30 April 2013

MNM's Make: Which shape is the strongest?

I enjoy finding simple experiments to do with the boys that have a somewhat scientific basis and take no time at all to prepare for.

This weeks goal: find out which shape is the strongest 

Three pieces of card or strong paper

  1. Roll one piece of paper into a circle and attach with sellotape.
  2. Fold one piece of paper into a triangle (don't trim the excess just keep folding it the same shape - so that each piece of paper is equally strong) and then attach both ends with sellotape
  3. Fold one piece of paper into a square and do the same.
  4. Stand them all up on their ends and then gently begin placing books on them to see which shape can hold the most books.
In our experiment, the circle was the strongest. But I realised somewhat too late that I had folded the square a bit too big so it was weaker than the others from the start. 

Also the best books to use were reasonably small, square ones with not too much overhang. None of the shapes were as strong as I'd have liked so in the end we used the power of three by stacking the shapes one inside the other. By doing this, we got up to 14 books on our combined shapes before the card collapsed under the weight and they all tumbled off!

One unexpected event at the end of this little experiment happened as we went back in the lounge and Noah saw the sun being reflected into our lounge making an almost movie-like screen of the fence and trees outside on the wall.

We eventually realised that there was a building some kilometres away in the centre of the city whose glass was reflecting the late afternoon sun up into our lounge so we were able to use that as an opportunity to talk about the sun's rays and how light can be reflected in many different directions.

Loving having snippets of time to invest into the growth and learning of these two (crazies).

Joining in with Miriam and Becoming the Mama I Want to Be

Create Hope Inspire

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29 April 2013

on being a mama again....

I write this post in my head almost every day, but then most weeks it changes.

It feels like a pendulum and it's swinging wildly, and quite honestly I don't know when I'm ever going to stop the constant tick tock, back and forth.

Some weeks I feel very satisfied with my lot in life and think it would be madness to mess with the current formula. Other weeks I find myself already in the throes of planning how and when.

What am I talking about?

One day I'm all YES, I want to open myself to the gift of becoming a mama again. I close my eyes and I can hear the sound of another little MNM running around the house creating merry havoc, playing with his/her energetic big brothers, adding sparkle and individuality and God-breathed uniqueness to our family. I have no doubt a little person would multiply the mama love I have in my heart.

I know how much I've enjoyed this gift of being a mama to my 2 gorgeous boys and I know that the journey would be rich and rewarding.  These things I know with all my heart.

But then my head takes over.

The already-struggling-to-stay-afloat me says 'what on earth are you thinking you silly moo! Adding another child into your already busy lives when you already both work full-time would add even more challenge into the mix and require trying to juggle even more balls than you're already trying to keep up in the air. How on earth do you expect to be able to cope?'

The realist in me says 'Meg you're not even a natural baby mama. You don't even like the baby stage very much, you never really enjoyed breastfeeding, and if you're really honest, don't you spend most of the time waiting for them to grow up and get to the talking, walking stage when you actually find them fun?!'

The selfish side of me says 'look how hard you worked to get your body back after each baby. It took months of hard slog, eating well and exercising a lot. Do you really want to put yourself through that all over again?'

The health-conscious side of me says 'last year was really rough for you health-wise. Now that things seem to be on a bit more of an even keel, why would you risk all that going wrong again just to grow another baby?'

The practical side of me says 'how would it ever work? You're already so busy with various social and sporting commitments weeknights and weekends are already fully taken up with kids sports and church, where on earth would you fit in the needs of another little person amongst that?

The planner in me says 'the boys are already nearly 7 and 4. Isn't it getting a bit late to contemplate another kid without the age gap getting too big?'

The mama who feels like she spends half her time breaking up fights and negotiating says to me 'and you want to add another voice into the already loud and messy equation?' 

Oh my head keeps telling my heart that babies are hard work. Those long nights of endless feeding, the desperation of trying to get them into some kind of sleep routine when they aren't having a bar of it.

When we discussed children before we embarked on this journey, we both agreed that we only wanted two kids. And now we have those two beautiful kids. But that doesn't stop my heart from this longing, irrational though it might be. This longing is probably the subconscious reason why I haven't got rid of any of baby clothes, strollers, change table, bottles etc.

Even if I keep dismissing the idea out of mind, I know it will at some point come back because it always does. I don't honestly know if that longing will ever go away, or whether I will simply learn to live with it? And one day, a few years from now, I wonder will I look back and know we made the right decision?

All I know is right now.....I still don't know.

26 April 2013

Things I'm Loving 26.4.13

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful for..no matter how simple it is.

Avocado App
Loving this free app Mark and I have been using  - in it you can share a little private love just you and your loved one. You can send a kiss or a hug, make a to-do list to tick off, or even share some slightly risque messages - and no I won't be sharing those with you!

