Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Tutorial: How to sew kindy sheets WFMW

I've been sewing kindy sheets for about 12 years and making a little bit of money along the way*.

The kindy I sew for needs sheets which have a finished size of 65cm by 125cm, with a drawstring bag which has a finished size of 45cm by 45cm. The sizes don't need to be exact, but should be fairly close. If in doubt with the bag it can be a bit bigger.

Finished sheet sets

These sheets are good for two reasons. Firstly, the bottom sheet with the open elastic corners is much easier for young children to put on and take off by themselves than regular fitted sheets (such as cot sheets). If you wanted to encourage your young child to make his or her own bed at home, bottom sheets like these would be easier to put on and take off than regular sheets while your child is still learning. Secondly, the bag is big enough that the children can put the sheets in themselves.

There are two main ways to make the sheets. Firstly you can make the top sheet and the bottom sheet as one piece each, either from two separate pieces of coordinating fabric or all from the same fabric. The second way is to add a strip of coordinating fabric to one or both sheets. If you do this it is usually a more efficient use of fabric and can make for a really cute set, but does take more sewing.

I've used both an overlocker (serger) and a sewing machine in this tutorial. You can just use a sewing machine if you don't have an overlocker - indeed, that's what I did for a long time before I had an overlocker.

Making the sheets
1. Cut out the two sheets. In this case I have cut 127cm x 67cm as I will be using an overlocker to do a rolled hem on the edges. If you want to use a sewing machine to hem the edges (with a fold over hem) then you will need a bigger seam allowance depending on how deep you want to make your hem. For sheets with a strip see step two.

2. If you are adding a strip of fabric to one or both sheets, then your total length needs to be 125cm + seam allowance for the strip joining + hem allowance for top and bottom.

Two sheets cut and pinned to add a strip to the top

3. Sew the strip on if you are adding one, then hem all four sides of the sheet. Repeat for the other sheet. Tie off threads and trim. Iron sheet if you feel so inclined.
Sewing the strip for the top of the sheet

4. On one sheet only (which ever one you want to be the bottom sheet) stitch a 20 - 25cm piece of elastic across each corner. Make sure stitching is secure.

Stitching the elastic to the bottom sheet corner

Sewn elastic on the corner of the bottom sheet (wrong side)

Making the bag
The bag can be made from smaller pieces of fabric sewn together or from a larger piece.

1. If you are stitching smaller pieces together - pin, sew and iron them to get two 50-ish cm squares or one piece which is 100cm by 50cm (ish). It's ok if the squares are a bit bigger. Pin right sides together.

Front (and back) of pinned bag - wrong side out

2. Sew three sides (or two sides plus the fold) leaving the top open.

3. Zig zag or overlock the raw edges on the opening. If you have the selvages on the opening (like I do in the photo) then you can skip this step.

4. Fold the top down 2 - 3 cm, iron and pin. Stitch the drawstring closed leaving a 2 cm gap.

Pinning for the drawstring pocket
Stitching the drawstring pocket

5. Cut a piece of ribbon or cord which is 5 - 10 cm longer than the drawstring pocket. Pin a safety pin through one end and feed it through the gap from step 4. Remove the pin and tie a secure knot in the ribbon or cord.

6. Tie off and trim all threads and turn bag right side out. Pop sheets inside and enjoy!

If you are making mutiple sets, make sure that each bag is different so that the children can recognise their own.

* Kindy sheet sets don't make much money when you factor in your time, however if you are looking for a way to finance your hobby, you make a small profit if you don't take into account your time. I actually enjoy the sewing so I'm happy to count it as recreation which works for me.

Since I never waste a scrap of fabric, I've also linked this to Waste-not Wednesday.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Monday, 27 February 2012

Family Fun Days

Do you ever go on a Family Fun Day, like a whole family date? It's something I'd love to start doing. A special day where we go somewhere or do something together. It doesn't have to be expensive or complicated - best if it's not, just a day or half a day to spend time with each other, do a fun activity and enjoy our little family. It doesn't even need to be a Family Fun Day in particular, it might just be a nice day with friends.

I've got a few ideas, but I'm not coming up with much. What Family Fun Days do you like to do? I'm guessing that what you want to do changes as your kiddies' ages, interests and capabilities change?

University lakes

Here's my starter list
- Go for a picnic at the botanical gardens or the University lakes (above.)
- Go to the beach before it gets too cold again. (I'm a Queenslander so I get cold in the frozen food aisle; I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to cold weather.)
- A special suprise that Chubs and I have planned for Daddy. I can't post here in case he sees it. I will update how it goes, I promise! I want to go somewhere local that Chubs and I went to together and she LOVED, but Dear Husband wasn't with us then, so it will be a suprise for him :)
- I have discount tickets to an attraction which Chubs is probably too young for, but the three of us will be able to go for $11 total plus petrol money, so I think it will still be a nice day. Again I'm keeping you in suspense as a suprise for Dear Husband.

