a picture of our yard! 

Mini Miss loves "crafta" (no idea why she calls it this, but that is what she calls it, and corrects you if you just say craft!) so she dove right in and started making. Glue flew everywhere, bits of grass and leaves, flowers and sticks....MESS!


But in the end, she was smiling. She had learnt something, and we had spent some quality time together doing something she loved. Spending time with my Mini Miss, one on one, having conversations, teaching, watching her learn and understand.....

that is just the best.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Sjogrens Syndrome

Sjogrens Syndrome.

It sounds like a bad Swedish Band name, except its pronounced *sho-grins*.

Which makes it sound like something you need before you go on stage on Broadway.

"Make sure you all have your Jazz Hands and Show Grins girls".

I never realised just how much hope I put in having a name for what was wrong with me. I thought once I had a name for it, a medical term, suddenly it would be like 

"what's wrong with you?"

"I have Sjogrens Syndrome"

"Oh, I understand" or "Oh I see" or even "Oh you poor thing, no wonder you feel like crap all the time"

The reality is, when people ask what's wrong with me and I tell them, they still don't understand. I still have to explain everything. I have to rattle of a list of symptoms, all of which seem to have nothing to do with each other. They just seem like random complaints.

It just feels like one big excuse with a name.

For example, at the moment the Sjogrens is causing severe joint pain, which comes and goes, so one day I will seem fine, the next day I can barely move. I have constant sinus infections/throat infections because my body now has issues producing saliva, or any sort of bodily fluid, meaning infections occur easier. Also, because it is auto immune, my body is constantly attacking ITSELF. 

Oh, and fatigue.....You know that feeling after you have been struck down with the flu for a week straight, barely able to get out of bed the whole time, then you get up and start moving? You feel bone weary, in your muscles weak and shaky? That is how the fatigue feels to me. On a good day I am fine and I can go about life normally. Go to the gym, go to work, come home and do the housework, run around after Mini Miss and feel fine. On a bad day I can barely get out of bed at all. Most of my days walk that middle line, the one where I'm not great, but not bad enough that I can't get out of bed. That limbo, where I look and feel like crap, but manage to keep going.

Some days I run on sheer will power, which is funny, because my will power is not so great. If it was, I would certainly be a lot thinner!! 

Knowing there is a very real possibility that there is more to it that just this one thing, and that, in reality, while I may find a treatment for some of the symptoms, I will have to live with this for the rest of my life? That is beyond overwhelming. The urge to just give up is strong at times. It seems too hard. It's too much. I HATE with a passion feeling like this all the time. I hate the disease and I hate the excuse. 

I want to be normal again. I want to be well again.

I don't want a name, I want a cure. 

Having a name for it feels just the same as using the term procrastination. It just gives what you are doing a name. Its still being lazy, but it has a name. 

And as long as people don't understand that an illness can leave you perfectly fine one day and crawling out of bed just to pee the next day, it will be no different. The name is just a term for the excuse. I can see people thinking "oh, so the doctor gave you a name for your excuse, good-o. Now you can complain about your symptoms, which for all I can see are really just in your head, and have a term for it. It's still just excuses and complaints". 

Except it isn't. 

I don't want to feel like this. So badly so that I push past what I am capable of. I push through the pain, the tiredness, and I end up where I am right now. At the end of my tether, looking for any way out. Any way to escape what I feel, what I deal with everyday. I become emotional, depressed and feel completely useless. I feel like a burden on everyone, especially my family. I feel like a waste of space. 

Suddenly, I can understand with clarity why my Mum gave up her struggles. 

Thankfully, in a way I guess, I have lived through the aftermath of that "giving up", and I refuse to do that to my family, ever. So, I will "sook" for a day or two, and then brush myself off and keep fighting, keep on going. My family need me, and no amount of looks, dismissive "oh, i see"'s, no lack of understanding stops that from being true. 

My girls NEED a mother, and I, for better or worse, am what they are stuck with, so I best make sure I do as good a job as I can! 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Competition Time!!!

So......I think it is time for a little competition on my Facebook Page. In a couple of weeks I will be running an auction to raise money for an awesome cause (find out more about it HERE), so I need my page to EXPLODE with likes, and shares, and general activity. 

Yep, I am running a competition purely to increase readership and interactions on my Facebook Page. 


You don't think that is one of the biggest reasons other pages run competitions? If you have followed me for a while, you know I'm honest, I'm transparent, "It is what it is"!! 