Even the avocado looks sexy and beautiful don't you think?!

Anton and the Battle
Loving this cool story that I won from Widge's giveaway. It's about 2 wee guys who spend the whole book trying to outdo each other with who is bigger, louder and stronger. It is quite possibly the perfect book for two brothers who love doing just the same!

Little Wellington
Loving this cool video which makes Wellington look like a mini landscape. Gosh, I love my city.

little wellington from Michael Jo on Vimeo

Chocolate Beard
Loving little Chocolate Beard my baking pirate who willingly licks any bowls going begging.

New gears
Loving a boy who loves his football. Even though he's grown so much he needed new boots AND new shin pads this year. Daddy got a very good deal on them too - $60 for both. And how happy does he look!

I'm loving this band. I'm a little late to the party becoming a fan but nevertheless they are great. I love the East Coast feel of their music. Love the lead guy's voice (Nate Reuss) and he totally reminds me of Mark Wahlberg!

My boys
It's not often I can get all four of them in one photo so I really treasure this pic.

What are you treasuring in your week?

Here's how you can join in this week:

Link up below with your blog post telling us what you're loving, and grab the Things I'm Loving button below for your post too. Don't forget to share the love by visiting all the other lovelies who have joined in - the linky is open till same time next week!

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25 April 2013

A few randoms for ya...

There's nothing like a few headings plonked together to fill out a blog post that is really nothing more than some random and maybe related streams of thought. So here goes:

A little help
With the busyness of our lives, which is likely to be even busier soon with my change in job, and also juggling 3 lots of sports and church on the weekend,  trying to find time just to get the basic housework done around the house was going to be an increasing challenge. So.....we finally went and got ourselves a cleaner.

A sweet little Colombian lady who was recommended by a friend across the road. The lovely Rosalina has been in NZ for 9 years and has grandkiddies that are our kids ages, but even so her English is still pretty marginal. Which made for some entertaining misinterpreted text messages while we were trying to sort out meeting up and she ended up standing outside the wrong house for a while. One text said to me 'I am in your house'. To which I wanted to respond (but didn't of couse) 'You can't be because I am in my house and you're definitely not here with me!' And even more entertaining that she'd also lost her voice so were were trying to communicate sans-English, sans-voice when she did arrive.

Once we'd sorted out all the finer details of how it might all work, we arranged that she would come for 2 hours on a Wednesday at 8.30am. Or so I thought. So Mark got a bit of a surprise when she arrived at 7.45am! As he said on a text to me 'lucky I wasn't running around the house in my undies', which he could have easily been doing at that time of the morning getting himself and the boys ready for work, school and daycare. But she didn't seem to mind them being around, and got stuck straight into it and the house looked awesome and clean when we got home that night. I'm hoping it will be worth every penny!

Pimp Swap my ride
I cannot get over how dinky my new Suzuki Swift ride is. Like it only takes up half a carpark. The first time I parked it in a car park space I got out and LAUGHED at how much room there was still behind me in the space. With our old Camry, I was forever worrying about being too far forward or too far back with the towbar hanging over the edge of the space behind me.  With the extra driving I'll be doing every day to the new job, and the Camry now 20 years old...and being a huge gas guzzler...and the recent discovery it has a bit an oil leak and...and....and..., it was time to upgrade to a newer, more economical option.

We'd been looking on TradeMe for a few weeks, but Swifts are apparently hard to come by in Wellington as we hadn't seen a single one come up for sale. So when we saw one last week with low kms (30,000) and one lady owner, we jumped at the opportunity to take it for a test drive and bid on it. The bidding process was blooming nerve-racking though and it went down to the wire, with our last (and winning) auto-bid being the maximum we'd both agreed that we wanted to pay for the car. So we really felt it was meant to be!

Toyota Camry V6 GX 1993
The old

The new

When I look at these pics, it makes me laugh. The cars are a similar colour so it almost looks as if we just took our old Camry and squished up both ends to make the new Swift. Ha ha!

Oh and don't get me started on the fact the Swift has rear parking sensors. Amazeballs! They start beeping when you're getting close to whatever is behind you, and gradually the beeps get closer together until they are one long continuous tone and that is the point at which you really should STOP! The funny thing is I am so used to having a much longer car that so far I've stopped after I've heard the beeps when reversing, then I've got out of the car only to find I still have at least half a metre up my sleeve!

Oh I'm rubbing my hands with glee to think how handy Suzy (could I call her anything else!) will be getting into tight parking spaces at school pick-up time. No more driving past all these cute little spots thinking 'I'll never fit in there'. Because oh yes I will baby - those little beeps will make all things possible!