My list seems way too short. Can you hit me with your ideas please? What is fun (and not expensive) for your family and/ or your friends? What do you think would be a good idea for a family of three with a nine month old?

Linked with Create with Joy

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Dear Zoo and Dear Santa

My mother, Nanny Tops, gave Chubs Dear Zoo. Fondly remembered from my childhood, no one reads this tear-the-flap book as well as Nanny Tops does. It's animated and engaging and keeps you in suspense!

Christmas saw the arrival of Dear Santa as well, this time Daddy and I bought it in Sydney. This one is a board book so the flaps are fairing better.

Using the well proven 'So they sent me a ...' format we bounce, scare, mess up and make noise though this delightful 2004 book with another furry suprise at the end. I thought that you weren't supposed to give pets as presents, but apparently the zoo and Santa didn't get that memo.

These books are just right.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Saturday Snippets: My Heart Beats


This beautiful blog called My Heart Beats is written by my IRL friend Kirst. It's an ambling journey through fashion, design, fitness, sewing projects, holidays and colour. I'm not a fashion blog type person, although I'm really rocking the ' I'm so tired because my baby makes diagonal bed angels at night and do I have a VBPL (visible breast pad line) in this t shirt' look. I know it's fashionable because it's The Hot Look at the park, as in that's the look that everyone has. That makes it fashionable, right? I digress.

The key point is that obviously I'm not a big fashion girl, but I could (and have) flit through this blog, get lost in it and just enjoy the beauty and read-ability of it. Definately work having a look at it.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Camera is back!

Camera shop FTW! The lovely man called Craig at the camera shop was able to recover some of my photos, and the memory card has been reformatted. I did lose some photos, but only some of them. I can start taking more photos now, too. Woot!

Please note: Craig the camera shop man didn't actually fix my inability to take good photos. I'm still working on that.

Hallows, swastikas and hope

The picture about was taken by a Guiding friend of mine who has a passion for collecting books where ever she goes. This is a 1923 book, and she showed me the photo as we were both interested in the right handed swastika, especially its use by the Guiding and Scouting movements.

In her autobiography, Window on my Heart, Lady Baden- Powell talks of being given a thanks badge by B-P when they met in 1912 on the SS Arcadian cruise ship.

He gave me a Scout 'Thanks Badge' in the form of a swastika with the Scout fleur-de-lys superimposed. The right- handed broken cross or swastika (so called from the Sanskrit word for 'well-being') was an ancient sign of good fortune that had appeared in many civilisiations as far back as the Bronze Age. Later, when the Nazis adopted the left-handed broken cross as their symbol and it became synonymous with evil and opression, the Scout Movement abandonded the use of the swastika as a Thanks Badge, but in 1912 it was still a symbol of good.'

I also saw many swastikas when I was travelling in India (with Girl Guides) in 2005. The right facing one which isn't rotated was often used in art, as Lady B-P described, as a Sanskrit symbol for wellness. Obviously Kipling's extensive links with India are very well know too - more so than his links to Scouting.

The parallel between the swastika and its use by the Nazis and JK Rowling's use of the Deathly Hallows symbol is obvious. Indeed, the links between the Potterverse and Nazis are many. I have recently finished reading and studying The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and it has affected me in a way which no other book ever has, and in the few months since I have read it it has never been far from my thoughts.

I have thought that the swastika and the Hallows both show us that there are good things which can be manipulated and twisted and associated with the worst, horrorific things. I am even struggling to communicate what I am trying to say here. The unthinkable awfulness of it all - to have been created out of something so happy and innocent - is just that, unthinkable.

However, the good still remains. The terrible acts do not erase the good which happened before. They change it forever, yes, but they can't erase the goodness completely. The swastika for many people now is a symbol of evil and everything which is wrong in the world, and as said above, the way it is used has been changed forever (both in general and by the Scouting Movement and Kipling). However, the good still remains, if only a speck. If only in Lady B-P's girlish memory of being courted, in a 1923 edition of a stories for children, or in a necklace worn by Xeno Lovegood to the wedding of his friends - a speck of goodness remains.

When there is darkness and sadness, look for the speck of good. Even the most horrible and evil happenings have a speck somewhere. It doesn't mean that it's not evil and horrible, but I need to know that a speck of hope and goodness can be found. I need to know that. Everything I am tells me that that tiny speck is there, and I hold on to that though with all my might.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The prize for...

... the thing I'm missing most this week is taking Cold and Flu tablets. I'm fighting a cold which Chubs brought home from the petri dish which is daycare. Since I'm breastfeeding, I can't take decongestants like pseudoephedrine. The concern isn't that they will go though my milk (because that's not generally an issue with decongestants,) but that they will reduce my milk supply. So sadly, I battle on. I think being able to take psuedoephedrine is what I miss most with pregnancy/ breastfeeding - even more than drinking alcohol without planning it, wearing dresses or anything else.

