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#lovewins

My children are lucky to be growing up in this generation. Not only do they have endless amounts of opportunities and technological advances at their fingertips, they have been witness to a major shift in the mindsets of many, many people all over the world.

I’ve never questioned why some men love men, and some women love women. I guess I was lucky to have been raised by very open-minded parents. However, I still grew up in a society where it was not okay to be openly gay. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the shift in people, watching the acceptance of all people LGBT grow.

My “other” job is a Wedding Celebrant. I show my kids photos from all of the weddings I conduct, and they love looking at the different outfits, the different flower arrangements, the varying locations and venues. Every wedding is beautiful, unique and special. Not once have the kids questioned or mentioned the gender of the couples I am marrying, except one lesbian wedding, where Princess exclaimed how amazing it was that they both wore beautiful dresses.

Recently Princess had a friend over, and I overheard a conversation between them. I shamelessly eavesdropped while Princess explained to her friend, that “sometimes men marry men, and sometimes men marry ladies, and sometimes ladies marry ladies, and sometimes ladies marry men .. and sometimes ladies and men don’t get married at all”.

I blushed with pride.

Proud that my three kids are being raised in a society where having a man marry another man, is as normal, as a man marrying a woman, and so forth.

Proud that my three kids have had, in their lifetime, such a massive change in laws the world over, that recognises and acknowledges that a marriage is between two people who love each other, regardless of gender.

Today the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of Marriage Equality in all 50 States in America. This is exciting and groundbreaking, despite New Zealand having legalised same sex marriage two years ago. Because it’s another country. Another load of people who can marry because of love.

Australia, I hope you are watching closely!

Because, with changes like these, we are teaching our children more about equality, more about acceptance, and more about people.

At the end of the day, #lovewins

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When There Is Not Enough Mum To Go Around

My kids are sick. All three of them, with varying levels of cough/cold/runny nose/fever/general grouchiness.

I would love to sit here and say that I am the kind of mum who nurtures her kids when they are sick, drops everything to bow to their every whim. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I care about my kids. I feel sad when they are sick. There is nothing worse than the vulnerability that comes when kids are unwell. They just seem so small when they aren’t feeling well. My heart breaks for them, and I do everything I can to make them feel better.

Initially.

But then the next phase kicks in. The second, third day of a cold. When they are grouchy for lack of sleep, still feeling generally yukky, and just plain miserable. This phase, I do not like. This phase, I am not a very good mother at.

Today was a perfect example of this. Princess has had a cough for the past week. It’s generally ok, except it keeps her up at night. BoyChild is the worst hit by this nasty cold – fever, and no voice. I won’t lie, I giggled a little when he was talking to me this morning. So squeaky! And BabyGirl is coughing and her nose is runny like a tap. When she sneezes, take cover.

I also don’t feel 100%, my voice sounds like a boy going through puberty, and Mr T has ManFlu to boot. Awesome day in the T household.

One sick kid is oversensitive and grumpy. Three sick kids are oversensitive, grumpy and, well, just plain mean to each other. There was so much fighting and crying and bickering today, I hid from my kids. Literally. I lay on the floor on the other side of my bed and waited until they left the room before climbing back into the bed. I just … I didn’t feel like parenting at the exact moment. Don’t worry – Mr T was home, so they weren’t entirely unsupervised. Because I wouldn’t do that. No, siree, bob. I’m lying, btw.

The biggest issue today was the Mummy Hugs (or, Mummy Duddles, as BabyGirl calls them). Princess was a bit sensitive and wanted a cuddle. BoyChild was sad because something happened (not entirely sure what) and wanted a cuddle. BabyGirl saw the others wanting cuddles, and wanted a Duddle.

Exclusively.

I have two arms, two legs. One torso. I can’t physically cuddle three kids. Especially not without them touching each other. And so begins the squabbles. The scratching, the crying, the screaming. And I end up in the crossfire. There IS NOT ENOUGH MUMMY TO GO AROUND. They didn’t want Daddy, they didn’t want the iPad, the computer, the TV. They wanted MUMMY.

And so I did what any reasonable mother would do in this situation. I peeled them off me like a wetsuit, placed them delicately on the floor, ignored their howls of protest, and hid once more. They found me, of course. They always do. Sigh. I need a bigger house. And more limbs.

Thankfully tomorrow is Monday. Normal people dread Mondays. I look forward to them, because Mondays mean school. Preschool. Freedom.

I love my kids, I really do. But some days, even this mum has to hide occasionally. My only regret was not having chocolate stored down the side of the bed. Must work on that.

