Friday, August 26, 2011

How to ditch the TV guilt

Have you ever felt mother guilt over letting your kids watch tv?

I have. In fact, I go back and forth on it in my mind on a daily basis. Which is strange, because to be honest, I don't mind if my friends let their kids watch TV. I don't really even notice. I'd probably find it strange if they didn't let their kids watch it! So why am I wasting my time feeling guilty?

This week, I decided to make the most of TV watching in our house instead of stressing about it, and it was a lovely, relaxed, fun week.

Here's what I did to get rid of the TV guilt: Used it for inspiration.

My daughter is currently obsessed with the show The Fairies. We have it on DVD and she watches it every day.

So this week, we've done some "Fairy craft":

Made "Fairy Photos":

Created our own "Fairy ring" to dance around:

Drawn home made colouring pages (which I then scanned and saved to save drawing them again next time):

And painted pictures using the Fairy colours (pink and purple):

We used things we already owned to do all of this so I didn't have to worry about finding the $ to pay for it all. I was actually a little surprised at how much we ended up doing!

I got 2 HUGE benefits from doing these activites this week: I had FUN with my daughter and still had time to get stuff done around the house: These activities were quick to set up, took between 10 - 20 minutes and then Soph played with them all afternoon while I went back to work. And I wasn't just passing the time doing them with her, I really loved it, especially when I saw how creative she was and how much she used her imagination :)

If she hadn't seen the show, I wouldn't have thought of any of these ideas. So to me, TV isn't bad anymore.

I'd love to know how TV watching influences your household - do your kids watch TV? How much? What do they watch? How do you feel about it?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review: Smith's Chips with less saturated fat

Chips are always going to be a 'sometimes' food for my kids - I try really hard to give them a healthy balanced diet.

That said, they are allowed (well, Sophie is - Georgie is only 2 months old) a treat twice a week - usually at their Grandparents' house :)

Treats for me mean things out of a packet - biscuits, cake, chocolate, chips, crackers, etc.

I was really happy to hear that Smith's have switched to sunflower oil as a healthier option. I tried them a couple of weeks ago and they tasted exactly the same to me - still crunchy, still the same nice flavour. I'll be more likely to pick them as the brand I buy when we have parties.

Here are a couple of things I didn't know about Smith's chips but was happy to find out:

  • One serve (27g) of the new Smith’s chips contains less than 0.9g of saturated fat (compared to 4.2g from chips cooked in 100% palmolein oil - the stuff they used before). That seems like a big difference to me..
  • Smith’s has also committed to reduce salt content by 25% across its product range by 2012. This is a big deal to me, as I am shocked at how high the salt content is in a lot of foods that kids aged 2 and under consume. Even in breakfast cereal and bread. And I can't find any Australian guidelines for how much salt kids can safely consume per day. That worries me.
Even with these changes, chips will still be a 'sometimes' food for my kids. But I feel a lot better on the days they have them now, and happy to buy Smith's.

I should point out that even though I'm strict with Sophie's diet, I am way too laid back with mine, and I think nothing of eating treats every day myself - usually when the girls are asleep. I know it's hypocritical and I'd love to be healthier myself to set a better example, but I just can't seem to get myself on track! Is anyone else like this, or is it just me?

**I was sent some complimentary packets of new Smith's chips for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own and 100% true.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Busy Mum Tips: 5 NEW ideas to help you cope with your brand new baby

Let's say you are about to have a baby. Or you have just had a baby. Or you know someone who has or will have a baby soon.

Here's some new advice that may help you out over the coming weeks and months of sleep deprived
busyness I call motherhood):

5 things to do to make life with a newborn easier:

1. When someone offers to help out, have a (small) To Do List ready: Sounds bossy, I know - but I've found that when someone offers to help, they really want to do something that makes your day a bit easier. So have a list ready with just the 3 main things you need to get done, and when someone offers, ask if they can help you with it (they can do it with you, for you, or hold the baby while you do it - whatever you are both comfortable with).