Incidentally, there are very few medications which are totally incompatible with breastfeeding. Many health professionals are quick to say that medications can't be taken while breastfeeding and the mother either needs to do without the meds she needs, or wean. However, on closer inspection, for most medications it is actually possible to meet the mother's needs without weaning. Depending on the medication, dose, age of baby and frequency of feeding then it may be very safe to continue to feed the baby while the mother takes the medication. For example, some medications can be taken soon after a feed and will have mostly passed through the mother's body before the next feed. Sometimes the amount passing into the milk and then being absorbed by the child is negligible. The effects of the baby receiving some medication also needs to be weighed against the risks of not breastfeeding. If the medication needs to be take for a short time only, then 'pump and dump' or even relactation can be considered.

Obviously, the details of every situation are different and you should seek actual professional advice, not the musings of someone who went to a few undergraduate pharmacy lectures and likes pontificating on her blog. I do urge you to see the advice of a pharmacist who specialises in drugs and lactation. It is an underrepresented field which is very important. Many doctors and pharmacists will give advice about breastfeeding without actually being aware of the specifics of the particular situation. If you have this dilemma, then I urge you to seek the advice that you, your child and your breastfeeding relationship deserve.

For me and my blocked nose, it's a no brainer. Putting up with a few snotty days vs early weaning - of course I can suck it up (or sniff it up, actually. Sorry for that visual.) However, if it was a chronic and/ or serious condition which I needed to treat, I would certainly seek more advice. Although, I'm almost looking forward to my first post-weaning cold when I can take some Cold and Flu tabs without a second thought.  I know, I'm strange...

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Happy Thinking Day

Happy Thinking Day to all my Guiding sisters all over the world! If you are not one of the ten million members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, then I would like to invite you to share in Thinking Day activities.

Thinking Day is the 22nd of February and is so named as it is when we think of our Guiding sisters across the world. Typically it involves activities to explore and discover what it is like for those in other countries. As well as awareness, there is a call to action. This year's theme is MDG7: Environmental Sustainability. There's a whole host of activities to do with reducing the use of fossil fuels, saving resources, sustainable energy sources and advocating for change. Click that link to download the activities in English, French or Spanish.

There is also a fundraising component where Guides all over the world donate to the Thinking Day Fund to help support the growth and development of girls and young women worldwide. When Lady Baden-Powell was asked how much girls should give, she said as much as they would have spent on an ice cream, so the WTD fund is also known affectionately as The Ice Cream Fund.

Empowering girls and young women to be agents of change works for me. I've also linked this to Jo's Waste-not Wednesday, too. As a Girl Guide leader, a teacher, a citizen and a mother, I view my responsibility to make the world a better place seriously. I don't want to waste my opportunities to help reach the MDGs. 2015 is fast approaching, and we can't waste any more time.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Tackle the to do list...

Tackle It Tuesday MemeToday has been a day tackling the all-too-long list of little jobs. Here's the list as it stands:

To do list (done)

Grocery shopping - done

Post marriage certificate to uni - done. I have tried to upload my marriage certificate (as proof of name change) but their website wouldn't let me. I was told to email it in, but when I first scanned it I had the settings too high and the file was huge. I scanned it again and emailed it; they then said that I needed to send a certified hard copy. (I did ask when they wanted an electronic copy didn't they need a hard copy, but they said electronic was fine...) I had one certified copy left (plus my original) which I posted in, but they say they never received it. I then had to arrange for more copies, get them certified, and then go to the post office. I wanted to send it Registered Post this time so it can't get 'lost'. We will now wait and see what happens. I know that in the whole scheme of things this is a minute problem, but it's frustrating when it takes so long to complete such a small job.

Clothes shopping for Chubs - Lots of shops have their summer clothes on sale now, so I bought a few clearance things for Chubs in size two and three for next year. At $2 an item, I'll be thankful next year.

Kitchen cleaning - it was a disaster. The less said about how disasterous, the better. Suffice it to stay that I spent a long time in there, and it is much better now.

Bulk cooking - I did up five lots of Bolognese for us - four are in the freezer and we ate one tonight. I also made up some baby Bolognese too. I also did some pureed pears and steamed carrots.

Laundry - two loads hung out, three bought in and folded (one was still drying from the night before) plus nappies washed, dried and put away. I still didn't get the non-nappy baskets put away - ugh.

Work stuff - I needed to do some work which I got done. There's always more to do, but it can wait until tomorrow.

Packing - I packed Chub's daycare bag and made her lunch (stewed plums and Weet-bix and baked beans + two bottles of EBM and some Cruskits.) I still need to finish making my lunch and packing my pump, bags etc.

Bathroom - cleaned the shower, still need to do toilet and basin tomorrow.

Little jobs - emptied bins, changed bin bags, washed icky bin juice out of bin, tidied up a million toys in the living room, cleaned out the esky from yesterday, cleaned out the leftovers/ mould experiements in the fridge.