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12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take Five! BoyChild, Take Two

We last did this back in January, so I thought it might be fun to do it again.

Princess doesn’t find it as much “fun” as she used to, it was almost as though the weight of the questions overwhelms her. Poor kid. And BoyChild absolutely loved it – initially I thought he was just spouting random words and sentences but upon reading over it again, I realise he was answering the questions pretty well! Despite the fact he was also playing with Lego at the time and battling his dear little sister who was determined to steal it from him.

An so, here it is (once again, previous answers in brackets)

12 Questions About Life – by Princess, 5 years, 10 months

1. What is the meaning of life? That’s too hard

(Astronauts)

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? A teacher

(Doctor or Teacher)

3. What makes you most happy? When I laugh

(Mummy)

4. When do you feel most loved? When Mummy cuddles me

(With Daddy)

5. What are you afraid of? When my teacher dressed up like a ghost at Halloween and scared me. I screamed.

(The dark)

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? Another American Girl Doll.

(Another American Girl Doll. If you wish on a star it really does come true)

7. What is the funniest word? Tickle bum. No – shake your booooooteeeeee.

(Lila)

8. What is the easiest thing to do? Make loom band bracelets

(Put the DVD into the DVD player)

9. What is the hardest thing to do? Clip the ‘S’ clip onto the loom band bracelet at the end

(Paint my nails)

10. What makes you mad? BabyGirl hitting me

(Stomping)

11. What is the meaning of love? Going to school. Because I love my teacher.

(Stars. It truly is)

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? Buy a Lego Friends Shopping Mall

(Buy an Elsa doll).

12 Questions About Life – BoyChild, 4 years, 4 months

1. What is the meaning of life? What’s that mean?

(Elevators)

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? A cat

(Cool kid)

3. What makes you most happy? Counting

(People)

4. When do you feel most loved? With Dad. No, Mum.

(Stars)

5. What are you afraid of? Shaun the Sheep Movie

(No.)

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? Fish

(No thanks)

7. What is the funniest word? BING!

(Funny)

8. What is the easiest thing to do? Lego

(Open doors)

9. What is the hardest thing to do? Play Bingo

(Going backwards)

10. What makes you mad? Squares. BABYGIRL TOOK MY LEGO ARGH!

(Doing poos)

11. What is the meaning of love? SHE TOOK MY LEGO!

(Cool)

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? Get a Paw Patrol Garage

(Buy lemonade)

http://havekidstheysaid.com/category/12-questions-about-life/

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Today, I Got To Be Me

Here I am, at 10pm, sitting with a warm feeling in my heart. I have an overwhelming urge to acknowledge all of the wonderful people in my life. I want to thank each and every friend who has made an impact on my life. I want to hug and kiss my husband and kids. I feel like crying, I’m so overwhelmed.

No, I’m not drunk. Even Mr T asked me if I’d snuck a sneaky cider.

No. I’m just really, really happy.

Today, I got to be me.

I got a rare chance to be Mrs T. Not Princess’s Mum. Not BoyChild’s Mum. Not BabyGirl’s Mum. I got to be me.

And it was amazing.

This morning I got up after a rotten sleep (thanks to Princess thinking 4am was a good time to get up and listen to YouTube videos on full volume. Plot twist. It’s not.) and got dressed, and showered. Then my good friend came over and we went out together. Just her and I. No kids. We went to the mall and met up with two other friends and had a kid free coffee. One friend actually brought her son along, but that was 100% ok, because he wasn’t my kid. I even happily carried him around. Because I’m not his mum.

After our coffee we had a look in some shops. And then, still only mid morning, we went home.

After doing some housework at home and playing with the younger kids, I got dressed up to go to work. Due to the nature of my job, work doesn’t come along much in the Autumn/Winter seasons, so today was a rare change. I put on my nice dress, did my hair and makeup, kissed my kids and husband goodbye, and went out.

I had an hour to kill once I’d finished work, so I went shopping. By myself. I took my time. I walked slowly. Granted, I was buying a gift for a birthday party we are going to on Sunday, but still.

At 5pm, I was in the city, waiting for a good friend to finish work. We went to a bar together, to have a drink and catch up, as it has been months since we last met up. We drank (her – bourbon, me – lemonade), we talked, we laughed and we just enjoyed each others company.

Becoming aware of the time, I reluctantly excused myself, hugged my friend goodbye and made my way home. During the 45 minute drive home, I thought a lot about my life. And I sung loudly to songs from the 90s.