2. Schedule time to have a shower: Seriously. If you don't have a regular time put aside for you everyday, the time will fly, the day will be over and you'll be showering at 3am, or not at all. Work out a time with your partner or a friend / relative and let them have baby bonding time while you have a good long hot shower and feel like a person again :)

3. Cope with the workload by acknowledging motherhood is a job: Have a start time, finish time, and scheduled breaks each day. Write a standard list of things that need to be done every day, and prioritise it. Yes, you need to work it around the baby. Yes, some days it will all go pear shaped. That's ok. Having a basic structure helps you cope better in the long run, especially when you are sleep deprived and need to run on autopilot. That said, you still need time off so...

4. Book in occasional lazy days: With absolute minimum work. Just do enough to keep you all safe and happy. Stay home, in your pyjamas if you want. Watch TV. Nap. Have takeaway for dinner. And don't let anyone make you feel guilty about it - you work hard, you deserve some time off. But book it into your calendar, or you'll never do it.

5. Share the overnight workload with your partner: Overnight feeds are rough. And when you do them by yourself, they're lonely (even with a gorgeous, cuddly baby to keep you company). Regardless of who goes out to do paid work and who stays home, you both work hard all day. If you are both waking up at 6am and both going to bed at 11pm, you are both 'working' the same hours. So is it really that unreasonable to expect to share the workload overnight? Can you take turns waking to feed the baby? Or can you both get up and keep each other company? Or can one of you feed the baby while the other washes the dinner dishes that you were just too tired to do earlier?

That's my top 5 - I'd love to know what you think of them. What tips do you have for coping with a new baby?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Product Review: Yankee Candles and how to have the perfect bath time

A couple of weeks ago, after a few full on days, I decided to make Sunday afternoon all about me.

I drew a bubble bath, got out my bath caddy and filled it with wine, chocolate, the latest copy of Madison magazine and a gorgeous Shea Butter and Cedarwood candle from the Aromatherapy Spa Collection at Yankee Candle. SB & C is their stress relief blend and I needed it.

Look how pretty..

Except the caddy didn't really work... the magazine was way too close to the candle flame, I kept bumping my knee on the wine glass and my chocolate started to get soggy ;)

So I ditched the caddy, and set it all out like this instead:

Candle on the edge of the bath

my daughter's pink bathroom stool

Magazine on my towel on the toilet lid

Bath Caddy on the floor (ditched)
... and it was still the perfect bath. An hour later I was majorly stress relieved and ready to face the Wiggles again ;)
PS Yankee Candle also has a lovely Lavendar, Ylang-Ylang and Geranium candle that I loved just as much. You can have a closer look at them here, and here's the link to my all time favourite candle style from their website :)
** I received some complimentary Yankee Candle samples for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

Friday, August 5, 2011

DVD Review: Downton Abbey

I missed this show on tv but everyone on Twitter was going crazy about it!

So when I got my hands on the DVD, I was very excited :)

I received just the first 3 episodes to review but I'm definitely getting the whole series to keep now - I was hooked within the first 5 minutes, and that hasn't happened to me since Grey's Anatomy..

I love seeing how people lived in other times, and watching how things worked back in 1912 was really interesting. I won't give away the story lines here but they are great and you get a good look at the lives of the household staff as well as the aristocrat family (which I think is even more interesting) so you will be glued to the lounge for hours.

Make sure you have plenty of Maltesars ready with this one and access to lots of tea (or wine!), you'll be watching it from start to finish if the first 3 episodes are anything to go by.

Downton Abbey has just been released on DVD to own for RRP $39.95. It includes special features (deleted scenes, extra footage, commentary and a 'making of') and is well worth having at home for rainy days...

Just so you know though, it's definitely Downton Abbey, not Downtown Abbey - yes, I made that mistake!


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