Didn't do list:
Take camera to the camera shop - totally forgot, sorry visual learners :(

Laundry - one load still on the line, and I've still got some folding to put away. Again.

Bills - must do tonight before bed

Emails - I've got a few there that I must reply to

Have done list
I think it's important to write down what you have done, not just what you need to do. It reminds me on crazy days when I don't get anything done that I usually am getting things done, just now what I hoped to do.

Nappy changes - can't remember how many I did...

Feeds - I think Chubs had six feeds today, or maybe seven? I can't quite remember

Putting Chubs to sleep - two naps took about 10 minutes each to get her off, but tonight was a doozey. It took almost two hours to get her to sleep. She didn't cry much, it was mostly just playing and giggling and fussing on her part, and patting and shooshing and feeding on mine. When my husband came in to relieve me (we tag team a bit) he said 'time for sleep' and she turned, smiled, and displayed her new trick - blowing rasberries. It's so hard not to laugh when she's being so cute!

When I write the list, it looks bad that there are still so many things that I haven't done, but I did get through many of the little jobs. Having a day to tackle all the little jobs is important I think. It's not as rewarding as one big project but still needs to be done.

Linked to Tackle it Tuesday.

Camera issues

Hmmmm... my camera is playing up. More specifically, the memory card. This is the same card and camera that my brother gave me for Christmas in 2005, so perhaps it is time to move on.

The camera and two laptops are telling me that the card needs to be formatted, but since I've been using it for over six years it's obviously been formatted before. I'm worried if I reformat it then I'll lose the photos on there. Some are for the blog, and some are just cuter- that- cute photos of Chubs. I'll try taking it to the camera shop tomorrow and see what they can do.

I do have another camera that my mum bought for me when Chubs was born that is a video and a still camera, although I think I've mislayed the cord which is a bit embarrassing. I will have to see if I can find it with much haste.

So, in the meantime, there will be less (usually poor quality photos) on the blog. I'll try to find as many pictures as I can which I can use which are already on the computer. Fingers crossed for my camera please!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Today's challenge...

Ugh. Laundry.

At the moment I seem to be able to get the laundry washed and dried no problem. I get some of it folded, but then I don't get it away. So the house is full of piles of clean unfolded laundry, and baskets of folded laundry waiting to be put away. I HATE sorting though baskets of clean laundry looking for something to put on, but yet I find myself here more often than I would like to.

I think part of the issue is that the time I have to do the folding and the putting-away is when Chubs is asleep (either for the night or a nap) which therefore means I don't want to go into whichever bedroom she's in (hers or ours) to put clothes or linen away. I also think that the I'm-too-exhausted-to-get-up-off-this-couch-right-now-so-I'll-just-sit-here-for-five-minutes-oh-no-it's-now-an-hour-later-and-Chubs-has-woken-up situation is a factor, too.

What is your laundry rate limiting step? How do you get past it (or not)?

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Saturday Snippets: xkcd

xkcd is 'a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, language and math' - basically it's where nerds get together to laugh at Randall Munroe's funny drawings. I warn you - most of them are pretty nerdy, but there are still a smattering of comics that most non nerds will find amusing too.

I spend a lot of time here, and I frequently show these comics in class. I use them to teach something (as in, if you understand why this joke is supposed to be funny, then you will understand the principle of ****) or sometimes just to add humour to the class and lighten the mood (which in itself is encouraging of learning).

If you're stuck, then explain xkcd can sometimes help you out, even if the explainations are a bit tedious at times.

And so, in honour of today, I will leave you with this.

Today is Pluto's 82nd discovery-birthday, in case you were wondering... :)

Friday, 17 February 2012

Op shop find!

We are very spoiled and have a Vinnies just around the corner from us. This Vinnies is amazing. I've long been an op shopper, but I've never seen a shop with the quality that this one has. It must be stocked from donation bins in rich suburbs.

Previously I have gotten barely worn Cue blouses for $8 (usually $70ish), a never worn pair of leather work shoes for $10 (would have been $80+ ), unworn Pumpkin Patch things for Chubs still with tags on and so many other things.

On Saturday I got everything here for Chubs for $7.50!

What's there:
- Pink Target footed tights and purple Bonds footed tights in good condition
- Unworn Bonds short sleeved t shirt
- Long sleeved Bonds shirt in good condition
- Pink Target cords in excellent condition
- Pink three quarter leggings in fair condition
- Fisher Price all-in-one swimsuit in fair condition
- Roald Dahl's Dirty Beasts and Pamela Allen's Alexander's Outing
- a board book (not pictured) and a soft bath book.

Pretty good for $7.50!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The prize for...

... this week's great baby idea is buggy books! I love love love buggy books - we've got a few. The thing that makes them so amazing - the clip! These stay attached to the stroller (or the car seat, or the bouncer frame, or the high chair tray...) which means we don't lose it when someone throws it away. Genius.

