Saturday, June 23, 2012

Holiday Activities - on the Gold Coast

The great thing about living on the Gold Coast is not only the great range of things we have to do locally, but the easy access we have to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.  There's so many things I "keep meaning" to do with the kids, that I decided to put together a list...cause you know how some days, no matter how hard you try, you just can't think of anything to do?

Hoping you find my little list of school holiday activities helpful too!

Things we plan to do these holidays...
1. Queensland Museum at Southbank - I wanted to take the kids here over Christmas but it was closed for refurbishments. So this is first on the list for these holidays.  I love Southbank too, nice to have a walk with the kids through the grounds - last time we were there we even went on the Brisbane Eye!
Sitting up top on the Brisbane Eye

2. Ride on a Ferry - might sound silly, but riding a boat is something my kids don't get to do, and they were so excited to do it last time we went to Brisbane. Makes for nice and cheap entertainment :)

3. Railway Museum - we took the kids there when Alex was only 3 and Jasper was just a bub, and the Thomas exhibition was on. They loved it, and with my boys being train fanatics, we thought it worth another visit.  Hoping they won't be too disappointed Thomas isn't there?

4 Scooter & Bike riding - being 3 and 6 they both have a handle on wheeled sports now, Alex got his first "big boy" bike for his birthday last week (with trainers) and Jasper is a gun on the scooter. So there'll be a few trips to the Broadwater (lovely long flat pathways for riding).
Jasper on his scooter
5.  See the "Mummies" - I'm so looking forward to seeing this exhibition! I remember seeing the King Tut exhibition as a child in Melbourne (many moons ago); it sparked a life-long love of ancient history.  As Alex tells me he'll be an archeologist when he grows up, he's keen too! 
Credit for this image
6. Make the most of our VIP Passes before they expire.   Twice to Seaworld this week, and we're well on the way to that goal.  Check out this awesome shot I got on my dodgy/somewhat busted iphone...
7. Take a train ride - boys will be boys, and mine love trains. We've been promising them for ages that we'd take them for a ride on the train to Brisbane, so we'll do that when we go to Southbank.  They're very much looking forward to their train ride :)

8.  Get creative! Both my boys have recently taken a liking to being creative & crafty, which suits the crafter in me!  We've done some "$2 shop shopping", stocking up on crafting supplies on the cheap so we can get stuck into it.  I've got an old tablecloth I plan to lay on the grass in the yard tomorrow, set everything up, and just let them go nuts! Much better outdoors than in I think...
Playdoh monsters we made last week - creative doesn't HAVE to be messy
And that is about the end of my school holiday activities list for now! I think that will be more than enough to tick off, especially considering my kids are home-bodies at heart (when I asked what they'd like to do tomorrow I got told "trampoline" and "sandpit"

Night all, sweet dreams to your own little school holidaying munchskins x

Cass xo

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Planting a bromeliad garden...

we built out house two years ago and found out upon moving in that the $20k landscaping package we "added-on"...didn't actually include plants - doh!

what we have instead is a backyard 19m across, with two layers of retaining walls, so a total of almost 40m wide garden beds that need planting out. it's pretty barren at the moment...(excuse the lattice, it was part of our Side Show Alley for Alex's circus party last weekend).
2 layers of retaining wall, needing planting out
after a few failed attempts at planting it out (we tend to just get the whole area weed-free before the rain starts again, and the weeds pop back), we now decided to stage the process. we've decided to work on little sections at a time, filling it with low maintenance tropical plants.  the first area is my "bromeliad station" I started on today.  as these plants can be expensive, and we have quite a large area to fill, a little call to mum & dad was in order (they have quite a few bromeliads).  next day dad arrived with a carton of "pups" from their plants, that I've been growing in pots for the last couple of months.
Bromeliad pups growing, with some rhoeo (I also got from my parents garden)

today was the day to start putting these guys in the ground. the weather was awesome, the kids were happily playing on the trampoline - perfect! so in they went...
I've planted a row of red/green ones at the front, with some pink/green ones behind. once they grow up and bulk out they should look good. behind I'm popping in some xanadu and cordyline, with a majestic palm in the back corner.  i think next time though I need a longer pair of garden gloves, cause this is what my arms look like this afternoon....
OUCH!!! (when bromeliads attack, lol)
Wishing you well with your gardening efforts this weekend!

