Do your children always put their shoes on the wrong feet? Try this!!

We cut an apple shaped sticker in half and put half each in to each show to match them up like a puzzle!

We cut an apple shaped sticker in half and put half each in to each show to match them up like a puzzle!

A super simple idea of how to help your younger children put their shoes on the right feet is to cut a sticker in half and place half of the sticker in each shoe so that they match up like a jigsaw puzzle when you put the shoes together the right way!

If they don’t match up – then they are not the right way – as simple as that!!

After years and years and YEARS of trying to get one of my angels to get this skill by himself, this is the only thing that has ever helped him, I know that he will get it eventually, but in the meantime, this makes life so much easier for him and me!

Hope this helps!

Love Fern.

Me and my "Angel".

Me and my “Angel”.

xx

Edible Glow in the Dark Spider Webs.

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 We ADORE glow in the dark activities in our house, especially at Halloween time!  There is something about the “magic” glow that seems to calm my boys and they seem to suddenly play quietly as they seem so in awe of it all, so I find it is a good activity to do after dinnertime if they get time before bedtime.  It can be quite calming and is obviously an activity that is best done at night-time when it is dark!

We even wrote words with them!

We even wrote words with them!

Tonic water contains quinine which has a fluorescing reaction underneath a black light, personally I recommend using a tube black light for the best and brightest glow, but we just used a lamp we had with a black light globe that you can get from supermarkets or hardware stores.

They looked so effective!

They looked so effective!

You will need:

A black light globe or tube black light.

Thin vermicelli rice noodles (as many or as little as you like).

Tonic water (enough to cover all of your vermicelli noodles to soak in).

A bowl to soak your noodles in.

Some plastic toy spiders.

A black surface for the children to play with the noodles on looks the most effective (we used our black bench top and also a back tablecloth the next time we used them).

They looked so cool against the black background!  You could use a black granite benchtop or a black tablecloth or anything else you have as a background.

They looked so cool against the black background! You could use a black granite bench top or a black tablecloth or anything else suitable you have as a background.

How to make them:

Fill a container/dish with enough tonic water to cover your thin rice noodles.  Let them soak for several minutes until they are hydrated and move loosely (about 15 minutes).

Soak the Vermicelli noodles in tonic water for around 15 minutes.

Soak the Vermicelli noodles in tonic water for around 15 minutes.

Drain them or blot them dry on a paper towel and they are ready.

Put the noodles on your black surface with some plastic spiders and have some glow-in-the-dark, sensory fun!

The spiders looked so creepy in the glowing webs in the dark!

The spiders looked so creepy in the glowing webs in the dark!

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Although these are technically “edible”, they are not intended to be used as a meal or as food.   If you think your baby/toddler would actively eat this, I suggest waiting until they are a bit older for this sensory play. My kids mostly don’t taste anymore, so we were okay with it.
As with anything posted  here, always do what you believe is best for your little ones.
They looked so great on the black tablecloth!

They looked so great on the black tablecloth!

We had sooooo much fun with this activity, it is great for fine motor practice too as the threads of the noodles are so thin and slippery that it took quite a bit of dexterity to pick them up and grip on to them!  It can be a little messy, but is very easy to tidy up, we just did it over a surface that was super easy to clean up, so it wasn’t stressful if they dropped any little threads outside of the surface that we were using.
Remember the closer your light is to the spider webs, the better they will glow, so a lamp on a table nearby is best for this activity!
Hope you enjoy this one!!  We certainly did!!
xx

Glow in the Dark Edible Jelly Eyeballs!

Glow in the Dark Edible Jelly Eyeballs!

Glow in the Dark Edible Jelly Eyeballs!

 

           Halloween is such a fun time to make edible food, especially glow in the dark edible food!!!

I decided I wanted to try to make glow in the dark edible jelly/jello eyeballs as a fun activity for the boys.