Chubs has a cloth Winnie the Pooh (A A Milne/ E H Shephard/ Disney) book which crinkles and can go in the washing machine - woot. She also has The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr which I remember from my childhood, too. Chubs is a little too young to appreciate the story about the forthright tiger with the insatiable appetite and little understanding of social convention and etiquette, but it is good for chewing on. See tooth marks for proof.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

WFMW - Discount Christmas fabric

This week's WFMW is about getting discount fabric. In the new year, most fabric shops discount their Christmas fabric. It can be 50% off, and sometimes up to 80% or 90%, especially if it is still there by the end of February. Here's some which I picked up last week.

Sorry about the poor quality of the photo...
Would you believe this is the best one I had out of seven photos?
Most of the fabric in this photo was heavily discounted and worked out to less that $3 a metre which is a steal! I try to pick non-Christmassy Christmas fabrics which I can use for other projects. The birds, flowers, babuska dolls, stars, stripes and candy swirls above were all 'Christmas' fabrics all of those will work very well for other projects.

I did get some fabric which really does look like Christmas fabric, so I can make some things for next year. I've sewn some tree decorations before, but I'm thinking about making some bunting for next year. I'm eyeing off this tutorial - what do you think?

Obviously the selection is limited, and when it's gone it's gone. If there's something that you really like or you have a particular style that you want, then don't wait until January or February. However, if you're happy to see what you get - substantially reduced, then it's a great idea.

Discount fabric works for me!
Linked to Jo as well.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Even daycare's sharing the love with Red Day today.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Master bed set up for cosleeping

Chubs often ends up in our bed, either for a quick feed or play, for a few hours or for the whole night. To keep her safe we have a bed rail so she can't fall out. It's just a normal toddler bed rail and it also works a treat for stopping me falling out when Chubs is making diagonal bed angels (think snow angels, but on the sheet) and there's no room for me.

We also have a waterproof cover to protect the matteress. Especially when she was a newborn, I would often leak milk on the sheets even if she wasn't in our bed, and we've also had a few nappy fails in our bed. The printed cover is just a normal cot waterproof protector, not a special cosleeping cover ot anything like that. We have three - one for her cot, one for our bed, and one spare/ in the wash. As you can see in the picture, we have a normal queen mattress cover on the mattress, then the cot mattress protector just on my side at the top, then I add sheets et cetera as normal.

Having her in bed means we all get much more sleep, which is win- win- win. Knowing that our bed is safe for Chubs is very important to me, too.

Sunday, 12 February 2012


Yesterday I introduced you to my IRL and blogging friend, B. After reading B's commentary of when she re-read the Harry Potter books, I was reminded of something. B comments (when talking about Half Blood Prince)

All of the scenes where Harry and Dumbledore dive into the penseive are fascinating. So much more so when reading the books back to back because you are more amazed then. Rowling showing us young Riddle, making us understand where he comes from and why he is the 1/7-of-a-man that he is, is just a brilliant storytelling technique.

I certainly agree with her here about the storytelling, but also about the history and back story of Tom Riddle. In HBP especially, we get to learn the back story and the history which explains so much.

JK treats us to the other character's back stories, too. In my opinion, what we learn of Dumbledore's youth in Deathly Hallows ties for first place with the Riddle Pensieve scenes. For almost all of the series we are presented with Dumbledore as an ageless old man; it is quite impossible to imagine him in his youth, or even that he ever had one. Indeed, we only consider him as a middle aged man in Riddle's memory of The Aragog Incident in Chamber of Secrets, let alone as teenager looking forward to his gap year.

We also get to hear more of Lily's and Petunia's story although I wasn't as desperate to hear them as the others. Yes, they tied up some loose ends nicely (like the Dementors comment) but to be honest I always trusted JK to do that well. The backstory which was most revealing and exciting to me (after Voldemort and Dumbledore) was Snape.

My appetite for youthful recounts and prequels is not limited to the Potterverse. I relished in Hannibal Rising which also explained so much about our Chianti sipping dinner guest. X-Men Origins, Batman Begins and so many others explain why these iconic characters are who they are and I lap up every story, even when I wasn't a follower of the character before that. Of course, the most famous prequels of the last decade - The Phantom Menace, The Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith also told us much about the back stories of so many iconic characters, although we did know a lot of that before and I must admit I didn't find the back stories as fascinating as I thought I would (even though many other aspects were phenomenal.) I would still love to learn about a teenaged Yoda, though.

I think my fascination with character's youths is related to the fact that as a high school teacher, I am forever teaching teenagers. Individuals graduate, pass through, go on to other things, have careers and children and lives, but I am perpetually part of 'those formative years'. To return to the beginning of my post, I think Dumbledore explained it best when Voldemort was seeking to teach at Hogwarts.

It is one of the irritating things about old teachers.
I am afraid they never quite forget their charge's youthful beginnings.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Saturday Snippets: Bloggy love

Today I would like to share with you two blogs from my IRL friends.

