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I know where all the unmatched socks are…

So I says to Master 11, I says “Go look in your room for these two socks – I can’t find their mate.”
He says okay and goes up to look.

“I found one, Mom!” he says, and throws it down to me. It matches neither of the socks I have waiting. “That’s not it – now you have three to find!” I say.

He goes and looks again. “I found two!” He yells, and throws it down. Not only do they not match the three I have in my hand, they’re not even his socks.

“How on earth do you have single socks that aren’t even yours? Go look again!”

“Ok. I’ll go look in my sock drawer,” he says. I laugh and ask “Where were you looking before?”

Then he comes down with 4 socks. We successfully match a few pairs, but we still have some unmatched socks. So I go upstairs and have a hunt through his drawers.

The whole time he is yelling at me about privacy and how I shouldn’t go through his dresser. “Why?” I ask. “Do you have anything private in here?”

“NO!” he yells. “It’s the principle of the thing”

Nevertheless, I persevere and come up with two more socks. I take them downstairs, and continue on my way.

But then I’m back on my way upstairs and he yells “NO YOU ARE NOT GOING THROUGH MY JUNK DRAWER!”

I tell him I wasn’t even aware of his junk drawer and we playfully tussle for a moment while he tells me his junk drawer is completely off limits.

“Why?” I ask. “Do you… <snarf> do you… <giggle> DO YOU HAVE SOCKS IN THERE?”

We both lost it and dissolved into hysterical laughter.

At which point I decided to give up and went downstairs.

Then faintly I hear upstairs …

“Mom? I looked under my bed… I FOUND ANOTHER SOCK!!”

I’m still laughing. And I still have 6 unmatched socks.

Ra whānau ki a koe, Bonne Fête à moi, Happy Birthday to me…

Yesterday was my birthday.

I got to sleep in.  I got cuddles, the happy birthday song (in 3 languages!! te reo Māori, French, and English) and presents in bed.

individual birthday cake made for me by a friend. Yay!

My children bought me some LUSH stuff. They hate that store. Complained it was too smelly. But they went in and chose some lovely stuff just for me because they knew I loved it.

I was left to read my book all by myself for the morning. (Bliss!)

For lunch, I was taken to a new place called Yumm!! that makes pancake stacks with fruit and ice cream that was beyond sweet (too sweet!!) but was indeed, yum!!

Then we meandered for a bit at the local mall.

When we got home, my lovely hubby started washing the windows. Even the super tall ones that I can’t reach. How fantastic is that? He also did the laundry and the kitchen.  My house seems brighter. I think we’re getting more sunshine through the windows now.

My fantastic father-in-law made his special lasagne for my birthday dinner.

Then the children & I played on the PS2 before they went to bed, and then hubby & I watched a movie together.

Fantastic day. 🙂  (And for once, hubby gave me something I really wanted – Acts of Service i.e., housework. I told him later that was the best present ever.)

Wanna hear “Happy Birthday” in te reo Māori?

Playcentre’s gone viral!

You wanna know what I do?  It looks like what you see in the background of this video. Parents and children playing and learning together. This is Playcentre.

And the little girl at the beginning of this video? She cracks me up. Every.Single.Time.

Enjoy.

Picky Children making dinner and lunches

After one too many complaints about dinner and lunches, (and perhaps helped along by the viewing of Junior Masterchef Australia) I informed the children they were making dinner at least once a week and making their own lunches every morning.

Making sushi. Note the only two vegetables my children will eat willingly - carrots and cucumber. No, I have absolutely no idea why my picky eaters will eat seaweed happily.

We started out well.  Friday night they made “cheesy noodles” which is really no more than shredded cheese on cooked noodles. On Sunday they decided they wanted to make sushi for dinner.  So we did.  And the Saturday after that they made macaroni and cheese casserole from a children’s cook book.

But now we’ve run into a snag.  We’ve looked through the kids’ cookbooks that I have, and we even took some out of our local library to look at.

It went kinda like this: “EEEEWwwww!!! I’m not making SOUP!!” “No, I don’t wanna make a roast chicken.” “We’ve made pasta twice. I wanna do something different.” [whine] “I don’t LIKE cottage pie.” “Eeeeeew! Risotto!”  “Eeeeeeewww!! Chilli!!!” “Vegetable pie? NO WAY.” “Yuck, that steak has mustard on it.” “I HATE MUSHROOMS!!” “But I HATE TUNA!!”  “But Dad doesn’t like lamb.” “Well I don’t like fried rice so we aren’t making THAT.”  “OOoo!!! Hamburgers! Mum, can we make hamburgers?”

See my problem?  They found something not to like in nearly every single recipe.  And if they couldn’t find something they didn’t like, they blamed it on their picky Father.

Who was the wise-ass that said that when children make dinner they’re more willing to try new things? They lied.

Anybody got a good children’s cookbook for picky eaters?

All About Popcorn: A conversation with The Boy.

Popcorn00

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t tell my children how things work if I can help it. Instead, I ask them open-ended questions to see if they can figure it out by themselves. If they can’t figure it out, we go to the library or online to look it up.  Here’s an example of one such conversation.

I presented both children with a bowl of popcorn and while they were eating it, The Boy  asked me “where does popcorn come from, Mum?”

I said “That’s a good question. What do you think?”

“A popcorn plant!” he said gleefully.

“That would be very cool,” I said. “Have you seen a popcorn plant?”

“No.”

So I said “Well, then, try again.”

The Boy contemplated the popcorn and the kernels in the bowl.

Then he picked up a kernel.

“This looks like a corn on the cob. I’ve taken the corn off the cob before and this looks like it.”

“Yes, it does,” I agreed.

