12 Days of Christmas Giveaway starts tomorrow!

Christmas Giveaway New Zealand Mum Blog

One more sleep!

Tomorrow at 9am our very first 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway in conjunction with The Bubbalino Kitchen is kicking off!  We have some amazing prizes – we promise there is something for everyone, Mama’s, little people and foodies will all be very happy with what our amazing sponsors have gifted to our readers.

You don’t have to enter via Facebook, all giveaways will be hosted on our blogs with winners announced daily.  

Good luck everyone, and Merry Christmas!

Love, Melissa x

FriYAY | I just want to sleep

Dave’s been on a work trip for 5 days so I’ve been solo-parenting – with my Mum, so I know that technically doesn’t count but I’m claiming it anyway.  I’m exhausted.

Thankfully the kids have been amazing, aside from the baby waking up pre-6am every day we have had a really smooth, easy week.  All activities and commitments fulfilled, beds made, family hygiene is at an acceptable level, both touch rugby games won last night and everyone has been eating well.  There may have been some emergency chicken nuggets on the menu last night but shit happens.

Did I mention I’m tired?  I did? Sorry, it must be because I’m so freaking tired.

So, this week at The Best Nest;

We read:  Books about sharks {Nixon}, How to Steal a Dragon’s Sword {Ethan}, House Rules {me}.  I also read an article in a medical journal on autologous stem cell transplants vs allogeneic.  Tres interesting.

We ate:  ALL the salmon this week.  Sealord sent us some of their amaze hot smoked salmon and as Dave was away we had lovely simple meals all week.  My boys and I could easily live off of salmon and avocado, simple folk we are.

We I cried:  Because my hair is ruined.  We had to fill our tank with ‘town’ water after we had it drained, cleaned and repaired and the chemical content of the new water has turned my hair into straw.  After having no highlights for a year, my hair was in the best condition of my life and now it takes me almost an hour to comb it after washing.  Ruined : (

I realised: That for 10 years I’ve had this lovely squishy boy, who never shook off his baby fat, and then I saw that photo above…….E is stacked.  Look at his back muscles!

I bought: Roses, prickle killer, RUC’s, books and toys.  Lame, I’m going to have to step up the Santa game next week as 10 year olds aren’t that into ornamental flowers apparently.

I drank: Banrock Station Moscato LOVE it.

I watched: Police 10-7, apparently my long lost aunt is going to be making an appearance in the WANTED section!  Oh the lols

I made: um……….a nail appointment?!  Seriously no crafting going on at the moment.  The plans are in my head though I swear.

I suffered through: A massive yeast infection in my nipple {didn’t see that one coming did ya!}.  Have no idea how to wean Nixon, no idea.  Tips?

 

That’s it, I finished on a high wouldn’t you say?  Tell me your week was more exciting than mine, go on do it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pain of Teething

This post is sponsored by Nurofen for Children.

Nixon has had to deal with more pain in his short life than I can even imagine.  Before his diagnosis with Hirschprungs Disease, the first year of his life must have been so uncomfortable.  His inability to poop on his own meant that there was always some procedure or other we had to put him through which was pretty awful for him and us both.  He’s had doctors rummaging around in his abdomen on multiple occasions, removing the bits of his large intestine that didn’t work, replumbing him and then recovering from the whole ordeal, which took six hours in the operating room! {you can catch up on Nixon’s Hirschsprungs journey here and here}.  It almost seems cruel that after such an unusual and difficult start to life our little trooper would be hit so hard by teething pain.  Our happy-go-lucky baby was seemingly transformed overnight into a miserable, clingy, super needy little ball of tears – after a couple of days and sleepless nights I was feeling much the same way!  I knew it was teeth, he had all of the classic signs {check teething symptoms} and the only thing providing short term, temporary relief was breast-feeding.  

After Nix was taken off the opiates post-op, Nurofen was prescribed to manage his pain.  I find personally that Ibuprofen is more effective than paracetamol and I can see that the same is true for Nixon, he coped beautifully at home and we were able to keep him comfortable without too much trouble.  I medicate the kids so sparingly that sometimes I have to be reminded to do it, luckily my Mum was on hand when Nix was really beginning to struggle with his teeth and reminded me to “get that boy some medicine!”.  We fully use natural remedies when we can, I love Nixie’s amber beads, I do believe they have helped so much with his pain but some days the rumbling in his gums has just been too acute to let him suffer through.

Thankfully we are in a teething lull at the moment, but those big molars will be on the move in the next few months so we are prepared!