I made these as more of a fun sensory activity that were okay to be eaten if my little one did decide to have a taste, so I didn’t plan on them tasting all that nice, but I was pleasantly surprised that they actually tasted really light and yummy too!

They looked so effective on the table with the black light on over them!

They looked so effective on the table with the black light on over them!

What you will need:

1 cup of Tonic Water.

1 cup of Coconut Milk.

1 Tablespoon of Gelatine.

1/2 a cup of Sugar.

Dark chocolate chips to use on each eye.

Cake pop mould or the bottom of plastic easter egg moulds.

(Or you could also make these as one large eye-ball in one half of a ball cake pan too.)

Black light globe in a lamp.

We made fun faces too, by hydrating some vermicelli noodles with tonic water!

We made fun faces too, by hydrating some vermicelli noodles with tonic water!

Method:

Over a saucepan, heat the coconut milk, tonic water, gelatine and sugar until it is all dissolved.

The coconut milk may make the mix look curdled, but it is just the solidified coconut which we want to sink to the bottom of the moulds which it will, so don’t worry if it looks a little odd in the saucepan, it will settle to the bottom, then the upper layer of the jelly/jello will be the clear tonic water, which looks really spooky and will fluoresce under your black light.

Meanwhile, spray your moulds with cooking spray to ensure the jelly will pop out of the moulds without breaking.

Leave the mixture in the pan to cool slightly, but not yet set, then pour in to your moulds, then place them in the fridge to set.

Ready to pop in to the fridge.

Ready to pop in to the fridge.

Once set, invert them on to your plate then place the dark chocolate chips upside down in to the centre of each “eyeball”.

This is what they looked like without the black light...

This is what they looked like without the black light…

Optional: for extra “grossness” you could also inject a small amount of red food colouring in to the middle of the eyeball from the top where you plan to place your chocolate chip, but I thought that this would be a bit too creepy for my little ones!

I actually thought the taste of tonic water and coconut jelly would be quite an odd tasting mix, but the boys and I actually REALLY liked them – they tasted great, so we not only enjoyed playing with them but we ate them quite happily too!!

It sure was fun to eat food that glowed!!

It sure was fun to eat food that glowed!!

 

We made some blue eyes in addition to the clear eyeballs, by replacing the water to make the jelly with tonic water heated in a saucepan.

We made some blue eyes in addition to the clear eyeballs, by replacing the water to make the jelly with tonic water heated in a saucepan.  These are what they looked like without the black light.

These were so, so fun, they boys liked holding them up to their eyes and me taking photos of them, they kept laughing at each other when the other one held their eyeballs up to their face and their giggles were so infectious and delightful that I decided that this would have to be an annual tradition to make these!!

Milk Coconut Balls.

Milk Coconut Balls.

My beautiful friend Priya deserves all the credit for this recipe, she gifted it to me years ago and it has been a solid favourite in our house EVER SINCE!!

It is a fantastic, easy recipe to make with the kids to give them a huge calcium, protein boost with the goodness of milk and amazing coconut!

Milk Coconut Balls.

Ingredients:

2 cups of desiccated coconut (with a little extra to roll the balls in at the end if you wish too.)

2 cups of milk powder

1/2 a cup of sugar or natural sweetener like stevia (You can use less or more sugar if you wish)

Just enough milk to make it all form in to a dough

 Mix the above ingredients together well to form a firm dough that can be moulded in to balls, then roll in more coconut, refrigerate and serve.

(They get firmer in the fridge, so if they are too soft, pop them in to the fridge for a while).

Or another way you can use the dough, is to separate it in to two even portions and add 1/2 a cup of cocoa to one portion, put one colour dough between two sheets of cling film and roll it out to be even and flat and about 3mm thick, then do the same with the white layer, then place the white layer on top of the other layer so you have two even sized rectangle portions of dough on top of each other, ensuring you remove the cling film between them.