When the stars don't align
So sometimes the stars don't align - with comic consequences. Last week I'd given my front door key to Rosalina so she could come and clean the house this week. Last night we picked up the new car which we parked in the driveway and not in the garage (since the Camry is still in there till we get rid of it). This meant I didn't have a garage door opener with me like I usually would. So no great surprise that I got home this afternoon and discovered I had no way to get in the house. Hmmmm not my finest hour, especially as I had thought to myself as I was leaving the house this morning and spied the spare front door key on its hook that I really must go and get a new key cut for myself!

Luckily Noah had been at a playdate this afternoon and the boy's mum happened to text right then to say we could come over and pick him up. It ended up being pretty great timing as I was getting more and more desperate for the loo and had even considered dropping my trou and weeing in the garden if I'd had to wait another half an hour for Mark to get home. Thankfully the flowers and weeds were spared that pretty sight for another day!

Does anyone else have a view on Monday-ising these midweek holidays of ours? Personally, I'm all for it because it's bloomin annoying to lose one or both of these holiday days when they happen to fall on the weekend. And I NEVER can get my head around having one day off in the middle of a week and then having to go back to work again for a day or two. I went to make my lunch and breakfast twice last night before hubby reminded me that 'Meg, tomorrow is a holiday, you don't need to'. The second time, I was seriously tempted to slap my own forehead for not remembering!

So I will enjoy this day off - because it is a VERY special day in our history that I am incredibly grateful for, don't get me wrong, I have a Pa - that's my dad's dad - who fought bravely in North Africa and brought home the Military Cross for his efforts - but I will be even happier when it's Monday-ised (since it's likely to become law soon!) and we all get the added benefit of a longer weekend with it!

So, that's about all the randomness I have for now, I hope you are enjoying your day off too. Contemplating the amazing sacrifices of those who have gone before, leaving us an incredible inheritance of this peaceful, free country.

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23 April 2013

How To: create an Instagram feed on your blog

These days there are many different ways we can choose to share our lives online.

Facebook, blogging, Instagram, Twitter - there are so many choices. For me, my choice is to post updates with pictures that tell a story which is why I love Instagram, but what I love even better is being able to post Instagram to Facebook AND the blog in one easy step.

Here's how you do it:

Go to snapwidget.com.

Click on Get Your Free Widget

Enter your Instagram username and modify the other settings to your choosing.

Then click on Get Widget.

Copy the text from the box and then go to your blog Layout page and click on Add a Gadget.

Scroll down and choose the Configure HTML/Javascript from the gadget options.

Then paste in the text that you copied from the Snapwidget box.

Select where you would like the Instagram feed to show up - i.e. in your side bar etc and re-arrange your other gadgets as necessary.

Happy auto-Instagramming!

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22 April 2013

How perspectives change....

I've been thinking a lot lately about our perspectives on age and how they change over time.

If you are like me, you might remember growing up how much wiser and cooler older people seemed. This was definitely true for me, especially in my teens. Case in point, at age 14 I was besotted with some of our best cricketers of the day, which is why I had such a crush on Chris Cairns for a few years. Plus he was is pretty dreamy. Let's face it, he still got my heart a flutter last week and he's now 42! Seeing him brought back all the old memories of what it felt like to have a teen crush on a much older guy.

And yet I've now realised that he was only ever  6 years older than me, which at this stage of life is a mere blip of an age gap. For example, I now have great friends who are 10 years younger than me and I don't even batter an eyelid at the difference in our ages.

In fact, most of the time I have a hard job reminding myself that I am now in my mid-thirties. Just last week at the airport when I arrived in Christchurch, someone asked me how old I was and the words 34 popped out of my mouth. What the?! I'd only turned 36 two days before - you'd think I should have been able to remember that! Wishful thinking on the part of my subconscious there I think.

Something else that I have been realising is that despite how young I still feel most days (although ask me at 6.30am on a Saturday morning with 2 boys bouncing on the bed around me and you might get a different response!) that actually - I am not as young as I once was.

This was illustrated by meeting 2 people in the last month who I assumed were at least 5 if not 10 years older than me. These were both very attractive women but from my knowledge of their own personal lives and the ages of their kids I had just assumed that they were a lot older.

So I was kind of gobsmacked when through the course of conversations I found out that they were both only 1 year older than me....eeeek! It has made me realise that I am aging along with the rest of the general population. But....gracefully I hope!

 So I'm not quite sure when the perspective shift occurred...and I suddenly went from this young thing thinking everyone was so much older and more mature to this thirty-something who is suddenly realising that those around me who look older and more mature are in fact probably MY AGE.....I gotta admit it's a bit of a shock to the old mind set to get my head around this.

I wonder if that means when I'm 60 (God willing!), I'll be looking at 20 year-olds and thinking how young they look. Logic would say so I guess.