Visit the Nurofen for Children website for more tips on Kids Health.

teething-pain-nz-mummy-blog

 

 

Christmas Gift Guide | All the Beautiful Books!

My Christmas shopping is progressing surprisingly well this year.  I hate rush-shopping so have been steadily ticking items off my list for the past few months.  The kids gifts are a different story however.  The only presents locked in and ordered so far are books.  And that makes me so excited!  I LOVE ALL THE BOOKS!

If you’re in New Zealand you only have until the 8th of December to get your Book Depository orders placed to ensure delivery before Santa comes, so get that plastic cranking!

Here are the books that will be under the tree at our house this year {so far lol}

 Christmas Gift Guide Books - Mummy Blog New Zealand

Oh No, GEORGE! By Chris Haughton

Animalium By Jenny Broom

The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

The Elephant and the Bad Baby By Raymond Briggs

Roadwork By Sally Sutton

Dear Zoo By Rod Campbell

The Ocean Alphabet Book By Jerry Pallotta

 

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to.

Sunday morning, post-sleepover party.  It was sunny, I flung open the doors,  I vacuumed and lit lovely smelling candles, the bebe was sleeping and the 10th birthday party was over {for me at least, Dave was on duty with 5 boys at the hot pools – where’s that laughing-so-hard-i’m-crying emoticon?}.  How jaded do I sound?  Very, I know.  Here’s the deal, we have gone big on birthday parties for so many years, and I can definitely pull them off.  Remember Big Foot hunting in the forest when Dave hired a costume and was actually Big Foot?  Yes, I think our work here is done.

So, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, a few skills you know; I can take some pretty snaps, sometimes people pay me to do this.  I can produce large and small scale graphics and run Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop with my eyes closed, sometimes people pay me to do this too.  One thing I can definately do is make awesome birthday invitations and get all crafty with party stuff.  But this year I didn’t.  No mummy-guilt here, just knocked out a Minecraft invite 5 days before the party {oops} in literally, 6 minutes.  Ethan was pretty much in raptures.  Check.

I have made my blessed first born an awesome cake every year for every party.  He wanted a cheesecake this year which was no problem as I can knock one of those up in a flash  {Cheesecake Recipe here}.  Totally purchased all the ingredients and didn’t have time to make it.  No mummy-guilt here, Dave ran up to The Cheesecake Shop and got them to write “Happy 10th Birthday Ethan” on his store bought cake – in really crappy looking writing – and it was just the best thing ever!  “Look at this”,  E exclaimed to his friends, “my DAD got this custom made!”  “you don’t just buy them like that, DAD hooked it up”.  Yes, DAD totally “hooked it up”.  Obviously I hadn’t been hooking it up enough for the past 9 years to deserve that enthusiastic reaction to cake, but whatevs, there was cake!  Check.

Afternoon tea – Ethan planned the menu; cocktail sausages, grapes, frozen savouries, chips and soda.  Healthy?  No way.  Easy, yes!  24 hours of party food won’t kill anyone and will also help this mummy not kill anyone – everybody wins!

Dinner – Pizza Hut $5 takeout pizzas – still winning!

Breakfast – Pancakes, cheers Dad.  Our amaze Pancake Recipe here

So, to summarize, this is NOT my idea of an epic birthday party.  No perfectly planned menu, no crafts and decor, no Pinterest worthy pics, in fact no pics at all aside from this gem  – can’t see the cake or the birthday boy, the lighting is shit, image quality worse than shit and I have 7 chins!  

Birthday Party - New Zealand Mummy Blog 

But for all of its failings in the ‘Perfect Party’ department, Ethan had an amazing weekend with his friends and enjoyed the unstructured, un-fancy-no photo-opp nature of his celebration and it was a good lesson for me; my expectations can be lowered without the world falling off its axis!

Who even has a 10 year old anyway?

Life is mental.  Then your eldest son turns 10 and life gets more mental and you just get really  o l d .

On Friday E turns 10 and this means {if my maths is correct} that Dave and I have been parents for 10 freaking years!  What the?!  Double whammy actually as this also means we have been married for, wait for it, 10 FREAKING YEARS!  Yup, we sealed the deal in a classy ceremony in a San Diego courthouse with one month old Ethan as best man – as he has remained to this day.

