Where’s the restart button?

Real Parenting Moments - Where's the restart button - Review Fisher-Price Clean'n'Go Booster chair

Sponsored by Fisher-Price
Real Parenting Moments - Where's the restart button - Review Fisher-Price Clean'n'Go Booster chair

You know those moments where you just want to press restart on the whole thing? I had one of those recently. I was throwing together our family meal, home on my own as I often am at dinner time. I was grilling green burgers for me and hubby, and chicken for fuss-pot Pebble, chopping up finger foods, steaming some veg and tossing a salad (in hindsight, yes I do see how ridiculously complicated I made this moment!). Rocky was tugging at my legs and Pebble was whining, “I’m HUNGRY!!!” every 0.27 seconds. When Pebble asks if we could eat outside I think, “Great idea! Let’s keep the mess outside!”

I drag Rocky’s high chair outside, quickly dust off a very neglected chair at the outdoor table setting and plop Pebble into it, then dash back inside to finish preparing dinner. Luckily our kitchen looks right out onto the back verandah, and with the window and door open I can see and hear the kids easily.

Then I hear Pebble scream, “SPIDER!!!”. She has an itsy bitsy spider on her chair. I pop outside, remove both the child and the spider from the chair and then think to check the chair thoroughly for any more spiders. That’s when I see the massive SPIDER NEST under the chair. EEEEEEEK!

I give up on the table but stubbornly persist with the al fresco dining idea. With dinner cooking (burning?) and two hungry kids attached to me I pull out the picnic rug and we set ourselves up under the lemon tree. I dash in and out of the house grabbing water, plates, cutlery, wipes, food, sauce, etc. Rocky towers over us in his high chair – finger foods and a crawling baby aren’t really picnic-rug-friendly. I get my first mouthful of food halfway to mouth when Pebble announces, “I don’t like this, I’m not going to eat it” and Rocky throws a piece of broccoli into my hair then sweeps the rest of his food onto the grass.

And. I. want. to. SCREAM!

But I don’t. Only because the neighbours might hear.

If I had stopped being so frantic for half a second I might have done a few things differently. But maybe not. I’m sure I’ll do something just as silly again and find myself at scream o’clock. Again. I know one thing though – next time we eat outside I won’t have to drag Rocky’s high chair with us. Because those lovely friends of mine at Fisher-Price have sent me the niftiest piece of baby gear, the Clean’n’Go Booster chair.

Real Parenting Moments - Where's the restart button - Review Fisher-Price Clean'n'Go Booster chair

Since I received this chair I’ve been taking it with me wherever I go, especially when I know there might not be a high chair I can use. It’s come in so handy – at a children’s birthday party, at dinner at a friend’s house – and I was so frustrated when I forgot to bring it to mother’s group this week.

It love that it safely keeps my very mobile little guy secure while I feed him, and it makes it much easier for the food to get into his mouth and not just the floor. So far I’ve used it on outdoor chairs, indoor chairs and even clipped him in it right there on the picnic rug. The tray is easy to clip on and off, and is dishwasher safe. It also has a wipes holder built right into the back rest – how handy is that?!

Real Parenting Moments - Where's the restart button - Review Fisher-Price Clean'n'Go Booster chair

Giveaway

Thanks to Fisher-Price I’m giving away one Clean’n’Go Booster Chair to one lucky Australian Octavia and Vicky reader. To enter simply leave a comment answering this question:

What is one of your most memorable dinner time moments with your kids?

Pipe Cleaner Critters

Pipe Cleaner Critters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Pipe Cleaner Critters {via Octavia and Vicky}

I have been very lucky to have some wonderful teachers in my life, both as a child as an adult. This little craft always reminds me of one of my favourite years in primary school. Year 3, in the class known as “3BC”. I was turning eight, it was 1986 and life was good. Miss Cosh and Mr Bentley were a big part of that. While pipe cleaner critters are probably not the best representation of their teaching awesomeness, they are a little reminder for me of how happy I was that year. Here’s how we made them.