Entwined Happiness

Entwined Happiness is brought to you by my friend Rachael. We've known each other since primary school and Girl Guides. She got the title for her blog from a love letter from her now hubby which I think is really sweet. Her blog has quite a selection of posts, from domestic adventures and renovations and craftings to her current challenge which is taking a photo a day.

Style from the Surburban Intellect is brought to you by B and Jane. B and Jane and I also go way back to fourteen-year-old misadventures, red hair dye and school drama productions. They started this blog so they would read all the unread books they had, but now I think about it, there hasn't been many posts about all the books they have read... In their place there is fashion, design, humour, travel, anecdotes and The Muppets. Oh, and we picked the same backgrounds for our blog, so we much be on the same page!

Pop on over and have a look!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The prize for...

... this week's good idea is sitting baby up before lifting her when changing her nappy. Ever since Chubs could sit up with support, I've done this. When nappy change is finished, I pull her up to sitting, and then lift her up. I find this is much less strain on my back than lifting her up while she's lying down.

I hope this will keep working as she gets bigger. Any other ideas to make lifting bubs easier?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

WFMW - Packing list for baby and Mum

Today's WFMW is about helping things to go more smoothly in the day to day crazy-ness that is life. I work part time and Chubs is in daycare on those days. I do several things to make these days the least stressful as possible, and one of those is packing lists.

Chubs' day care bag (and the un-vacummed floor...)

Below is the list of what I need to do the night before, as well as what needs to be packed and collected each morning.

Night before jobs

- Chubs lunch - two bottles + teats, lunch, snack, biscuits, rusks, dummy

- Mummy lunch

- Batteries on charge

- Ice packs in freezer

Chubs' daycare bag

Night before

-         Sheet bag – top sheet, bottom sheet, bunny rug , white hair brush

-         Drawstring with 6 cloth nappies, wet bag

-         Spare clothes – long sleeved romper, onesie, singlet, jumper, socks
-         3 disposable nappies

Morning of

-         Lunchbox

-         Blankie (in sheet bag)

Mummy work gear

Night before

-         Breast pump bag with flanges, diaphragm, valve, 2 bottles, 2 lids, 2 disks, motor, battery pack

-         Lunchbox

-         Book bag

-         Computer bag

-         Anything else?

Morning of
-         Computer

-         Keys + nametag

-         Lunchbox – lunch, ice packs

-         Breast pump – add batteries

-         Anything else?

Our packing list is printed out and is stuck on the 'command centre' at home. The 'command centre' is just a wall where we have the calendar, small whiteboard, notes etc. Any extras for that particular day (hopefully) get written on the whiteboard.

Obviously your packing list will look different to mine, depending on what your family's needs are. However, having a list means that Chubs and I still have what we need, even when I'm in a sleep deprived haze. Packing lists work for me!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Dear Facebook: Breastfeeding is not obscene

Tomorrow will be a big day at the Facebook office in Sydney. Breastfeeding mothers are planning on having a 'nurse in' to protest against the way in which breastfeeding photos are continually treated as obscene by Facebook, and photos are removed and accounts have been locked in response to this. Whilst Facebook officially says that they have no issue with breastfeeding photos, time and time again this has been shown to not be what actually occurs. (More on their policy below.) For more information see here. This event is also occuring at other Facebook offices around the globe.

Breastfeeding is a normal part of life, and should therefore be shared with one's social network. Indeed, a woman's right to breastfeed (in public or anywhere) is protected under Australian law. It is therefore perfectly reasonable and healthy to post photos of breastfeeding on one's Facebook page.

There are some who would disagree with my statements with the following arguments which I will address in turn.

"Going to the toilet is natural too, that doesn't mean you should post photos of that"
I would like to preface this by saying that anyone who doesn't know the difference between having a meal and defecating is not welcome in my kitchen. This implies that a baby feeding is dirty, unsanitary and should be behind closed doors. Firstly, this is not the case - a woman has the right to feed her child wherever she and her child are allowed to be. Secondly, following this logic, then all eating by people of all ages, breathing and moving are not fit for public display, because they are natural too. This is absurd.

Exposed breast while feeding a child = porn
The idea that a breast, and therefore breastfeeding, is sexual is an idea which is firmly intrenched in society. Do you recall the media fuss when photos of Miranda Kerr breastfeeding were released? Some was negative, a lot was positive, but consider the fuss which is made of normal bikini modelling photos of Kerr. That's right, not a blip.

Body parts can have multiple roles. Yes, breasts have a sexual role. A woman's hands, lips and tongue also have sexual roles. If breasts need to be covered in public because they are sexual, then all women (and men for that matter) should be wearing gloves whenever they leave the house. Many people in Western countries find the idea that a woman is required to cover her face very oppressive and offensive. Following the breast = porn logic, then everyone should be wearing veils as well as gloves.