We have had some seriously good times with this kid, he was our sole team-mate for 8.5 years before graciously becoming the best big brother there has ever been.  He is the kid at school that is super smart and kicks ass in the classroom but also goes pretty hard on the sports field as well.  He sung his heart out on stage last night at the APPA choir festival at the Auckland Town Hall, and Dave was just the proudest Dad ever, constantly sending me pics and messages about his awesome boy.  The nice thing about this is that I sung in the APPA choir when I was Ethan’s age 25 years ago and stood on the same stage at the Town Hall!  There he is 4th from the left in green;

Auckland Kids Choir

Shopping for gifts for a ten year old boy is infinitely harder than then the 9 year old I had last year.  For some reason I cannot fathom the item on the top of his birthday list is this;

WWE Spinner Belt

Hmmm.  Confused?  Same.  That’s apparently a WWE Championship Spinner Belt Replica, which will not (sadly) be coming to live at our house post birthday on Friday.  Wrestling belt, wrestling toy guys, some status update on Minecraft.  And that is it.  The sum total of my big guys birthday wish-list is a bunch of plastic, sweaty men in lycra gear.  Scary stuff.  But, compared to that his real birthday present is freaking awesome!  I cannot wait for Friday morning!

 

 

Kmart’s Wishing Tree Appeal | Give the gift of generosity this Christmas

Many of us try and add a little charitable cheer to the Christmas season, making a point to teach our kids the value and importance of giving, not just receiving, especially to those to those less fortunate.

In-store initiatives such as Kmart’s Wishing Tree Appeal are taking charitable donations to the storefront and making it super easy for you and your family spread some Christmas joy a little further afield these holidays.

Supporting families throughout New Zealand, the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal teaches Kiwi kids the importance of giving rather than receiving this festive season.

This year the Appeal is now in its 20th year and aims to collect more than 45,000 gifts that will be distributed by The Salvation Army to families that might otherwise go without. Simply purchase a gift of your choice*, collect a gift tag from any Kmart store and place it under the tree, then let the feel-good factor sink in.

Without the generosity of the public, many financially disadvantaged families will experience a bleak Christmas Day. However, the thoughtful contributions of New Zealanders will put a smile on a child’s face when they wake on 25 December.

This year’s Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal will be collecting gifts in stores around the country from November 13 until 24 December.

Visit http://wishingtree.kmart.co.nz to learn more about Kmart’s commitment to giving back to the community.

If you need some ‘alone’ time to spend with a coffee (or the sticky tape & wrapping paper!)  this season, download these handy printables for some festive fun for the little peeps.

5625_Kmart Wishing Tree 2014_Colour In Gift Tag 5625_Kmart Wishing Tree 2014_Colour In Sleigh kmartwt_kids_wordsearch-2013 

 

The Circle of Life……

I’ve had a revelation dear reader, and being the giver that I am, I’ve decided to share it with you.

{Truth be told, this philosophical divulgence occurred some time ago, but it has taken 6 weeks to get a picture of that damned frog!}

So here we are.  Is your mind clear?  Are you sitting with an open heart and incense burning {preferably on an organic, free trade hemp mat, but beggars can’t be choosers so read on}, ready to receive the blessing of todays spiritual enlightenment?

The circle of life has nothing to do with Elton John.  Or Simba.  Let’s let that sink in shall we?  No!  You’re good, ok.  Moving on; The circle of life also has nothing to do with birth, death, regeneration, planting your placenta under a tree or anything else completely normal like that.  Shit’s getting cray cray, stay with me reader.

During the last school holidays, Ethan headed north to spend a few golden days and nights with his Nana & Geoff in Waipu.  He loves it there, he can roam free with the big dogs, fish for eels and………catch frogs all day.  We are fully versed in the one-way relationship that comes from having pet frogs; you spend $140 on a terrarium to house your new friends, add to that a budget of $20 on flies once a week, put flies in tank, frog eats flies, frog poos in water, you clean the tank (because Steve Irwin Jr lost interest after day 9).  Needless to say after a couple of years of this we released our amphibious friends and sold our terrarium – because there was no way we were EVER having pet frogs again.  Mmm mmmm, no way. 

Can you see where this is going?  Can you?

Ethan returned from Waipu clutching a 20 litre paint bucket like it was the last bucket of Resene Quarter Tea left in existence.  Inside was the biggest freaking frog we had ever seen.  Despite a generous offer of a frog palace from friends, we were going to need a bigger tank.

So you see reader, the circle of life isn’t a matter worthy of deep, spiritual meditation.  The circle of life is complete when you are purchasing your SECOND $140 terrarium and naming the biggest, fly guzzling creature you have ever seen, Benji. 