“That’s what it is!” he said. “It’s a corn that’s been popped! That’s why it’s called popcorn!”

“That makes sense,” I agreed.

“Because when you put these in the popcorn popper, and make them hot, they pop!”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“But where does the white stuff on the popcorn come from?”

“Another good question. What do you think?”

The Boy examined the popcorn.

“Oh! I know!! The popcorn turned inside out and this white stuff was inside it!!”

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“Because if you look at the popcorn you can see this little brown bit that looks like the outside of the popcorn before it’s popped.”

Critical thinking skills in a 7 year old boy. 🙂

Winter Holidays

Mount Ruapehu in winter, from south side (Turoa).

Mount Ruapehu in winter, from south side (Turoa). Image via Wikipedia

I know what you’re thinking – WINTER? It’s hot here in (North America/Europe/Japan/other Northern Hemisphere location).

But here in the Southern Hemisphere it is most definitely winter.  Got down to 4C the other night.  I’ve been sleeping with all my woolies on, a hot water bottle, AND the all-important warm husband (who, I might add, keeps insisting I have too many blankets on the bed and it’s too hot for him to sleep).

Bonus – two weeks off school and work! Yay!!  When my children were in preschool I could not understand all the other mums who would cheer and breathe a sigh of relief for the school holidays.

“You don’t understand!” I would wail.  “They’ll be asking me WHY they can’t go to preschool music, and WHY they can’t go to Playcentre, and WHY we can’t go all the things they usually do.  It will be HORRIBLE!!!”

But the school mums would just smile knowingly and reiterate how happy they would be to have their children home for two weeks.

Both my children are in school now, and I understand.

Two whole weeks of not having to get up on time in the morning and get ready to get to school and work.  Two whole weeks of doing what we want to do. Two whole weeks of listening to my children tell me all about what they’re doing and what’s going on and what they want to do and how they’re hungry, and thirsty, and tired, and why isn’t it their turn on the computer and I’m BORED and… oh. hmmmm.

Well, let’s just concentrate on not having to get up in the morning and we get to do what we want to do, shall we?  I really like the lie-in (sleeping in!!)

Five Time Management Tips

Many of my offline friends ask me how I manage to juggle 7 different work hats, plus my Mom hat and my housework hat without getting snowed under. I’m going to do a presentation for them, but thought I’d give it a practice go here so you can tell me if I’m missing anything or need to go into further details.  So without further ado, I give you:

Time Management Tips, by Broot

1. Get a good calendar or diary and use it! I personally prefer the FlyLady calendar because of the big squares – lots of room to write lots of stuff. My calendar is always choca (“CHOCK-ah” as they say in NZ – it means very full!). But the key thing is to find one that works for you and use it.

2. Priority lists!!  Having a big list is good, but it really helps to have a smaller priority list to work on. Means you get the important stuff done, AND you get to cross stuff off!

3. If you’re on Facebook, turn the games off.  I took the step of turning off all Facebook Application Platforms after years of being stuck on the computer chained to the games. No platforms means less viruses, and more time to actually connect/network with people!!

4. Know your most productive time of the day and use it to your advantage.  Plan to do work at your most productive time. I have no problem working with the parents and children in the morning, because that’s physical and verbal work, not paperwork. There is absolutely no point, however, in trying to get me to do any paperwork, phone calls or other problem solving work before 11am. After lunch and right before dinner are my most productive times – and that’s when I get my paperwork, bills, housework and writing done!

5. If you need uninterrupted space to work, then make it so.  Turn off the TV, turn off the phones, turn off the music, turn off all your instant chat programs, and keep your email client closed. Any distraction when you’re “in the zone” puts you back about 30 minutes while you get back into your groove. Seriously. One 2 second distraction will take you 30 minutes from which to recover.

6. (BONUS) Learn to say “No” when you are overcommitted. I limit myself to 3 night meetings a week, prioritise for the most important meetings, and say “No!” to the rest. I do the same thing for my field work – no more than 3 mornings in a week. The other days are for paperwork and housework and anything else I need to get done!

And that’s really it in a nutshell. I could mention procrastinating (at which I am extremely proficient!) but that’s a whole ‘nother post entirely!

Random Thoughts April 2011

** I’m on Facebook!!  Please click the “Like” button and make my day.  I’ll also make sure new posts are put up there.  I can’t link to it properly here on my blog because I have Application Platforms off

**Working with bread yeast is cool.  I made hot cross buns and pizza dough bread on Good Friday and my favourite part was “waking up” the dried yeast with the hot sugar water and watching it “blurp.” Yeah, sometimes I’m just a big kid.

The hot cross buns we made on Good Friday.

**One letter arrived in the post this morning!! Yay!! And I’ve emailed to find out where the other one went.

**Journal proofs were delivered to my house this morning. The awesomeness makes me smile. (Final sign off before printing!!)

**Things that the publisher was trying to explain to me make much more sense to me now, while I look at the proofs.  It’s that light-bulb moment. “OH! NOW I get it!!”  I did mention that I’m a visual learner, right?

**My children are no longer wooly-headed and this pleases me. My turn at the hairdressers next week!

**The Penguins of Madagascar TV show is amusing and I like watching it.

**I have an Open Home on Sunday and I have done NOTHING for it yet. Yikes!

**I am SO ready for Term 1 School break to be over.  Bring on Monday so I can send the children back to school!!

**I almost got trapped in a suburb 20kms from here because it’s rained so much in the last few days that a river was creeping over a bridge. Thankfully we left before it fully engulfed the bridge.

**I can see sunshine and it makes my soul happy. I moved here to get away from the constant Pacific Northwest rain in the Vancouver Rainforest. So when it’s cloudy here for more than a couple of days, my soul feels a bit “squashed”.