Pipe Cleaner Critters

Pipe Cleaner Critters {via Octavia and Vicky}

You will need:

Pipe Cleaner Critters {via Octavia and Vicky}

  • a pencil
  • two pipe cleaners in different colours
  • two googly eyes
  • a glue stick

Photo tutorial:

Pipe Cleaner Critters {via Octavia and Vicky} Pipe Cleaner Critters {via Octavia and Vicky} Pipe Cleaner Critters {via Octavia and Vicky} Pipe Cleaner Critters {via Octavia and Vicky} Pipe Cleaner Critters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Pipe Cleaner Critters {via Octavia and Vicky}

You’re all done! Now enjoy playing with your critter, or use it as a pencil topper.

Pipe Cleaner Critters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Want more fun ideas for kids? Just download your copy of the Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook. Watch the 30 second video and buy your copy now or find out more.


Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities

Food on the table

Cloud Cushion available from Tabitha and Hugo
Cloud Cushion available from Tabitha and Hugo {click to buy}

I have been finding gratitude hard to come by lately. Negativity is dragging me down and where once I was easily able to find the silver lining of every cloud, right now the clouds just seem to gather more threateningly, getting darker and heavier. Small difficulties spiral into mountainous obstacles.

Like dinner. Dinner. Every. Night.

What will I cook?

Have I got what I need?

Will the kiddo eat it?

Will the baby eat it?

Will it be healthy?

This week a simple, daily task became completely overwhelming and suddenly I saw before me years and years and years of the same drudgery night after night. And it completely freaked me out. Which (of course!) started me thinking that if I can’t even manage getting dinner on the table, if I can’t feed my family without crisis and dragging my feet and moaning about it, then maybe I’m not meant to be a mother at all.

You see how it goes? From ‘What’s for dinner’ to ‘I should never have become a mother’. Quite a leap, huh?

Tell me you’ve had moments like this too. Please.

So. The silver lining. I did find it eventually. I got dinner sorted. On the second try I served up a lamb roast for my family, and they all gobbled it up. Then I turned the failed first attempt into Shepherd’s Pie and more gobbling followed. As we sat and ate from plates filled with delicious, fresh, home-cooked food, gratitude suddenly slapped me in the face. Hard.

I’m grateful for food on my table. For my kid’s full bellies. For my overflowing fridge and pantry. Because some people, LOTS of people, have nothing to eat. And that’s a lot to be grateful for.

In other news, I’m also grateful for all of you who’ve been playing along with 52 Weeks of Grateful while I’ve been hosting it. I’m going to continue sharing my gratitude here on the blog and using the #52weeksofgrateful, but I’m going to retire the linky. I’m overwhelmed with … everything… lately and managing a linky, even a teeny weeny one like this one, is a bit too much for me. I know that you’ll understand.

I do hope that you’ll continue to share your gratitude by posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #52weeksofgrateful or by commenting on my blog posts.

Are you feeling overwhelmed right now? Or are the silver linings shining bright and clear for you?

Pork and Potato Pastries

This post is sponsored by Woolworths

Pork and potato pastries - perfect party food

I love a good sausage roll. In fact, there is only one bakery in South Australia that I will buy a sausage roll from, because their sausage rolls are so good that none other compares. But that bakery is over an hours drive from me, so I don’t get to enjoy it’s tasty, meaty goodness very often. This recipe for pork and potato pastries is in no way meant to match the famous bakery sausage roll, but they help keep cravings at bay until I can get to Port Elliot again.

The pork and potato filled sausage rolls are moist and light, perfect for little fingers and mouths to enjoy. They are super easy to put together and you can modify the recipe to your own taste very easily. The potato makes them a lighter choice for the hips too, much less fat than the regular kind. Your friends will thank you if you bring these along to any party.

Pork and Potato Pastries

Ingredients

  • 500g pork mince
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 sheets of frozen puff pastry, defrosted

Method

  1. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except the puff pastry.
  2. Cut each sheet of pastry in half.
  3. Shape a large fistful of the mince mixture into a long sausage and line if up aong one edge of a piece pastry.
  4. Roll the pastry into a log, overlapping the two edges slightly.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut the long sausage roll into mini sausage rolls (or keep em big if you prefer!)
  6. Repeat until you’ve used all the mixture and pastry.