When I got home, I came inside to a warm house, fire crackling. The kids had been bathed and were ready for bed. They were playing and reading stories with their dad. I walked in and they yelled, “yay! Mum’s home!”.

Now, all three kids are long asleep and I can’t shake this funny feeling in my tummy.

The feeling that, despite my complaining and whining and “you think my kids are cute? would you like them?” – I am very, very lucky to be in the life that I am. I have an amazing husband and my kids are pretty darn neat too. I have wonderful friends who are worth more than their weight in gold.

Isn’t it funny? It took one day of beingĀ me for me to realise how much I love beingĀ Mum as well. And it’s not a bad gig, all things considered.

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I’m a Sometimes Mum

mUM

I’m a Sometimes Mum.

Sometimes I’m a Happy Mum. I play with my kids, I laugh when they fart, I tickle them and giggle when they giggle.

Sometimes I’m a Fed Up Mum. I try not to be, but some days it just happens. I try not to be a Snappy Mum, or a Yelling Mum, but when I’ve been a No-one-listens-to-Mum Mum for a while, Snappy Mum tends to appear.

Sometimes I’m an Attentive Mum. I bake with the kids, we play Lego on the floor. We talk about their days. We sit together and cuddle. Sometimes I’m a Here’s-the-iPad Mum. Because sometimes I need to sit and not be spoken to for a minute or three.

Sometimes I’m a Good Mum. A Magazine Mum – the type you read about, see on TV. The type of Mum we all think we should be. I adore my kids, I tolerate their quirks. I keep a pleasant smile on my face as they fight and yell, squabble and cry. I deal with it with calm reassurance and a nice hug.

Sometimes I’m a Bad Mum. The kind of Mum we don’t aspire to be. I leave my kids in the car when I pop into the dairy. Because taking three kids out in the rain outweighs the risk of the car being stolen with all three kids inside. Sometimes I take my time in the dairy in the slim hope that the car will be stolen with all three kids inside. And then I’m Relief Mum and Feeling Guilty Mum all at once when I emerge from the shop to see the car still there with all three kids inside. Because I don’t actually want my kids stolen.

Sometimes I’m a Silly Mum. Running around the house like a crazy woman with the kids. Sometimes I’m a Housework Mum. A come-near-my-washing-piles-and-I-will-send-you-to-boarding-school Mum. Sometimes I’m a Toast-for-dinner Mum. Sometimes I’m an Eat-your-veges Mum.

Sometimes I’m an Honest Mum. Sometimes I’m a Wouldn’t-pass-a-polygraph Mum.

Sometimes I’m a Hands On Mum. Sometimes I’m a I’m-going-to-the-toilet-and-I-swear-to-god-if-anyone-follows-me-I-will-flush-you-down-the-loo Mum. Sometimes I kiss my kids so much they push me away. Sometimes I want them to not touch me.

People tell me they think I’m a great Mum. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.

But, I guess I’m a Trying Mum. A Doing-my-best Mum. I’m never going to be a Perfect Mum. But sometimes that’s ok. I’ll always be my kids’ Mum. And hopefully I’m the best Mum they’ll have.

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Black Box

What is a Black Box?

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Ah, the big question. What is a Black Box? A company called Sample Co. started up this awesome company – they send out boxes of full size samples to registered ‘customers’, based on personal profiles. That is, you register (for free) and complete a profile. They get a series of product samples, and send boxes out to a limited number of people whose profiles suit. Most boxes are sent out in lots of 5000, though this most recent lot was 30,000 people!

As I mentioned, it is free to register (though there is a waitlist now) although you do have the option of paying a small amount for “silver” membership, guaranteeing you at least one box per year, as well as other benefits.

You can find out more information at www.sampleco.co.nz.

Posting pictures to the Black Box facebook page, to their instagram, and entering competitions that they run, all give you more chance of receiving subsequent boxes, as does purchasing products you see in Black Boxes.

Product sampling at it’s best.

When the box arrives, the kids go mental. Literally, they ripped into the box. It was actually sent to the wrong address this time (the fault entirely of the courier!) so we had to walk and collect it. The walk alone clearly starved the kids beyond comprehension *eye roll*

I should mention here, I normally prefer to open the box when I am home alone. It’s more magical that way! Plus I can instantly hide the things that I want for me, that are mine-all-mine. None of this sharing business!

Product Review

And so, here is my review of this product.

In my Black Box, I received the following items.