"I'm all for public breastfeeding, as long as it's discreet"
This is one that really gets my goat. Firstly, let's define 'discreet'. If by 'discreet', you mean 'put a blankie over your shoulder, your baby and your breast' then I would like to suggest that you may be unaware of how to breastfeed. The most probable time for a 'nip slip' is when the child is attaching, which is also the least practical time to cover up. Most mothers, especially in the newborn months, need to see their baby's mouth and their breast as well as using about ten hands to get the baby to attach properly. This is practically impossible to do under a blanket or nursing cover. In addition, some (many?) children are quite uncomfortable feeding under a blanket and will simply rip the blanket off, or scream (and not feed) until it is removed.

If by 'discreet' you mean 'invisible' then I would counter that again breastfeeding should not be invisible. Again, it is the normal way to feed babies and should be seen as much as any other normal activity like greeting a friend, colouring in, playing in the sandpit or going for a swim at the beach. In addition, feeding with a blanket or a nursing cover usually only serves to draw attention to the fact that one is breastfeeding. I have breastfed during professional development sessions, staff meetings, meals with friends and family and many other occasions when people around me were totally unaware of Chubs' feeding, and on none of those occasions did I use a nursing cover.

Secondly, breastfeeding should not be discrete any more than any other activity. Many babies are more comfortable feeding in a quiet room, or under a blanket to protect from distractions. Some mothers choose the privacy of a nursing cover or a feeding room. (Indeed, there have been times when I have moved to a different room to feed when I felt that was the best thing to do in the circumstances. I also tried to feed Chubs under a blanket when the 'distracted stage' set in at about five months.) Some people prefer to take phone calls in private, some people don't like to talk about their financial matters in front of others. In each of these examples and countless others, the choice for privacy is just that - a choice - not a dictated rule.

"Ugh, I don't want to see that"
Some people will argue that the appropriateness of breastfeeding in public is merely a difference of opinion. This is not the view that federal law takes. A woman's right to breastfeed her child anywhere that she or her child are allowed to be is protected under the Sexual Discrimination Act of 1984. Recent ammendments also specifically including expressing breastmilk under the Act. (Expressing was never excluded, but is now specifically addressed.) To ask a woman to stop breastfeeding, to ask her to move on or to refuse her service because she is breastfeeding is unlawful and sexual discrimination. I believe anyone who thinks that it is ok to do any of these things should say exactly what that believe - that sexual discrimination and illegal behaviour is acceptable to them.

Further words on Facebook's breastfeeding policy.

Firstly, as said above, the big issue is that Facebook employees appear to be acting outside this policy.

Secondly, in response to
Photos that show a fully exposed breast where the child is not actively engaged in nursing do violate Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities
I would certainly be interested to see how Facebook, and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission, would define 'not actively engaged in nursing'. I would wager that the person who wrote this policy has little understanding of how nursing works, especially with older babies and children.

Thirdly, in response to
It is important to note that photos which we act upon are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain about them being shared on Facebook.
Other people can make complaints which are racist, sexist, inflammatory or just plain wrong - that does not excuse Facebook from acting decently. Indeed, is that not why the reporting mechanism exists, so that Facebook can assess the validity of a complaint before acting (or not acting) on it?

Breastfeeding is a normal part of life. Social networking is about sharing our lives with others, and that includes breastfeeding. Shape up Facebook and practice what you preach. Breastfeeding is not obscene. For more information and to add your voice visit the Facebook group for the Sydney eventopen letters to Facebook and some of the images considered to be 'obscene'. Please also add your views in the comments below.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Being safe when bubba is sick

When bubba is sick, it's so awful for everyone. Your precious baby is sick and in pain, and we as parents try to do everything we can to fix it. In my more lucid moments when I don't have a screaming, sick baby I worry that crying child + stressed and tried parents + quick actions to try to fix the problem = potential for things to go wrong. We have two rules which I hope will act as a safeguard to prevent any medication overdosing.

Firstly, only one of us (either my husband or me) gives Chubs her medicine. Usually it's me, since I'm getting up and doing the night feeds anyway, but if I'm exhausted then I will nominate him as the medicator-in-charge for that night. We are hoping that this will prevent one of us giving a dose at 1am in a sleepy haze, and then the other giving a dose soon after.

Secondly, we check the dosage on the box every. single. time. Ibuprofen and paracetmol have different required volumes, and the dosage of most medicines increases as your child grows. Some medications are available in different concentrations, so they may require different volumes for the same amount of active ingredient. This means that what the dose was last time - the dose you have remembered in your head - may not be the correct dose. So we check what the correct dose for weight is, and check that the same number is what is in the syringe/ cup each and everytime.

Over the top? Perhaps. Better than accidently overdosing and making bubba very sick? Definately.

How to cook a meal (written by someone who can't cook)

I am not a domestic goddess. Far from it. Unfortunately, my family and I still need to eat. My husband often takes care of dinner, but I do need to pull a rabbit out of the hat (or dinner out of the freezer) every now and again.