So on my Facebook Page, I have a guessing competition. There is a "what is it" picture. To enter is easy:

  1. Like my Page (obviously!)
  2. Share the photo on your wall (publicly is best as I can track it better that way)
  3. Post your guess in the comments.
That's it.

this is the picture....trickier than it looks apparently!

This coming Friday, the 6th September, at 7pm, the competition will finish. I will tally up all the correct answers (and yes, I get to determine what is a "right" answer), and all the shares. Each share gets an automatic entry. Each correct answer gets 2 entries. 

When I have written down all the names onto little slips of paper (i am expecting this to take a while....want to torture me? Share LOTS!!), folded them up and put them into a non see thru container (yes, I will take photos so you can all see its legit....hey, maybe I'll even video the draw!), Muddled Hubby will draw the winners name! 

So, thats it. get sharing, guessing and having FUN!!!

Oh, the prize? Yeah, I guess you want to know what that is....

$40 voucher to spend on Snapfish photo products. You can use that however you want...photobook, calendars, enlargements, of hundreds of 4x6 prints. I don't mind. 

Only catch on that is, it is only available in Australia....soooo, if you enter from over the ocean (say the US or UK or somewhere else awesome) and you win, we will work something out! Your prize will be of equal value and still give you flexibility for a photo gift type prize (I have a couple of ideas, it will just depend where you are from!). 


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Five Things

Ok, so this is a chain blog thingy. I was tagged by the awesome Silence of the Mom, so I can choose to join in and play. Apparently nothing bad will happen to me if I don't play, no shadows will kidnap me, no sudden head spinning, vomit producing posessions, no evil disembodied voices telling me to kill people, no 50 years of bad luck. Nope, its JUST FOR FUN!!! 

In the process you may find out some things about me, or maybe you are already bored.....either way....

I like fun, so I'm choosing to play.....


  1. GOD  Surely you were expecting Him to be at the top of my list?! I am a passionate Christian. I Love God, I am passionate about my relationship with Him. I am passionate about letting as many people as possible know about Him and his Son Jesus and the amazing gift He gave us. That's it. I try and keep it light while not hiding the fact that I am a passionate Christian. Have questions? Feel free to ask, I am always happy to talk about my Faith.
  2. MY FAMILY  I am one of the most blessed people I know. Sure I have my battles, but behind the battle lines, in the safety of my home, I have my family. Muddled Hubby, Miss Teen, Mini Miss and my Dad. Without them my life would be empty. I love them unconditionally. And I will protect them unconditionally. I don't care if you are a 5yr old boy, you push my Mini Miss without provocation  I WILL step in and say something! Yeah, passion....obsession....fine line I guess....
  3. MY SISTERS It sort of links in with my family, as they are the people I choose to be part of my family. I have 4 amazing friends who are like my sisters. We share our lives, our joys, our sadness. We fight, we argue, we laugh until we cry, we hurt each other, we get so drunk we pass out, but regardless, we love each other. They are amazing.
  4. WRITING  I love to write. It's the way I express myself. It's the way I clear my mind. It's the way I deal with emotions I cannot otherwise handle. It's my haven. I can write whatever I want, without upsetting anyone (I don't have to share it if I don't want to). I prefer writing to talking, which makes communicating with Muddled Hubby interesting at times. 
  5. MUSIC  Similar to writing, there is always a song that can express how I am feeling. More than that though, it is the one thing that can lift a bad mood, can make me feel better. Music stirs great memories. Miss Teen and I share this passion. She writes and sings. I sing. We sing together, a lot. Especially on road trips!


  1. TRAVEL WITH MUDDLED HUBBY  I have already been lucky enough to travel overseas, but until our honeymoon last year, Muddled Hubby had not. Now he has the bug too! I'd love to go back to the US. I would love to travel, without plan, across the UK & Europe. I would love to take Hubby to Gallipoli & Macchu Picchu. 
  2. DO MISSION WORK  There are so many missions that my church is involved with. I would love the opportunity to travel to somewhere like Cambodia, Bali or The Philippines and help people. 
  3. CLIMB THE SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE  Doesn't sound like much of an big thing, except I'm afraid of heights and its REALLY high. But, it would be so awesome to view Sydney from up there!!
  4. WRITE A BOOK  This one goes hand in hand with the passion for writing. I have even talked to a local author and he has given me his publishers details....still a LONG way off!
  5. SING ON STAGE AT THE OPERA HOUSE  Shh, this one is a big secret, a big embarrassing share on my behalf! But yes, I would love to stand on the stage of the Sydney Opera House and sing. 


