Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I ♥ geometric

The latest thing catching my eye is anything with a geometric look so I thought I'd share a few geometric designs I'm loving (and some colouring in sheets too.)
Triangle Twist design quilting cotton - FQ
Triangle Twist design quilting cotton - FQ
This is part of Susie's FlowerPress 'Toy Box' series of fabric designs available on Etsy. (Check out Susie's wonderful blog here too- http://www.flowerpress.blogspot.com)

Mahogany Ring No. 2
Bliss in a Teacup wooden ring on Etsy- these are handmade by a clever NZ crafty couple.
Wooden pattern blocks- we've got some of these and my 2 and 4 year olds love playing with them and making patterns and designs. It looks like you can't buy less than the pack of 250 but you could always halve or quarter the pack and make up some packs for gifts I guess!
Here's a great tutorial I came across for some painted Geometric art
And I made some Geometric colouring sheets the other day-I even coloured one too after reading this post from Meg at Growing Kiwi's -it really is relaxing!


And here's the reason I've got geometric on my mind- we watch this video heaps- the girls love it (and me too!)
Megan

Friday, January 27, 2012

PE for grown-ups


Well I've just finished Week 2 of the 6 week Cross Fit Boot Camp I signed up to at Mount Cross Fit through a Grabone deal.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a morning person and am pretty much the most unlikely person to join up to an exercise programme but I am so glad I did- it is awesome! Running barefoot on the beach this morning as the sun was rising was really cool and the workouts so far have been challenging (in a good way) and really good for both cardio and strength training.  There's heaps of variety each session and a good mix of indoor and outdoor workouts. My hubby said Boot Camp is like PE for grown ups and it really is but a lot more motivating than high school PE!! You are split into groups based on your fitness level (and there's all ages and fitness levels at bootcamp)  and then you follow a programme in your group that involves some running (mostly short distances more like sprints with a few longer ones as well)  and heaps of other exercises. There's lots of partner stuff where one does the exercise while the others rests and then swaps which is great. And each group has their own trainer that takes you through everything and is a great motivator.  Check it out here if you are keen to find out more - http://mountcrossfit.com/bootcamps - and don't get freaked out by the pics of really cut people running in gas masks on their website- we haven't had to do anything like that!!! Boot Camp is great because it caters for all fitness levels from beginners like me to really fit people and elite athletes and there's a real team spirit feeling in the group. And you even get a free t-shirt ;) Next intake for the Mount one is 5th March and is limited to 60 people.
This sounds like one big ad for Boot Camp but as you have probably gathered from my blog I'm one of those people that gets really enthusiastic about things and wants to share it with everyone!  And I'm probably still on adrenalin from this morning;)   On their website they say "You will get fit and you will have fun" which pretty much sums it up!
http://mountcrossfit.com/- there are links to other CrossFit gyms on their website too
http://mountcrossfit.com/bootcamps
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mount-CrossFit/180644298639744
www.crossfitnz.co.nz- Auckland based Cross Fit Gym
Megan

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A giveaway from Munchkins- Baby Head Rest

Hi all, I hope you're having a great week. I've got a lovely giveaway to share from Laurene at Munchkins that would be great for anyone about to have a new baby (or know someone that's about to). It's a new product called a Baby Head Rest that reduces the risk of flat head in newborns. I would have loved one of these when my kiddies were newborns- when Jack was little the doctor said he was getting a bit of a flat head so we would roll towels up on each side of him and try to roll him one way a little which never really worked- he was quite happy lying flat on the his back facing up so this would have been really handy to have!  Here's some info about it....
"Flat-head syndrome" occurs in newborns and young babies when the back or sides of the head become flat or mis-shapen due to prolonged pressure from flat surfaces like cot mattresses on the skull while baby is asleep, or on their back.

* Made from shape memory foam with a soft cotton cover, the Baby-Head-Rest has been developed in Australia. It provides gentle support for baby’s head and allows natural head movements in babies 0-4 months of age.
Baby-Head-Rest does not restrict the movement of baby's head in any way.