Cass xo

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When the scales go up...

Are you like me and seem to have added some weight post having kiddies that just doesn't seem to want to shift?  After being around 50kgs all my life, I started this year at almost 65kgs - which is heavier than I was pregnant (not a good confession!).

That's why when I saw the Michelle Bridges 12 week body transformation was about to launch Round 2 for 2012 I decided, why not give it a go?  At only $199 it's not a big investment, plus I could pay it off too. So I signed up!

For me it's nice and easy - each week the program is posted for me, including a complete meal plan (with shopping list I just print off), and an exercise plan. I have to admit to not following the exercise plan as yet, instead doing some light walking and a little time on the cross trainer here at home. But it seems to be enough.  I dropped quite quickly in the first two weeks, almost 4kgs.

Problem is, this week my weight went up....eeeck!

After Alex's birthday and party on the weekend, then I got the flu on Sunday night, well I honestly lost the vibe.  Not that I started binging or anything, but a bit of soft-drink and a curry for dinner saw me up 700gms for today's "Weigh In Wednesday".

So it's with new motivation I hoped back on the horse today, flu and all!  If you have some weight to shift I can really recommend the program so far though; it's nice and easy, the meals have been yummy and easy to make...couldn't ask for more really! (check out the meal below, last nights dinner - super yum!!!).

Low cal Thai Chicken Laksa with noodles
So Mish, when you read my blog this week know that I'm back, with a vengeance! I plan to make the the ONLY week the scales go up :)  Come check out my facebook page for more pics of the delicious meals we get to eat too.

If anyone is keen to join in the journey, let me know, I'll email you a signup link. It's well worth it!  Check out my progress at the bottom of the blog homepage, with the "progress tracker".  Can't hide it anymore ;)


Cass xo

Monday, June 18, 2012

Can speech therapy help my toddler learn to eat?

My 3 year old talks like a champion! He knows all his letters, strings together very complex sentences, can count to almost 50 and knows his 2 times tables.  So why, you may ask, are we going to speech therapy?

Because he doesn't eat :(

Now I know from experience that many mums complain their child "doesn't eat". But when I say Jasper doesn't eat, I actually mean it.  He turned 3 back in March and this is the meager list of foods he will eat:
- strawberries
- dry crackers (premiums, watercrackers)
- sliced cheese (only Mainland brand for some reason)
- rice cakes

And that is it! He's never eaten a piece of meat, weaned himself off milk/formula/other dairy at about 10mths and chokes on anything else he tries to chew or swallow (even lollies).  I've tried all manner of "interesting" things to get him eating (it's a heck of a list!). For instance, here's one of his lunch boxes...
Jasper's lunch box for speech therapy -
I try to mix in the things he will eat with some "testing" foods

Funnily enough though, as a mum, I always knew something wasn't right. As a baby he couldn't breastfeed (I was told it was a yield issue, me not producing enough, although I could express 250mls a go).  On the bottle he'd take 1ml per minute, so 45mins to feed 45mls to him....I spent most of my day feeding him as you can imagine.

At 5mths our pediatrician suggested starting solids stating "kids like him often turn around on solids". So solids began.  It took 3 months before he could swallow a spoonful of pureed food without choking, and even then half of it would still be stuck to the roof of his mouth.

So that is where we are today....for some reason, that no specialist person can detail for me, Jasper can't, or doesn't want to, eat.  Every specialist we've ever seen has a theory:
1. our allergist believes it allergy related
2. our nutritionist says it's oral hypersensitivity
3. the head nurse at the hospital says it's purely behavioral
4. the dentist said it's teeth misaligned
5. our GP said we're abusing him through starvation (thus, we've changed doctors)
6. our pediatrician said I was a hypochondriac

But at least the speech therapist is being more helpful and positive. Mary says it's a strange & complex case, and she's pulling together various modalities to get to the bottom of it.  Plus she doesn't think we're plain crazy!

So I'll keep you in the loop as we progress and here's hoping we finally get some answers - and some food into my little man :(

Cass x

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fell of the wagon..wonder if I broke something?