Tasti Oaty Bake Bars – Almond, Lemon and Poppyseed

These were a nice change from normal muesli bars. Very oaty, as the name suggests. And lovely flavour. I ate far too many in the packet, that’s for sure. So, I’ll call it a winner. Would I buy it again? I think so.

Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion

I actually have some of this left over from a previous Black Box and the reason I haven’t finished the bottle is because I only use it on special occasions! I feel a bit fancy when I use it, to be honest. It’s a lovely way to soften my skin after body wash. However, that being said, this product claims to save time by allowing you to moisturise in the shower so you don’t have to when you get out. I still do it when I get out of the shower, that habit is too hard to break! Will I buy it again? I’m not sure! I’ll see how I go when I use up both bottles :)

Chop-Chop Chicken – Tandoori flavour

We are massive fans of this product in this house! I’m not a big tuna eater, so I make a lot of tuna-based recipes using these cans of chicken instead. Mr T will often take a can to work with him, using it to make a sandwich for his lunch. And a great, easy meal for us is a pasta bake, with a tin of this stirred through cooked pasta, then sprinkled with cheese and baked for 10-15 minutes. Yum. Will absolutely be buying this many, many times again.

Up & Go Light – Vanilla flavour, Choc Ice Flavour

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My kids are always asking me for Up & Go so the appeal of this particular product was the low sugar claim. It was nice enough, I guess. Pretty standard for what it is. I am not interested in buying these as a breakfast substitute (mostly because I don’t eat or drink breakfast) but I have a voucher for it now, so may well buy it again, if only to try it further.

Shapes Xtreme – BBQ Ribs Blast

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These were great! The certainly lived up to their claim that they are crisp, crunchy and flavourful! After the kids literally ripped the box open and tore into it, it lasted about ten minutes. Great flavour, I think I’d like to try the other flavours.

DB Export Citrus Beers

I’m not a beer drinker, haven’t been able to stomach it since a very *ahem* adventurous night when I was 18. So, for this I gave the task to husband. The verdict? “They are alright”. Ok! That, folks, is why I do the reviewing and not him! That being said, I did have a sip of both flavours (the lemon and the grapefruit), thinking that maybe the citrus would overpower the (bleurgh) taste of beer. It did not.

Charlies Honest Fizz – Raspberry

I freakin LOVED this. So tasty, not overly sweet like you would expect a raspberry drink to be. Oh, even writing this is making me want some. Might have to pop into the supermarket tomorrow, methinks.

I should confess – I told the kids we wouldn’t be having this drink. I went and put it in the fridge, and then hid in the fridge and gulped it back. Worth it? You betcha.

Charlies Straight Up Cola

This was pretty good, albiet very different to other cola drinks. This one tasted quite a lot like a cola lolly, or a cola flavoured ice block or something. Did I like it? Not sure. The lemon was a nice touch, and it certainly paired well with the Oaty Bake bars. Would I buy it again? Not sure, to be honest. Jury’s out on this one.

Watties Tomato Paste

This is a pretty standard product, made appealing because it comes in a pouch containing exactly 2 tablespoons of paste. This is great because so often we buy large quantities of something, only to use a smidgen and have the rest sit n the fridge until it grows a colony of it’s own. I was able to use the entire tube of tomato paste and then throw the packaging away with no waste.

I chose to use the paste in a different way so I made this Coca-Cola Beef. Very, very delicious!

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And so, there you have it. One Black Box, done and dusted. I received my online survey and completed that today – it’s really important that you do this, as it effects your eligibility for future boxes!

Can’t wait till I get my next email, saying another Black Box is on the way :)

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Coca Cola Beef

I found a really neat recipe on the website of The Stay At Home Mum for slow cooker Coca-cola beef.

I was like, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yes. I am a big fan of Coca Cola Chocolate Cake, and also using coke to make chicken as well. So I was very keen to give this a whirl.

It was so easy and really tasty.

Ingredients

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Gravy beef

1 can of Coke

French Onion soup sachet

2 tablespoons Tomato Paste

Method

Place the soup sachet into the slow cooker and add the diced beef. Stir until the soup mixture coats the beef. Add the coke and cook on high for 6 hours. At the 6 hour mark, stir in the tomato paste. The recipe now calls for another 2 hours on high, but I found that my meat was starting to dry out by this stage, so I would recommended either on low, or cook for less time. If you are using a bigger slow cooker, you may want to add more liquid too.

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I wish I’d had potatoes because this would have been amazing served on creamy mashed potatoes. We served it on rice and it was really, really good. Princess and Babygirl wolfed it back, as did Mr T.

Win.