* Baby-Head-Rest was designed in response to the dramatic increase in the incidence of Flat Head Syndrome partly due to the successful SIDS Back to Sleep program. Medical professionals say that it is still very important to sleep babies on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS

Laurene is offering one of these Baby Head Rests to giveaway- to enter all you have to do is check out the Munchkins website and leave a comment back here telling me something you like the look of.  Two of my favourite products on their site are the Brolly Sheets which are so good when it's time to get rid of night nappies, and the Giimo night lights which I really like- no bulbs that keep blowing like other night lights we've bought and great for calming down an upset child in the middle of the night!

And for an extra entry like the Munchkins Facebook page where Laurene posts specials and other giveaways - just let me know in an extra comment.

Giveaway closes in 2 weeks time- Thursday 9th February. Giveaway is open to all so international entries are welcome :)


Good luck!
Megan

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My new design crush

Just before Christmas I was lucky enough to win this cute pair of baby shoes from the lovely blog Miss MollyCoddle.
I was able to choose the pair I wanted from Sarah's Felt Shop (after much deliberation as there were so many cute ones to choose from) and chose these 'rocket launcher' ones as I love the fabric. Jack looks so cute in them- thank you again Sarah :)

And then yesterday I read this blog post from The Little Craft Store  which had a photo of a sweet embroidery pattern. When I clicked on the link to the pattern I came across my new design crush- Sarah Jane Studios- who not only designed the fabric in the baby shoes above but also has The. Most. Gorgeous. range of prints, patterns, fabrics, books, jewellery and so much more.  So I thought I'd share some of my favourite things with you...


Children's Wall Art Prints- BE collection (4 - 8x10s) - Kids Nursery Room Decor

Children's Wall Art Print - Snuggle Me - 8x10 - Kids Nursery Room Decor

Embroidery Pattern PDF- On Parade
Necklace - Just Stay Little
Sarah Jane's necklaces are so sweet and would be such a special gift for a little (or big!) girl.  This one is tugging at my heart strings as my eldest is starting school soon.
2012 Wall Calendar - Sarah Jane - ON SALE
Check out her shop and blog- are you in love now too??!!
Megan x

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's Fitness Time

Last year I decided to finally start an exercise programme. I started in September and my main motivation was summer and wanting to buy my first new pair of togs in 5 years (I've been pregnant for 3 of the last 5 summers and didn't bother buying a new pair of togs between pregnancies). In the last 5 years (and quite a few years before that!) my only form of exercise has been walking which, while nice and relaxing and good for a dose of fresh air, was never full on enough to get puffed or feel like I'd done any 'real' exercise.  The last time I went for a run was probably high school cross country, and the last time I did a 'work out' was when I joined a gym in London about 8 years ago so I am no natural exerciser person. My other motivations for starting to exercise was the fact that I always felt tired, wanted to sleep better and also wanted to be fitter/healthier to keep up with the kids as they got older and more active.  Reading this book really motivated me as well- The Body Bible-
YSM "The Body Bible"
and especially what Kelli and Jodie say in the book about how you have to use energy to get energy- 'you can't just wait for energy to come to you - you have to do something to get it' which I thought was a great concept!  But it was still quite random how I got started- my 4 year old was practicing her skipping so I decided to have a go and then my hubby said 'can you do 100 skips' or something so I did (just!). Then I got talking about wanting to start some exercise so he came up with a little fitness plan I could do at home using just a skipping rope and a 4 kg kettle bell (which he had bought for me from Rebel Sport when he bought one for himself about a year ago and I had never used). I went on about how I didn't have much time between feeding Jack and all the rest and how I didn't want to do any sit ups so he made up a 20 minute workout that I could handle. I decided to commit to doing it 3 days a week and then in the weekend go for a big walk leading up to some running. I also gave myself the goal of sticking to it for a month before I was 'allowed' to go and buy some new sneakers as a reward.
All you need
So I thought I'd share the workout here if you are thinking about getting started and want a really basic one you can do at home even while the kids are around. I used to do it in the morning after I fed Jack and before I had my shower so it was done and dusted before I could dream up lots of excuses as to why I didn't have time that day! Neither me or my hubby are fitness experts- this is just what I did to get started :)