I kind of made this recipe up as I went along, and it took me a couple of goes to get the amount of mixture right per roll. It takes a little practice but after one or two rolls you will get the hang of how much to use.

I’d like to try adding some more veg to these, perhaps some grated carrot or grated zucchini, and maybe some grated cheese too. Or you could add a pop of flavour with pesto, curry paste or fresh herbs.

I’ve found it even easier than usual to whip up these little babies lately because I’ve been making the most of grocery shopping online with Woolworths. I’m a HUGE fan of online shopping, especially when I’ve got two little tackers in tow. With online shoppping I get the grocery shop done while I’m still in my PJs, I look up recipes on the Woolworths website or my favourite blogs while I’m shopping, and the kids are happy playing right alongside me while I do it. That means that all these yummy ingredients land on my door step at the click of a button.

Woolworths online shopping - win free groceries for a year!

One of my favourite features of Woolworths online shopping is the Lists. I can save my weekly shopping list to easily order from next time, or create a list with all the ingredients for a favourite recipe (like these sausage rolls) to add to my shopping trolley with one click. The Woolworths online shop also automatically keeps track of all my past orders, so I can browse those to click and add items to my trolley.
Another great tool is the last chance reminder as I go to the check out. So many times I’ve gotten to the check out when the friendly pop up asks “hey, you ordered this stuff last time, are you sure you don’t need it again?”. Thanks Woolworths! Such a life saver, I’m always forgetting to throw something into the trolley. I wish there was one of these at a real life checkout too!

Win – Free groceries for a year!

If you shop online at Woolworths before December 22 you will go into the draw to win free groceries for a year. That’s thousands of dollars worth of shopping and your family fed for the year. Yes please! You can shop by downloading the Woolworths app or registering for online shopping, whichever is easiest for you.

Have you tried grocery shopping online? Where’s your favourite bakery?

Sticky Paper Play for Babies and Preschoolers

Sticky paper play for babies and preschoolers {via Octavia and Vicky}Right now I’m all about finding activities that both my children can do together or at the same time. Multitasking! This sticky paper play is perfect.

What’s sticky paper? In Australia it’s called “contact” and it’s the stuff we use to cover our kids school books with, among other things. We can buy it at the supermarket pretty easily, especially at the beginning of the school year. This clear stuff is the easiest to find, either at stationary shops or the supermarket, and is pretty cheap too.

Looking for more baby play ideas?
Get your copy of Zero to Two: the book of play.

Zero to Two - The Book of Play

Sticky Paper Play for Babies and Preschoolers

You will need:

  • 1 roll of contact (sticky paper)
  • masking tape
  • craft supplies (we used foam shapes, cup cake wrappers and pop sticks because they were the most baby friendly options)

Sticky paper play for babies and preschoolers {via Octavia and Vicky}

For baby play:

  • Cut a large rectangle of sticky paper from the roll. Carefully remove the paper backing and use masking tape to stick it sticky-side-up to the floor.
  • Show baby the paper, encourage baby to touch the paper and crawl on it. Put light toys on the paper and encourage baby to pick the toys up.

Sticky paper play for babies and preschoolers {via Octavia and Vicky}

For preschooler play: 

  • Cut a large rectangle of sticky paper from the roll. Carefully remove the paper backing and fold back the top and bottom edge to stick the paper to your chosen surface. We used a window but you could use a wall or easel.
  • Stand back and watch the creativity flow! Preschoolers love creating on sticky easels like this. It’s also great for toddlers and school kids – we had another go a week or so later when my 8 year old nephew came over to visit. He loved it :)

Looking for more fun things to do with preschoolers and babies? Try these:

Zero to Two - The Book of Play

Shaving Foam Sensory Bag - Quick, easy, mess free fun for kids of all ages

Ball and Tube Play for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers