Milestones: 13.

I’m in a real ‘adulting’ mindset at the moment.  I’ve had a meeting with an insurance broker, we are getting Dave’s citizenship underway, our mortgage is up for renewal so I’m in full planning mode around refinancing and I’m really consciously trying to make our house and home work for our family without falling into the trap of obsessing about ‘MORE’.

Always in parallel alongside all of that very boring grown-up, life admin, is the most important job of all – parenting.

With the 8.5 year age-gap between Ethan and Nixon, the past 4.5 years of child milestones feel like they’ve belonged somewhat solely to Nix.  The heady baby days of rolling over, sitting up, his first steps, first word, first day of kindy……….they’ve been freshly imprinted in our family memory banks as they should!  However,  Ethan has moved from single digits into a legit teenager, now 13 and in his first year at high school.  That’s a massive fucking milestone that has crept up on me and literally slapped me in the face at the year 9 parents evening I attended last week.

I was sitting in an auditorium at my old high school, (thank god for kids of Old Girls getting bumped up the ballot!), next to some friends from out west.  I had just downloaded the school app (!!!), which is the most incredible thing ever, personalized with Ethan’s 6-day timetable, the contact info for all of his teachers, an absentee portal +  pretty much everything Dave and I NEED to know about Ethan’s day-to-day school life, when, I looked over at my friends and said; “can you even believe we are here????”

And by believe, I meant, how is it that we have somehow bumbled/guided our collective sons for 13 years to arrive at that point where we were sitting en masse in the largest high school in the country listening to the head of mathematics describe how he planned to teach our kids some really, really complicated shit?

I’ve got no idea how Dave and I did it, raised our son to be the awesome little teen he is today. But, the fact of the matter is, he’s taken Year 9 in his stride and has settled into High School like it’s NO BIG THING.

It’s actually a huge thing and a very worthy milestone to ‘quietly’ recognize.  You won’t be allowed to make a song and dance – because teenagers – so don’t even bother.  But once you’ve sat down with all the other bewildered parents at an orientation evening and listened to the expectations and deliverables required of a Year 9 student, your Mum Brain will be fried, emotional and reaching for the wine crutch.

No?

Just me then.  And I’m totally ok with that.

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Why is high school such a BIG step?

So, so many reasons, but these are the ones that resonate with our family;

  • There’s a legit choice, a sometimes agonizing one, around which college to send your kid to.  When you are making decisions that can potentially affect the educational future of your kid, the process of deciding on the in-zone school or out of zone applications, ballots, interviews, puts the decision front and centre in your kid’s mind as well as yours.  They probably weren’t so invested in the choice of primary school or intermediate but as an active participant in the interview process, Ethan was aware of what was at stake and where he hoped the ballot would fall.
  • Public transport may come into play.  Though Ethan rode a bus to intermediate, his trip to high school is a different route.  Every kid in the neighborhood lined up on the wrong side of the street on the first day of term last month!  Getting home again is just as tricky, there is a large bus bay at his school, but Ethan’s bus leaves from a stop outside the gates – of his massive, massive school.  If his last class of the day is on the far side of the school you bet he’s running to make sure he boards the bus so Mum or Dad won’t be forced into a last minute, hour-long round-trip retrieval!
  • Managing a 6-day timetable.  This has been a super hard transition for E, but we are getting there.  This is where Dave and I have to step in a double check he’s ready for the day ahead before he leaves the house.
  • Learning to move around the school each period and acclimate to a different teacher and classroom for each subject.
  • Homework vs sport vs family expectations vs the god awful game console.  Work in progress for us to be honest, but compared to 3 weeks ago things are on the up and Ethan is settling into a good after-school routine.
  • Social change.  Making new friends and switching up the kids he hangs with has been nothing but beneficial for E, but that’s to be expected.  He’s pretty mellow in the friends’ department and just enjoys spending time with whomever he has a common interest with.  His daily is heading to the gym each lunchtime and shooting hoops with whoever shows up.  I can imagine that this really important time in a teenagers life can be pretty rough waters for some kids as they begin high school and have to navigate new friends and social roles.

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So yeah.  Ethan is Year 9, his first year of high school and simply going about his days like primary and intermediate were simply some distant dream state from which he’s just now emerged.  He’s amazing, capable and confident and I’m just so proud of him.

Hoping your kids have started off the school year in their best possible way also, and if not, be their advocate, be persistent and don’t settle for nods and grunts and non-communication.  Getting your kids talking and keeping them talking through the tween years is sooooo important and will help all of the Big Kid transitions and milestones still to come.

There are many by the way, don’t forget to celebrate them…………….quietly lol.

 

 

Kids Parties: Garden Glamping + Movie Night

Ethan turned the BIG 13 at the end of November and though we celebrated at the time with a Breaker’s game and burgers with his friends, we really wanted to do something a little more special at home to mark the occasion.  The end of the school year is a super busy time for everyone with summer quickly approaching here in New Zealand and Christmas around the corner so, we waited a couple of weeks until Ethan’s two basketball leagues had finished and planned a wee surprise.

Ethan loves sleepovers but sleepovers do not love him back.  The child basically can’t deal with lack of sleep, plus his sport schedule is so ridic with rugby over the winter and basketball taking up six days per week recently, opportune weekend nights to have friends stay over are few and far between.  Saturday night was  w i d e  open however, and happened to coincide with a rare, vacant booking for the awesome husband and wife team at www.partyinabox.nz.  So, we locked it in, called it a Movie Night and I (secretly) gathered the troops.

I think when I (and Ethan) were younger, I wanted complete control over his birthday parties and spent days and weeks meticulously planning and agonizing over every detail.  One year I handmade fish-shaped chocolates to decorate his homemade cheesecake birthday cake after I had hand stamped the goody bags with a beautiful fish-shaped motif I carved from a freaking potato!

I honestly don’t even know who that person was lol.  Suffice to say, these days I’m all about outsourcing and simplifying birthday parties.  I say HELLO to $5 Pizza Hut pizzas (1 each!) and YES to a tub of Tip Top ice cream for dessert.  And, if the outsourcing results in the 5 teenaged boys (and his girl bestie) sleeping in the front yard, then a birthday blessing was just bestowed upon ME.

Party in a Box Glamping Packages

We decided on a Night Out Package for Ethan and 5 friends which included setup and overnight hire of a gorgeous bell tent, 6 x mattresses, bunting, fairy lights, rugs, floor cushions, tray tables, super cool decor items, popcorn, huge tv and DVD/BluRay player.  All delivered set-up and then packed away again the following day. 

It was spectacular, roomy and totally picture perfect.  Dave and I loved it so much we almost considered handing the house over to the 13-year-olds and treating ourselves to a night glamping in the garden!

 The best way to describe how utterly amazing the bell tent and set-up was on Saturday night is to let the pictures speak for themselves.

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The kids had a blast, we had a quiet (ish) night and a clean (ish) house thanks to the kids being in the tent lol and I know we celebrated Ethan’s very special birthday with an event to remember.

Get in touch with husband and wife team Christian and Wencke at Party in a Box to make a booking enquiry.  They have a range of options and themes available – if they can make a glamping experience work perfectly as a Movie Night for a 13-year-old boy and his mates, then trust me, you will be blown away by how stunning this experience is!

 

 

Raising Kiwi boys – the good, the bad and the muddy

Karicare Toddler is about as Kiwi as the kids that are we are raising here in New Zealand. As a Mum to a couple of Kiwi boys, Karicare Toddler asked me to have a think about what it means to me to be a Kiwi mum.  Made right here in New Zealand, Karicare Toddler have been committed to using the goodness of New Zealand cows’ milk from Kiwi cows on Kiwi farms. How awesome is it that our kids can enjoy the benefits of amazing NZ dairy from their earliest years?!

13 years ago when I thought kids were (maybe?) a distant possibility in my future, I could only imagine parenting boys. The thought of raising a mini-Melissa terrified me – and rightly so if you ask my mother!

So imagine my ‘surprise’ when Dave and I fell pregnant whilst in the very early stages of planning our wedding. “Boys it is!” I assured Dave, only to be told at every single scan that we were expecting a girl.

The pink presents began rolling in. Despite living in Southern California at the time, baby girl had more pink blankets then she would ever be able to use and Mum had Pumpkin Patch on speed dial ready to snap up every cute girls outfit released that season.

Luckily most shops these days have a fantastic return policy.  Baby girl was indeed, an Ethan. And then 8.5 years later, another bouncing, 10.4lb bundle of joy – Nixon – arrived.

Those are my qualifications for writing about Kiwi boys. I know nothing I can assure you, and what I and other mothers of boys do know is learned (or earned) through the school of hard knocks, lost socks and empty pantries.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi KidsTwo children deep, hindsight has proven what an absolute angel our first child was. It’s almost unfair that we didn’t realise how easy those first 8.5 years of parenting actually were. Because the bomb sure dropped when Nixon arrived.

The large age gap seemed like a dream initially. Ethan was completely smitten with his little brother, he’d waited for him a long time after being present at the sonographers appointment where we found out I’d miscarried during my previous pregnancy.  He was/is a proud and protective (exasperated, tormented) big brother.

Nixon is ::: dramatic pause:::, the exception to every rule I thought I knew about parenting.  He is, without doubt, the loudest person in the universe, the most full-on, stubborn, energizer bunny, tackle everything in his path then poke his finger in your eye just for kicks kid I have ever encountered.  He is also, unerringly cuddly, affectionate, verbose and crazy smart.  

We completely redecorated the house in 2011/12 and post-toddler-Nixon we will have to completely redecorate again.  Rimu windowsills, painstakingly stripped and refinished are now scarred, scratched, chipped and dented.  Walls, all re-plastered and painted have met the same fate.  Cushions vs marker pens, couch vs ballpoint, carpet vs play dough/dirt/dinner, brand new kitchen flooring vs laundry basket zoomed across it at top speed.  If you scoff and say “well, that’s just life with kids”, well perhaps.  Toddler destruction totally caught me by surprise as Ethan in his 13 years on this earth, has never, ever damaged our home or furnishings.

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Nix must have known I needed a great shot of him for the blog today so he obliged by mixing dirt for his vege planters………in his bedroom!

So, despite looking very, very similar our boys are as different as chalk and cheese and are also probably as different as night and day to the other million or so little boys that are growing up around New Zealand at the same time.  That’s really the beauty of our little country in these modern times, differences are (for the most part) tolerated and celebrated.  We are all raising our children in different family configurations, different housing arrangements, with different cultural influences and religious beliefs, more diets than you can shake a stick at but we are at peace amongst an alarming and ever-increasing rate of intolerance in the world around us.

The joy of both being a Kiwi kid and having the immense privilege to raise one – or 2 or 10 or however many you want – is an awesome journey to be on.  Of course, it’s made infinitely easier when there are fab products such as Karicare Toddler that are made in New Zealand and help us give our kids a great start in life.

This post is brought to you by Karicare Toddler.

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Competition closes Dec 10 2018. NZ residents only.

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Your People

On Friday afternoon I was asked to fill in for a touch team that night at 6.30pm.

I’d never played for this team before.  

Didn’t really know who was in it.  

Playing meant delaying Friday drinks.  I say that like it’s an ‘occasion’ but it’s really Dave and I avoiding the children’s bedtime with a can in hand and pretending we’re loving life at the minute until we can’t stand the kids fighting a moment longer!  So yes, playing meant delaying drinks for an hour or so as my mediocre skill level doesn’t really need alcohol impeding my performance anymore than natural selection already has.

However, playing meant leaving the house at 6pm and avoiding bedtime altogether.

Naturally I said yes.

So our touch rugby team plays at the club on Thursdays, it’s a busy night, lots of teams and lots of our friends.  Friday touch is still at our local club, literally a stones throw from our house, but has a smaller league of teams and I had no idea who would be there.

I left the house in a usual ‘Mum-dithery-rush’ carrying nothing which was entirely refreshing as I’ve had to lower myself to using an Iphone 4s whilst my beautiful Samsung is getting a new screen installed.  LIFE IS SO HARD RIGHT NOW, DAMN YOU TINY PHONE!

Needless to say the phone stayed at home and Dave ended up chasing after me with $20 in case I wanted to stay for a drink.  Some people won $44 million in Lotto this week, we won $109!!!  Cash rich yo.

The point to this schpiel is thus;  you might have daughters, in which case, a place you might find yourself often could be a ballet studio, or slumped in the stands watching hours on end of gymnastics, or freezing your tits off alongside a netball court all winter.  I have two boys and live one street over from a rugby club, ergo, we are there ALL the damn time.  Wherever you find yourself because of your kids or your job or your husband, or your parents, make friends, make those people your people.  Take the opportunity to get out of the house on a Friday night when the last thing you want to do is run around wondering if your muffin top is escaping the compression tights yet and throw a freaking ball!

Because the person catching it just might want to sit down afterwards and have a beer and talk about Donald Fucking Trump or tattoos, or kids – subjects you could go on about for hours.  

Find your people wherever life has landed you.  They are there, I guarantee it.  They might not look like you or your preconceived notion of what your tribe should look like but they are there and they are quite possibly awesome.

Let me know when you find them xx

PS love you Old Spice, On Target and all you other westie randoms that make our club so rad x

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Easy Oral Health Tips for Kids + Win a Philips Sonicare Toothbrush!

 

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My two boys are complete opposites when it comes to brushing their teeth and sticking to a good oral health routine.  One will want to brush his teeth every single time he hears someone in the bathroom, whilst the other will ‘forget’ and actually leave the house – my worst nightmare! – without brushing his teeth.

We are not sharks (good discussion starter with your kids perhaps? lol), with only two sets of teeth over our lifetime we need to take super good care of them and teach our kids to do the same.  Like anything, establishing great oral health habits isn’t complicated, it’s just about consistency and routine.  Combining these two things with the right tools and your kids should be well on their way to a lifetime of great oral hygiene… fingers crossed!

Easy Oral health Tips for Kids

    1. Fluoride Toothpaste
      A tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste is recommended to clean children’s teeth as soon they pop up.  Fluoride helps to strengthen teeth and prevent decay.
    2. Don’t fear the Dentist!  
      In New Zealand kids receive free basic dental care until they’re 18!  Yay!  This means, regular checkups, cleaning, X-rays, preventative treatments like fluoride or fissure, sealants, fillings and extractions.  Your child should be automatically enrolled at birth and be seen for their first check-up before they turn two.  Nix has just been for his 2nd visit and it’s totally no big deal, it honestly takes 10 minutes max and he enjoyed the whole process.  Call 0800 Talk Teeth (0800 825 583) for more info.
    3. Start early
      Good oral hygiene begins even before bubs has his/her first teeth.  Using a soft cloth to clean gums and their tongue helps remove bacteria in the mouth.  Keep up the good work with gentle brushing with fluoride toothpaste once teeth develop and continue to monitor toothbrushing habits until kids are at least 8 years old.
    4. Do it right
      Technique is everything!  Kids can struggle with the amount of pressure to use, the right angles to hit those hard to reach spots and remembering which segment they’ve brushed etc.  Having the right tools helps. Ethan’s been using the Philips Sonicare for Kids Toothbrush which uses a dynamic side-to-side cleaning action, rather than a rotating action and has over 31,000 brush strokes per minute which helps remove more plaque than a manual toothbrush, and (I’m sure!) is hugely more effective than the snail’s pace with which he was brushing his teeth before!
    5. Floss
      I didn’t know this!!!  Kids should be flossing as soon as teeth are touching the adjacent tooth.  Flossing removes bits of food and plaque that get stuck between teeth, as brushing alone simply can’t reach these tricky spots.  It’s about time that our boys step things up in this department.

The toothbrush E’s using below is the new Philips Sonicare for Kids.  It’s totally removed my urge to monitor how long he spends brushing his teeth as it has a built-in KidTimer that lets him know when it’s time to switch to a new spot and (crucially!) when he has finished brushing his teeth.  He’s also been able to customise it with fun, interchangeable stickers that have got little Nixon seething about his big brother’s new fancy toothbrush!  Suitable for ages 4+, Nix will have his own soon enough.  A bathroom used by two young boys can get super messy, so I’m loving the anti-roll feature of the Philips Sonicare which helps keep the bathroom at least a little bit cleaner!

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You can win a Philips Sonicare for Kids toothbrush RRP $99.95 right here!

To enter, comment below with any tips you have for getting the kids to brush and I’ll choose a winner at random 17/11/16!  NZ residents only.  You can gain a second entry here > Happy, Healthy Halloween Ideas for Kids.New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Healthy Halloween Ideas

 

Happy, Healthy Halloween Ideas for Kids

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Healthy Halloween Ideas

Love it or loathe it, New Zealanders are slowly adopting a more favorable view of Halloween.  My opinion is simply that dressing up is super-fun for kids so let them have it whilst they’re still young enough to enjoy a special, spooky night out in their neighborhood.

I’m not one to get on the sugar bandwagon either, but there’s no denying it’s definitely the time of year when littles can go crazy on excess amounts of Trick or Treat candy.  Moderation is a wonderful thing but I don’t know anyone under the age of 12 – or 45? – who can resist delving into their Halloween loot a little more often than they should.

We all know that sugar and lollies are bad for kids teeth and oral health so I’ve teamed up with Philips Sonicare and come up with some ideas to help you and the kids focus on getting into the ‘theme’ of Halloween, rather than just dressing up and celebrating for the haul of Trick or Treat lollies at the end of the night!

When I watch my kids brush their teeth I swear I can count each brush stroke with ease as the boys seem to move in slow motion!  They’ve realised that spending the correct amount of time brushing their teeth *might* be halfway to fooling Mum and Dad that they’ve actually done a great job!  Ethan’s new Philips Sonicare toothbrush uses a dynamic side-to-side cleaning action, rather than a rotating action and has over 31,000 brush strokes per minute which helps remove more plaque than a manual toothbrush, and (I’m sure!) is hugely more effective than the snail’s pace with which he was brushing his teeth before.

5 Ways you can cut the sugar and ramp up the fun this Halloween

  • Host your own Halloween Party instead of Trick or Treating

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We used to do this all the time when Ethan was little and walking the streets was just too much for him.  This is also a great idea if you live semi-rurally or your neighborhood isn’t conducive to Trick or Treating.  A party can remove the lollie element entirely and allow you to serve healthy, SPOOKY snacks the kids will love!  Remember a kids party doesn’t have to be elaborate, they’ll be having tonnes of fun in dress-ups with their friends, but, if you want some party inspo, you can check out my Pinterest Halloween Party board here

  • Stay at home and offer healthier Trick or Treat snacks  

Your kids will have just as much fun playing host to the neighborhood ghosts and ghouls as they would Trick or Treating themselves!  Pop a orange or black balloon on the mailbox to show your house is Halloween-friendly and serve healthy, fun themed treats to whomever comes knocking!  I’ve pinned loads of Healthy Halloween Treat ideas here

  • Offer non-food alternatives for Trick or Treaters

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Healthy Halloween IdeasWho said Trick or Treating has to be all about food?  Think outside the box and head to your local dollar store for some spooky bargains.  Think pencils, mini spiders or other creepy-crawlies, stamps, stickers, glow-sticks or erasers.  Most of these can be found in multi-packs which makes them really inexpensive and a great surprise for the kids!  Or, make a batch of homemade orange play-doh, divide it up and wrap small balls in clear cellophane and tie with a green ribbon – super cute for littles!

  • Head out to a Halloween Event instead of Trick or Treating
New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Healthy Halloween Ideas
Image from original blog post by Frugal Momeh

Many cities host amazing Halloween events where kids and adults can dress up enjoy the entertainment and forget about Trick or Treating altogether!  Check out Halloween in the Village if you are in Auckland.

  •  Host a Halloween Craft Station in your front yard

Give Trick or Treaters something to take away that’s NOT filled with sugar!  A simple craft or activity station can be a welcome respite for littlies (or parents with weary feet!).  Some easy ideas can be found on my Halloween Craft board but I’m loving the Apple Pumpkin Stamps pictured by Frugal Momeh.

Fun ideas right?  I hope you’re feeling excited and looking forward to a Halloween with a little less sugar this year!  Philips have done a great job inspiring me to get this post out of my head and onto the blog as well as inspiring Ethan to be a little more diligent when it comes to brushing his teeth!

The toothbrush E’s using below is the New Philips Sonicare for kids.  It’s totally removed my urge to monitor how long he spends brushing his teeth as it has a built-in KidTimer that lets him know when it’s time to switch to a new spot and (crucially!) when he has finished brushing his teeth.  He’s also been able to customise it with fun, interchangeable stickers that have got little Nixon seething about his big brother’s new fancy toothbrush!  Suitable for ages 4+ Nix will have his own soon enough.  A bathroom used by two young boys can get super messy, I’m loving the anti-roll feature of the Philips Sonicare which helps keep the bathroom at least a little bit cleaner!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Healthy Halloween Ideas

You can win a Philips Sonicare for Kids toothbrush RRP $99.95 right here!

To enter, comment below with a sugary treat that you’d find hard to give up and I’ll choose a winner at random 17/11/16!  NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Healthy Halloween Ideas

Things I’ve learned about Saturday Sport

Our 5th season as rugby parents has just come to a close, and with that our washing machine, gumboots, weekday evenings and Saturday mornings breathe a collective sigh of relief!

Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE rugby, but it’s a big commitment at J1 level – and the commitment is required by the whole family, not just Ethan.

In terms of wins, it wasn’t the greatest season for the team.  In terms of intangible personal growth and the cementing of lifelong friendships for both players and their parents (I hope!) – it was a cracker season.

That’s the beauty of sport.  For boys Ethan’s age, (those navigating the notoriously up-and-down pre-teen Chasm of Angst) having an outlet that is theirs is a must.  They need to be able to forget about who they are ‘supposed’ to be at school or at home, forget about the pressure of growing up while still feeling like a little boy at times and simply focus on a single ball – without the distractions of homework, chores and devices.

Sport can be an amazing respite for both growing minds and parents alike!

Things I’ve learnt about Saturday Sports

  • It doesn’t matter which sport it is, it’s ALL good.  Sports code snobbery exists to some degree, other parents will tell you up and down that soccer/rugby/hockey is the absolute BEST sport for EVERY kid.  Ignore.  The best sport is the one your child enjoys!  Ethan played 2 seasons of soccer before transitioning to rugby and enjoyed every second of it.
  • You can only be *THAT* parent for so long before your loud, bad attitude gets you kicked off the field and your kid is embarrassed by your sideline coaching/bullying.  Just don’t go there guys!
  • Tired kids can’t hang.  It’s so tempting to throw bedtimes out the door on Friday night, but it might pay to reconsider how late you let your little athlete stay up.  Kids enjoy their activities so much more when they are full of energy and can give 100%.
  • You’re going to get cold and wet.  Really wet.  Always keep a large umbrella in your car and expect game time to be colder than you think.
  • Kids playing field sports will get muddier than you can possibly imagine.  Keep a plastic bin in the car for muddy boots and gear and wrap kids up on old towels for the ride home.
  • Just like their mates Tired Kids, Hungry Kids struggle to get up and at ‘em on the sports field.  Make time for breakfast before the game, even if it means cutting your Saturday sleep-in a bit short (I’ve heard sleeping in exists but it’s a total myth in my house lol).  Also be prepared for ravenous kids after the match.  Pack some easily portable, nutritious snacks such as nuts, fruit, vege sticks plus plenty of water.  Pro-Tip: a warm thermos of MILO will do wonders for chilled hands and tummies plus has a 4.5 star health rating!

Choosing wellness for ourselves and our families is something that we all consider (and are reminded of constantly!) but honestly, sometimes it becomes difficult to prioritize and can seem really overwhelming, especially when you’re doing the parenting juggling act!

Implementing one small change at a time can help make lasting differences.  For example, using the points above, focus on earlier bedtimes for the whole family (Mum and Dad included!) one week, try working on better – more relaxed/more nutritious/less stressy breakfasts the following week.

For more inspiration and lots of tips to help you make small, positive changes in your life take the Nestlé Choose Wellness Quiz here.

Win with Nestle!

If you would like to win an amazing Nestlé Prize Pack valued at $150, share a small change you’d like to make in the comments below.  NZ residents only, competition closes 15/10/16.  For a second chance to enter visit click here > Winter Rugby – Our Kiwi Saturday Morning Ritual

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FASHION CHALLENGE AUTUMN 2015 | Trending for Boys

A little chill in the air at night is certainly hinting that Autumn is here, meaning it’s time to think about ditching the sandals, lowering the hemlines and starting to add a couple of layers to our summer wardrobes.  I’m super excited to be taking part in The Warehouse’s Fashion Challenge this season, meaning I will be heading in store as an official blogger to dress our family head to toe in the latest trends for $200 or less!

Autumn Mens clothing The Warehouse Mum Blogger nZ

Autumn Fashion Trends Boys The Warehouse Mummy Blogger NZ

1.  Urban Equip Volley Shorts $20

2.  DC Mens Tee $25 – on sale for $15

3.  Urban Equip Robbie Shoes $30

4.  Active Intent Men’s Zip Thru Sweatshirt $29

So first things first: E does not wear pants.  Ever.  So updating his wardrobe for seasonal temperature fluctuations is essentially an exercise in layering!  Second thing, my delicious 10 year old is a big guy, we shop in the men’s department so sometimes it can be a little tricky finding on-trend and age appropriate outfits that he loves.  But, dude picked this whole outfit himself including the shoes in approximately seven minutes, and he totally nailed it right?  The graphic print shorts are my absolute fave, they are the perfect ‘above-the-knee’ length which is hard to find when you are 10 years old and shopping in the mens department!  The DC t-shirt was on sale for $15!!  I initially thought this combined with the shorts was going to look a bit too blue, but I think the outfit just comes across as very smart and well-styled.  

The super-wide drawstring in the zip hoody is a nice, updated look for this common winter staple.  This sweat will get worn to death so I’m loving it’s neutral base which ties in perfectly with the grey Robbie Shoes that E chose!  What a hip little guy – I think I’ll keep him x

Autumn Mens clothing The Warehouse Mum Blogger nZ Autumn Mens clothing The Warehouse Mum Blogger nZ

 

Getting our craft on with My Fun Box

Subscription boxes of all descriptions are huge right now, am I right?  Whatever you’re into, be it make-up, jewellery, food, organics, kids toys……..you can part with your cash and get a box of ‘happy mail’ landing on your doorstep once a month.  From my experience these boxes of glorious consumerism can be a bit hit and miss.  I know my own family has more than enough tangible possessions as it is, so despite the allure that a monthly box of surprises holds, I won’t be setting up any recurring payments anytime soon.

Rant over.  

E and I were stoked to have been sent The Ready, Steady, Go! box to review, filled not with toys but with activities!  This is where My Fun Box departs from the crowd.  Instead of a box of curated items, each box is packed with everything you need to fully complete three projects.  Essentially, you make your own fun.  Um, did I mention that everything you need is included in the box?  No, well, guess what?  EVERYTHING you need is included in the box!  Even glue!  Even tape!  Scissors were required which is totally do-able, even in my house which is pretty barren of craft supplies.  No subscriptions required either, you can order a one-off box or send one as a gift.

So we sat down on Saturday morning and got to work.  I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t done anything like this with Ethan in way too long, so I was rearing to go.

Together we made 3 exploding chalk rockets, a balloon car and a convertible frisbee.  Each of the three activities called on different skills and levels of assistance from me, though the origami-style folding required for the paper frisbee got even me a bit lost!  Thank goodness there are video tutorials available if you’re a bit of a mung like me and need some extra help lol.  My Fun Box suggests these activities are suitable for ages 3-10, and that’s probably true, however Ethan is 10 and he did require some assistance, so be prepared to help!  Actually, I think that is the beauty of My Fun Box, actually sitting down and completing a project with your child is freaking awesome.  Not going to lie, we had a couple of moments as we always do but it was a lovely hour or so with no electronics!  I can totally see the value in having a box on hand to bust out during winter when cabin fever sets in.  

We did require a bit of extra sticky tape to complete the balloon car and had a bit of a problem with the length of the axles, but we actually turned this into a really cool problem solving task which saw Ethan troubleshoot and figure out what we needed to do to get the little wheels spinning.

Read more about this kiwi company and Mum-preneur Renee here

Kids Subscription Box New Zealand Mummy Blog

Childhood Unplugged

I’m pretty sure he doesn’t realize it at the moment, but I’m hoping that this Saturday just been will firmly cement itself in Ethan’s head in an “oh yeah, that’s what we did when I was a kid” kinda way.  It won’t be a Best Day of My Life kind of memory, more of the Normal Day in the Neighborhood variety; similar to the memories I have of riding bikes until dark {sans helmets of course!}, playing tennis on the road, rollerskating and pole tennis tournaments.  Awesome memories that make me smile every time I cast my mind back.

E’s rugby coach came and picked him up in the morning to assist in a working bee at the clubhouse.  He got stuck-in with his friends and teammates, scrubbing the tackle-bags, hopefully doing a good job and learning a thing or two about chipping in and helping out, pride in your club and team spirit.  He had a great time by the sounds of it, yet I can’t even imagine what would happen if he was forced to clean anything at home that took longer than 10 minutes – it doesn’t bear thinking about honestly!

Whilst he was at the club, two of his other mates that live close by had popped over twice, desperate to go eel fishing with E in the river.  Despite his protestations, we sent him off to find his friends when he arrived home.  He totally wanted to stay at home, sit on the couch and play Xbox or Clash of Clans or some other waste of summer.  It was worth the fight and the filthy looks as Dave and I knew he’d be stoked within 5 minutes of walking out the door.  These are the battles that are worth fighting.  These are the ones that matter and will have a bigger long-term impact than policing wardrobe choices or riding his ass about every, single manners slip-up.

The three boys had an awesome {muddy} time down at the river and caught themselves an eel which they decided they were going to gut and eat.  They took care of business, hopped on their bikes and headed to another part of the river for an afternoon swim, supervised by one of their lovely Mums {not me, I was in DIY hell with a paintbrush and polyurethane but that’s another story}.  Following this they headed off on their bikes again to the third amigos house where their eel was pan fried and they shared dinner together.

Ethan arrived home on his bike at 8pm with some of their {surprisingly delicious} eel for us to try.  He was tired, happy and satisfied after a day which couldn’t really have had too much more ‘boy’ squeezed into it.  Good, old-school fun with an absolute minimum of screen time.  Loving it!

We live in a pretty special little pocket of Auckland that is very small {at this stage} and still very safe.  Ethan is 10 years old.  It’s time for him to experience independence {within clearly defined boundaries of course!} and having a little bit of freedom on his bike and with his friends is part of that imminent transition from child to teenager that is creeping ever closer.  Without showing him we trust him to make good decisions, he would be bored at home and we would be forever battling the screen.  It certainly helps to know other parents in your community and be able to quickly reach out and communicate with them via text message etc.  If you can find a lovely place for your children to spread their wings in a safe community, it’s worth every penny.

Childhood Unplugged Mummy Blog New Zealand