Warm up
Skip for 1 minute or 100 skips
Stretches

Workout
1. Skip 2 minutes or 200 skips
2. 10 Burpees (remember these from high school?!)
3. Skip 2 minutes or 200 skips
5. Skip 2 minutes or 200 skips
6. 10 Kettlebell squats holding the kettle bell in one hand then 10 squats holding it in the other hand (see the pic below) but just one hand at a time- so 20 in total
7. Skip 2 minutes or 200 skips
8. 10 tricep dips (I used our outdoor table bench seat for these)
9. 10 Burpees

Stretch to warm down



The first time I did this workout the next day I felt like I'd been hit by a bus ( I was seriously unfit) and the second day I had the sorest legs ever so my advice is to do your 2nd workout on the 3rd day as you still might be a bit sore but you will actually feel better after the workout. After that I felt fine most days after doing the workout.

For the first month I did this workout three times a week with a walk or run in the weekend, then because I found a friend also wanting to get into exercise I began just running twice a week with her with sometimes an extra one in the weekend instead of doing the workout. Still feeling surprised that I can actually run now- having a running partner was the best thing as it meant I had to go even when I didn't feel like it and I run a lot more than if I was on my own when I would probably walk a lot more than run! Then it went to a run once a week and a walk up the Mount once a week before Christmas. (and a big break over the New Year). So although I don't do the skipping/kettle bell workout now it was really good to get me started into some exercise. And I might go back to it especially in Winter when running in the evening isn't so appealing!

And to kick off  2012 (and use this blog to be accountable!) I have decided to commit to this for the next 6 weeks - a Cross Fit Boot Camp at Mount Cross Fit. It's a one hour workout three times a week for 6 weeks which isn't toooo daunting in itself (well only because I don't have much of an idea what it entails yet!) but it is at 6am which is going to absolutely kill me but I've signed up with my running partner so that will make me get out of bed! So will let you know how I go...

I hope I keep this up and it becomes just part of my life rather than being just another  'project' so will just have to see how I go as the year progresses! And it's been really cool seeing the girls copying me and doing their 'excises' as Stella says :)

And here are some extra links if you're interested...

http://www.maoritelevision.com/default.aspx?tabid=75&pid=12178- 'The Fit Club' is a really good half hour programme on Maori TV on Thursday nights all about health, fitness and nutrition.

http://crossfitnz.co.nz/- Auckland based Cross Fit gym- great info about Cross Fit and how it is different from a regular gym

http://www.crossfitsouthbay.com/2011/05/skinny-fat/-an interesting article to read

http://www.facebook.com/YSMTheBodyBible

Happy exercising!
Megan

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Finger foods for babies

I was talking to a mum a few weeks ago with the same age baby as Jack (nearly 9 months) and we were talking about feeding, solids, finger foods and all of that stuff us mums talk about.  Her baby was into his mashed solids but she hadn't started him on any finger foods and was wondering what I gave Jack. Jack has gone from being a baby who wouldn't eat a thing to what my step dad calls a 'boa constrictor'- he would eat all day now and especially loves finger food- that was how we actually got him to eat in the beginning as he preferred that to purees. So I thought I'd share the finger foods we feed Jack so if your baby is at this stage so you can get some ideas or maybe just find a new one you haven't tried.  I was a bit nervous starting him on finger foods earlier than the girls in case of choking but in the beginning that was all he was eating so we didn't have much choice (he eats mashed food now as well though). And a friend lent me a book about Baby Led Weaning which gave me lots of ideas and reasurrance on starting them early on finger foods.  Also, Jack doesn't have any teeth yet  but can eat all of these foods without any worries (pays to keep an eye on them though of course!)