So in light of these thoughts it's appropriate to share a clip that I came across last week - reminding us all there is much more to love about our individuality and the beautiful bodies we have been given to store our souls in and walk this Earth with than we can see ourselves. It doesn't matter what age we feel, or what age we actually are.

Either way, we are more beautiful than we think.

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19 April 2013

Things I'm Loving - from Around the Table

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful for..no matter how simple it is.

This week I'm still loving so much from last weekend's blogging conference that this week is dedicated to more of the awesomeness that was!

An unexpected seat mate
I flew down to Christchurch mid-afternoon last Friday on a plane that was only half full. As I was walking down the aisle I caught a glimpse of the guy sitting in the window, but it wasn't until I had finished putting my camera bag in the overhead locker that it finally dawned on me WHY he looked so familiar. He was my girlhood hero - the one and only Chris Cairns (if you don't know he's one of NZ's best ever cricketers). My heart immediately began to pound and I got a dry mouth. I even sent a sneaky pic to Mark to ask if he thought it was him too. Would I be brave enough to talk to him? I asked myself. I didn't want to make a nuisance of myself, and he seemed pretty keen on sleep (even snoring a little during the flight). But when the flight landed I knew I had to seize the moment.

I leaned over and said "you look really familiar?" All the while thinking to myself what a dumb ass way to start a conversation but it was the best I could come up with with my heart pounding like it was. Anyway, he was kind enough to appear interested while I rambled on about how at age 14 I'd watched him playing for Canterbury against Central Districts at Pukekura Park (he'd have been 20 at the time). My younger brother Nic and I had lined up with heaps of other hopefuls and had managed to get his autograph AND get our picture taken with him. I laminated both the photo and the autograph and had it up on my wall for years! It was quite possibly the best start to the weekend I could possibly have hoped for!

Rasta Beanies
Loving that my 2 cuties thoroughly enjoyed mummy coming home with a prezzy each from Christchurch. These alpaca beanies were only $5 each at the ReStart craft markets, awesome value! And if their mouths look kinda full, it's cos they were in the middle of scoffing down a cream egg each too!

Penny Scallan Thank You!
You might remember The Adventures of Wheelie Bag post that I wrote a couple of weeks back. So what you may not have known was that there was actually a competition for those who were writing reviews on different Penny Scallan and Stuck on You products with the winners announced at the blog conference.

And much to my surprise, I won the Penny Scallan $250 prize! Eek! It was yet another awesome thing that happened last weekend, amongst all the other fun happenings. And you, my lovely readers will have the chance to win 5 x $50 Penny Scallan vouchers in the very near future - so keep an eye out for that!

One of the things I loved about seeing 60+ women gathered together last weekend was the solidarity, the friendship, the inclusiveness of so many strangers getting together with a common theme - our passion for blogging. Whether we came as mama bloggers, crafty bloggers, real-life bloggers, business bloggers, occasional bloggers or no idea what kind of blogger we were, it didn't matter.

What mattered was that we turned up. With an expectation that real-life connections were going to be even better than virtual ones. And I think it is safe to say that not a single person left disappointed.

Saying YES
The other thing I cannot go without saying is the amazing energy and effort that went into making Around the Table such a huge success. And it was only a success because so many people said YES. Every person who showed up to the conference said YES. They said yes to overcoming their nerves about meeting new people and coming to the shaky city. The panel and workshop hosts said YES to getting up in front of people despite their nerves.

But even more awesome was that way back in the beginning these lovely ladies in Christchurch first said YES to the crazy idea of pulling off the entire weekend. Talk about stepping out of the boat! So right here I salute you. Miriam, Treena-MarieJuliet, and Sophie, thank you for saying YES.

Here's how you can join in this week:

Link up below with your blog post telling us what you're loving, and grab the Things I'm Loving button below for your post too. Don't forget to share the love by visiting all the other lovelies who have joined in - the linky is open till same time next week!

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17 April 2013

800th post Giveaway: Come bake with MNM's

In the busyness and chaos of giveaways, Easter, bloggy conferences, hosting techy workshops, new jobs etc etc, I let my 800th post (and traditional giveaway) slip by somewhat unnoticed on the blog! Well I noticed the milestone, but I'm pretty sure no-one else did!

So it is a little belated, but I have a giveaway for one of my lovely readers here, to say thanks again for your support as always!

The giveaway is for a recipe book that I made and gave away a few copies of for Christmas presents last year to friends and family. It's a selection of our favourite dinners, baking, desserts as shared by me right here on the blog.

And have you checked out my recipe page recently?

It's very well laid out now with all the recipes I've posted in the past. So go have a squizzy and then come back and leave me a comment telling me what you'd make first if you won your very own copy of 'MNM's Bake: From our kitchen to yours'

Entries are open for one week only (and I will post internationally too!)

Thanks again to all my lovely readers for making this blogging journey so rewarding and fun!

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