As you know I joined the Michelle Bridges 12wbt program all of 2 weeks ago. You also know that this weekend was my eldest son's 6th birthday. You also know I LOVE to bake, decorate cakes & be totally extravagant with kids parties. Sooooo, what does this mean?  Well, it means Mish will be mad at me!!!

Now I'm not unrealistic, I didn't expect to get through the weekend sticking to the program & had decided it was OK to be a little lax, have a little fun, within reason.  But we had a party full of sherbet cones, cupcakes, whoopie pies & fairy floss.  What's a girl to do???

Let's start with the fun bit....check out these pics of some of the circus themed treats from the party...

Circus Clown cake I made for the party
Vanilla cupcakes with frosting in gorgeous Robert Gordon cases
Ice cream cone style cake pops in mini cones
Now, I'm going to stop there, as I'm quite sure Mish will be having a fit right about now! (I did try to balance the party food with some ham/cheese pinwheels & cute fruit skewers...just so you know ;).

And as for the wagon and falling of....well, I couldn't just MAKE all of these treats & just HOPE they tasted good for our guests...could I???  Ok, I could have, but I didn't, now I'm feeling guilty.  But after thinking about it today I've decided two things:

1. tomorrow is a new day - time to get back on the wagon in ernest!
2. the kids all had a GREAT time at the party, so I figure that was worth it

So when you see a woman pounding the pavement tomorrow like her life depends on it....that's me x

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Birthday Olympics

This time, 6 years ago, I was VERY pregnant and eagerly awaiting our first addition! Actually, if I'm being honest, I was terrified of going into labour...that's why I did my first ante-natal class when I was only 4 months!  And at that class I met someone who has become one of my closest friends, Tash.

We got chatting at the class and discovered our bubs were due only days apart, which lead to catch-ups and coffee mornings whist waiting for the bubs to arrive.  It was nice to have a friend in exactly the same situation as me.  Funnily enough, we didn't realize how similar we would become...

June 17th 2006, we BOTH had our bubs! 

It started June 16th......I sent Tash a text saying "I'm in labour!!!" and got a response of "yay for you, nothing happening here :( ".  A few hours later I got another text saying "Me too!".  And a few hours after that, whilst I was STILL going, I got another text which read "All done!".  It was a few hours after that message (about 12hrs to be exact...) that I was finally able to send Tash my very own "All Done!!!" message.  So both our baby bundles now celebrate their birthday on the same day, June 17th.
Here I am with Alex the day he was born - gee, I really look like I've had 24hrs of labour too!

And so the Birthday Olympics where born.  We coined the phrase to sum up the crazy, obsessive, enjoyably creative process we both undertake in an effort to throw great parties for our kids.  It's fun having someone to do this process with every year who loves it as much as me!
Alex's first birthday cake - luckily my skills have improved since then

 This year Tash threw a fantastic Disco inspired party for her daughter, which was held last weekend.  I am organising my son's Circus Carnival party to be held this Saturday.  I'm still in the throws of fondant clowns, side show alley games & cake baking! I'll be posting throughout the week showing you all the party prep, and fun things like cake pop making and how to make fondant clowns.  Here's the inspiration for this years party...
I've designed a two tiered version of this cake under special direction to "add more clowns mummy".  So let's see how we go....

Till next time, have a great day x

Drinks anyone???

Ah, the funny things the kidlets get up to in the midnight hours! I swear my two are vampires, all wrapped up in cuteness and blue-eyes.  And let me tell you something, if you want a baby who's a GOOD sleeper...don't name them after a vampire in Twilight ;)  (yep, my youngest is Jasper...namesake taken from movie in question).

But back to the drinks...

It's 9.30pm when I hear little feet stalking up the hallway just now.  I wander out of my study to find Mr 6 standing in the hallway, bleary eyed and yawning.  I ask, "what's up honey", to which he replies, "well, I just wanna know, are you making drinks?".

As my mind drifts to thoughts of Bailey's and a wee midnight-cap, Mr 6 details how he'd like a drink of water "as soon as you can mummy", in his favourite blue drink bottle, "you know, the one with the press button?".  He then turn tails and wanders back to his room & into bed!

Photo Credit
The joys of motherhood and the 24-7 a-la-carte kitchen my friends!

Wishing you all a good night x