The lesson here is simple, don’t sell your terrarium / fishtank / hamster house ever.  Hoard that shit in your garage until all kids are at least 21, then make them take it flatting.  The husband children will always find a way to smuggle more pets into your life, this is how we ended up with Dash, and goddamn it I can’t lose that dog for want of trying.

Namaste x

 

Being PRESENT means learning not to sweat the small stuff

Thanks to Rexona Invisible Dry for sponsoring this post – originally published on nzgirl

I am a Mum.  I am also a stay-at-home Mum.

Every choice you make as a mother comes at a cost; the equal and opposite alternative to your decision to stay at home or go to work will always be there, niggling a little on those tough days and always reminding you of what you have given up.

For me, dealing with the daily predictability of an unpredictable toddler and a pre-teen means I have to stay focused and keep my head in the game – the game may be as unglamourous as getting the laundry done and the beds made but that’s my reality right now.  Getting stuck in my own head and focusing on the minutiae of everyday domestic life will no doubt result in a spanking clean kitchen but it won’t help ease the professional yearnings I left behind when I bid adieu to paid employment.

But, being present, visible and in the moment with my kids does and will fulfill me in ways that I never expected before I had children and that I don’t think I could replicate any other way.  But, you have to be open to that fulfillment.  Over the past week I’ve been practising a little trick I call Stop & Drop.  Basically, I have promised myself that when my 1 year old brings me that book about diggers we have read 172 times already today, I will stop what I’m doing, drop the dish towel and sit on the floor and read to him.  When my big boy wants desperately to show me his Minecraft creation that I have zero interest in, I will stop what I’m doing and sit at the computer with him for five minutes and simply look and listen.

Breaking the habit of saying “No, Mama’s too busy” is hard, it requires me to let go of my ‘perfect house’, ignore the crumbs on the floor, breathe through nap-time strikes and relish this time with my babies above all else.  It’s learning not to sweat the small stuff, and radically loving the bigger picture, be it your kids at home with you each day, or the joy you feel when you pick them up from daycare.  In both my prior role as a working mum and currently as a stay at home mum, one thing I simply don’t have time to worry about is excess sweating.  Post-baby body issues and being spotted in your around-the-house uniform of yoga pants are enough of a battle without the stress of ruining your clothes with sweat stains.  Rexona Invisible Dry has worked for me, the 48 hour protection keeping me feeling fresh, even on those days when a shower has slipped to the bottom of the priority list!

There are many areas where we can feel like we’re failing as parents, try sweeping the slate clean, cutting yourself some slack and getting real with the expectations you have put on yourself as a mother.  Make some micro-goals and try and work them into your week;  if you’re worried the amount of fish finger dinners getting served, allocate one night a week to try a new, healthy recipe, if you’re worried about screen time incorporate some outdoor activities or simply get down on the ground and drive toy cars around the house for half an hour.  Simplify and you will be amazed at how your kids react, they will LOVE it!

Practise makes perfect but simply being a mother who is visible, present and accessible to her children is the best kind of mother there is.

Giveaway {CLOSED}| Volt Espresso Celebrates Success at The NZ Coffee Awards

People go crazy about their coffee and its inherent routine in their day.  Some will happily knock back a cup of instant and be good to go, but others love the process and the ritual of brewing and perfecting their consummate cup.  The team at Volt Espresso obviously fall into the latter category and they want to hook up one lucky reader with a trio of their award winning coffees!

Auckland coffee bean roastery, Volt Espresso is excited to announce their success of Gold, Silver & Bronze at last month’s New Zealand Coffee Awards.

Their winning blend – ORGANIC EARTH took home GOLD for Best Organic blend, SILVER for Best Single Origin and BRONZE for Ethically Traded.  A second bronze medal was also awarded for a special blend called SIENA, a blend made specifically by Peter Grant, owner of Volt Espresso to celebrate his daughter’s first birthday.

A total of 80 coffee roasters entered 313 categories in the 11th annual Huhtahmaki Coffee Awards.

The awards, held at the Bell Tea and Coffee Company headquarters in Auckland, were judged by a team of 12 experts, headed by international coffee consultant, Instaurator.

“The category that really showed great improvement this year was the single origin category” said Instaurator.  “The coffees were much more sophisticated.  They were more refined showing much more interesting, nuanced flavours. This is probably because the style in New Zealand has changed” he said.

The winner can choose whether they would prefer beans or ground for plunger or espresso machine.  Competition closes Sunday 16th November @ 8pm.

Good luck!

 

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