  1. OHMYGOSH!  My stand by phrase for anything I cannot believe or that shocks me!
  2. IT IS WHAT IT IS  My way of saying I don't like it, I can't change it, so I am going to try and just accept it for what it is. I say this way too much lately.
  3. OOOOOKKKKKAYYYYY  Usually said to one of the girls when they say the same thing over and over again, and I still don't understand. It's my way of agreeing without the catch! 
  4. JASPER!!!!  Usually followed by an exclamation of "don't eat that" "get down" "come here" or "sit". No really, this is one of my top 5 for sure!
  5. I LOVE YOU  Corny I know, but true nonetheless. I am a big fan of saying I love you to the people you love. Wait, and it may be too late.
  1. GONE by Michael Grant  Newly discovered series, and this is the first book. I am a bit of a sucker for supernatural teen books.
  2. 50 SHADES OF GREY  Yeah, I read them. Well, 2 of them. Haven't picked up the third one, but hear it has a happy ending!
  3. TWILIGHT SERIES  As I said, I'm a sucker for supernatural teen books, and even more than that, anything Vampires, so I often re read this series.
  4. TRASHY MAGAZINES  Pick one. Who Weekly? New Idea? Whatever is on the news stand, again, its for the easy, no brain using read.
  5. I WENT WALKING/I WROTE TO THE ZOO/BLUE TORTOISE  Seeing a pattern here? I have a 2yr old who loves stories!


Ok. Seriously?!! Just 5?! AND it depends on my mood and what I feel like watching.....I am just going to choose 5 movies I like that I can think of.

  1. TWILIGHT SERIES  Again, sucker for Vampires!
  2. HARRY POTTER SERIES  They are good! I love them! I cried at all the appropriate moments in the cinema, even though I knew they were coming!
  3. THE BREAKFAST CLUB  I am a girl of the 80's and this my friends, is an awesome movie!
  4. WEST SIDE STORY  This question would be even harder if it was only 5 musicals. Name a musical. I love it. 
  5. THE WEDDING SINGER  This mixes 80's, musicals, and romantic comedy into one easy watching movie. Love it! 
I have so many more to put on this list. To give you an idea how hard this is, we have over 800 DVDs here in the Muddled Household, as well as a growing digital collection!


Again, only 5? I could sum it up in 1 and just say The World, but I guess that's a bit of a cop out!

  1. AUSTRALIA  I know. I live here. But its a BIG country and there is still so much I want to see. The Kimberleys, Uluru, Kangaroo Island, The Great Barrier Reef, The Daintree.......
  2. IRELAND  It's my heritage. It's why I have such fair skin, freckles and a tint of red hair. It's why when I dance I don't know what to do with my arms so they end up flailing wildly. And it looks so darn PRETTY!!
  3. NEW ZEALAND  Again, it looks PRETTY! I love natural untouched places, and this looks amazing! Also, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was filmed there!
  4. AFRICA  Vast open land, wild animals in their native land, what's not to love?
  5. UNITED STATES  Technically, I have already been there, but I LOVE it and desperately want to go back one day!

Tagging time! I would love it if you could visit their blog, or their Facebook page and show some love :)

  1. Road to Recovery  One of my beautiful chosen sisters has recently started blogging about a very personal journey, her struggle with Chronic Pain and her faith in God. Her facebook page is HERE
  2. The Organised Housewife  This blog/webpage/facebook is a wonderful place where Pinterest Ideas come to life! So many great, pretty and practical ideas to organise your home and your life! Her facebook page is HERE
  3. Big Family Little Income  Never fails to make me laugh! And feel like a normal person! Their facebook page HERE
  4. The Home She Made  The first blogger who encouraged me to build a facebook page and maybe, just maybe, a following. Love her blog!! Her facebook page is HERE
  5. This is our Journey  Shameless plug for Muddled Hubby's own blog! Yep, he writes too! Not very often, but when he does....yeah, it really does mean something! He doesn't have a blogging facebook page, but he does have a photography page, HERE.
So thats it. It was fun! Hard too, but hopefully you stuck with it and got down to this point! So go forth and explore! There are so so many more blogs out there, so so many great writers, who write with humour, love, who are insightful, inspiring! I suggest exploring them all TODAY!! (then come back and tell me you haven't forgotten me!)