I'm a big fan of freezer cooking, mostly because I'm lazy. The recipe below is for (Spaghetti) Bolognese and it freezes well. I just cook the bol and freeze that, then cook the pasta fresh on the night. My husband has rice instead of pasta; sometimes I cook that and freeze it with the meat, other times we just cook it fresh on the night.

Freezer cooking is great, since I can cook at a more convenient time (that is, after Chubs is in bed) and if I cook in bulk then we get a few meals out of it. This means less preparation, washing up and fuss in general.

The portions here are for eight serves, so four dinners for our family of two big people.

1kg beef mince (I buy the cheapest stuff and drain it, but you may prefer the leaner stuff)
2 cups frozen veggies (you could use fresh if you wanted, but I'm too lazy)
1 onion, diced (I skip this, but supposedly everyone else in the world likes onion)
1 tin tomatoes (crushed, chopped, whole or whatever was on special that week)
1 jar pasta sauce (I said this was a recipe for someone who can't cook)
2 glasses of wine (substitute for your favourite tipple as required)

Stick the onion in the pan until it goes clear-ish (allegedly this happens - like I said, I skip this bit.)
Brown the mince and drain the fat if you're a cheapskate like me who buys the low grade fatty stuff. I find it easier to brown 500g of mince at a time, and then stick all the browned mince in together for the next steps.
Tip in the tinned tomatoes and the jar of pasta sauce, stir and let it simmer for a bit.
To keep busy while you're supervising the simmering, start drinking the first glass of wine.
When it seems to 'come together' after about five minutes, add in the veggies.
Let it simmer some more for about ten more minutes until it reduces a bit and you finish your wine. Dish the bolognese up into whatever containers you are freezing it in.
Label the containers, bung in the freezer and pour yourself a congratulatory glass of wine.

If you really want domestic goddess points, do the washing up as well instead of leaving it for later. You get another glass of wine if you're good enough to do the washing up, too.

This certainly isn't going to get me on any TV cooking shows, but it's fairly cheap, reasonably healthy, simple to cook and dead easy to upscale to make in bulk for the freezer.

Also, can you tell I'm breastfeeding and miss cooking with wine?

Check out this link for more frugal meals

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Saturday snippets - The Mercy House

I am planning on linking on Saturdays to share information, and first up is The Mercy House.

Those of you who are WFMW-ers will no doubt already be familiar with The Mercy House. In short, it is a maternity home in Kenya which provides prenatal and neonatal care to some of the most at risk young women in the world, as well as training, education, counselling and emotional and spirtual support and guidance.

The Mercy House was started when Kristen Welsh saw a great need and is totally funded on donations and from sales of the jewellery, placemats, bags and other wares which the girls produce in the House. Please pop in to have a look at the amazing, literally life changing and saving that is happening, and support it though donations, purchases and/ or prayers.

Friday, 3 February 2012


I need to declare something.

I let my baby daughter watch TV in the mornings.

When I say 'let', obviously it's not like she asks me. Perhaps I should rephrase.

I put ABC Kids on TV in the mornings when my baby daughter wakes up at stupid o'clock, because she loves watching the theme songs and I get to nap on the couch for a bit until I'm ready to face the day, and/ or she needs breakfast or a nappy change.

It works for us, and I can't believe how much she loves the theme songs of all the little shows. Her favourite, by a long way, is Raa Raa the Noisy Lion.

Raa Raa loves making noise in the Jingly Jangly Jungle. Even the stones make noise. My question to you, is what sort of noise do you make?

What sort of noise do you make to those around you? Are you known as the person who is generally positive and enthusiastic? Do you leave people feeling cheerful? When people see you coming into the room, do they brace themselves for a wave of whinging? Do you say things which are encouraging, or do you bring others down? We all have not-so-great days and need to vent, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, what are you usually like? Do you make noise of support, or noises which hinder?

Do you make noise of challenge? We often associate good with quiet. We teach children to sit quietly, to not make noise, to put their hands up until called upon. Sometime, though, the right and good thing to do is to make noise of challenge, to stand up for people and to rebel against authority.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak out, because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
The above quote is from Martin Niemöller, a German Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime. Whilst the exact version is subject to some historical debate (due to the fact that he spoke on numerous occasions), the intent is clear. I first came across this quote about 15 years ago in Social Studies class at school and it has stuck with me ever since. I certainly shaped and inspired many of my actions to call for change.

As a teacher, I help to encourage and equip students to not be a 'bully bystander'. I urge you to not remain silent when you should speak. Respond to that offensive Facebook comment, call out your friend when she makes a racist joke. Stand up for your brother when he is attacked at a family barbecue for his views about how he raises his child. In short, endeavour to speak out when needed - do not remain silent when you should not.

Life is filled with noises - good and bad, soft and loud, conforting and painful, and everything in between and beyond. What sort of raa-raa-ing are you doing?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...