Fruits and Vege's
* Banana's- I used to give them to him in slices but now I just give him the whole banana and watch him eat it a la Mr Boa Constrictor
* Canned peaches- great for 'desert''
* Steamed broccoli- he will chew on this for ages
* Cooked peas- tricky for him to pick up but good practice and he does eat them!
* Strawberries sliced in half
* Kiwifruit sliced longways
*Watermelon cut into small triangles
*Blueberries

Meat
* Sausages with the skin off and cut into really thin slices
* Lamb strips
* Shredded chicken from a roast or from the deli (this was the first meat we gave him and he really loves it.)
*Meatballs- we just break up our ones rather than making mini ones- he loves these too
*Shaved ham and luncheon

Dairy
* Yoghurt- I haven't tried the baby yoghurts with Jack - we just give him the same yoghurt as us
* Cheese slices- these were great with all 3 kids

* Grated cheese

Bread
* Rusks- he loves these dipped in hummus too
 
* Toast cut into fingers (or the crusts off his sisters' toast) and sandwiches sliced in fingers- spread with jam or marmite, just started giving peanut butter too. Hummus is a great spread too - thanks for the tip Nic :)
*Cruskits with cream cheese spread, hummus or marmite
* Rice crackers- these are the only crackers I give Jack as they sort of disintegrate as he chews on them rather than break off in his mouth
* Fruit sticks- they make a real sticky mess though!
* and my fav at the mo....Ginger nut biscuits- these are my go-to if I'm in town and he starts getting grumpy- the mess goes absolutely everywhere but one gingernut can keep him happy for at least half an hour!!
I also mix Farex into his pureed fruits and vege's to increase his iron intake- well I think that's what it's doing anyway ;)
farex baby cereal original mixed
And here's a link to the Watties finger foods charts which are really great- scroll down to Stage 3 Printables for Finger Foods 9 months +
http://www.forbaby.co.nz/All-Printables

Would love to hear of any more finger food ideas!
Megan

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A New Year

Hello all and a Happy New Year. I hope you all had a great new years- we had a really good one thanks to a friend's genius idea for 6 of us mums to leave the kids with the dads at her house (6 dads, 11 children including 4 babies) and head to a nice hotel for drinks and not come back till all the kids were tucked up in bed. Can you believe they let us.... and got them all to sleep! A really fun night and a great start to the New Year -only the 2nd I think where I have actually seen midnight since having children!  We also had a little holiday in Napier - the kids loved the aquarium, fishing off the wharf and having a few swims so it feels like we have had a really good break which was much needed by the end of last year as I'm sure most of you can relate!
I so love the start of a new year - the feeling of new beginnings, goals and resolutions to think about (loving reading everyone else's in blogland) and plans for the year.  I usually get on a big decluttering frenzy and this year has been no exception. We sorted out our storage shed which had got so bad we couldn't even get in it- I was climbing over stuff to reach the Christmas stuff back in December so it was awesome getting rid of heaps of stuff in there. We also did a big clean up of my hubby's shed which (mostly thanks to me) had also got out of control so that feel great to be able to see the workbench again.
How cute are kids gumboots :)
And today I sorted out most of the kitchen cupboards too so am feeling 2012 is off to a good start so far.  My 'organised home challenge' last year was a great motivator for me in the first half of last year of last year but as the year progressed things went a bit downhill where my house was anything but organised so I am looking forward to doing some more areas this year and sharing them here. Also am looking forward to sharing my latest project-a playhouse renovation which was heaps of fun to do (although possibly the main reason my grand plan of handmade christmas presents went out the window!) 
It feels like the beginning of a whole new phase of life this year- the first year in five years that I won't be pregnant or have a newborn baby! And my eldest is starting school this year plus I'm wanting to get back into some part time teaching too so there's lots of changes and  new things on the horizon.
Hope you are enjoying the start of 2012 as well, 
Megan
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