Then using the cling film underneath the bottom layer to help, roll it up like you would when making a sushi roll, so that it starts to look like a coloured pin wheel roll.  Then refrigerate until firm wrapped in the cling wrap to help keep its shape until it sets and cut in to thin slices – it looks so pretty and a very healthy snack for the kids!

SO easy to make also, it is great for lunch boxes, snacks, and also great for mummies who need a calcium boost too!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart Priya for sharing this recipe with me, it has been such a favourite and I love how yummy it is but how much goodness it contains, your sharing, generous nature inspires me to share with others too.

Thank you my beautiful friend!  xx

Apple Cider Vinegar: It really is a Miracle Health System! You must try this for your health!

Apple Cider Vinegar:  You won't believe how many health benefits it offers!

Apple Cider Vinegar: You won’t believe how many health benefits it offers!

 

 

How taking Apple Cider Vinegar can benefit your health in AMAZING ways!

I am ALWAYS busy, I hardly ever slow down and don’t have the time to obsess over my diet and what I include in it every single day for the maximum health benefits they provide!  I am very conscious of being healthy and I want to look after myself and my family, but to be honest, I just find it all a bit hard to fit in to the day to look after myself as well as I should – like most mums!!  I could never eat as much of everything that they recommend in a day, I struggle to eat that much and to prepare all of the healthy meals people recommend for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Don’t get me wrong, we eat very healthy, nutritious foods in our home and are mostly super healthy, but I am definitely not one to prepare a gourmet salad for myself for lunch every day.  So I absolutely LOVE superfood ingredients that I can add very simply to my diet that have so many applications and health benefits in the one ingredient.

Apple cider vinegar is an old favourite superfood  liquid of mine!  My beautiful mum and my AMAZING Poppa have ALWAYS raved on about the hundreds of benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for as long as I can remember, and although  I always knew that it was good for you, I had never really done the research myself that was required for me to fully understand and appreciate the literally hundreds of benefits that it offers!!  Last year, I finally took the time to look in to it and was amazed by what I found!  I have to admit, I was sceptical at first that it could do all these things that I had read about.  How could one ingredient have so many health benefits?

See this great book for more information:

Apple Cider Vinegar: Miracle Health System (Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System: With the Bragg Healthy Lifestyle)

Apple Cider Vinegar: Miracle Health System (Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System: With the Bragg Healthy Lifestyle)

After all the extensive research I have done, I am totally convinced after seeing the literally thousands of people out there who attest to this miracle liquid!  I even personally notice my energy levels are so much higher on the days when I drink it, if I am out for the day and accidentally skip it, I really notice myself feeling quite sluggish and lethargic!  It is amazing that I notice the difference so much!  I didn’t realise it could make such a difference!

It’s effective for pretty much anything—your skin, your hair, your house, and even your pets can benefit from its qualities. Raw, organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized, apple cider vinegar has so many benefits that I will never have the time to list them all here, however I would love to give you an introduction to some of them, as I truly believe in the amazing benefits that it can have for your body and want others to be healthy too!

The starting dosage is 1 tablespoon in a big glass of water and you can slowly increase the dosage, a teaspoon at a time over several weeks, to 2 or even 3 tablespoons, if you find the increased dosage beneficial to your health.

Yes, it does taste a little sour,  and the taste takes a little while to get used to, but when I know that something is such a good thing, I can easily tolerate it in order to gain all the hundreds of benefits of it! Plus, it’s important to train your taste buds to not expect everything to be sweet – this is what I am telling myself anyway!

If you really can’t handle it at the start, then try it with a drop of natural stevia, but using sugar or commercial honey to sweeten it will only feed the intestinal problems that Apple Cider Vinegar is used to treat.

Apple Cider Vinegar is made from apple juice and is fermented to hard apple cider. It’s then fermented a second time to become apple cider vinegar.

  • Apple cider vinegar can aid in weight loss: When you have an apple cider vinegar drink before a meal, as well as improving digestion, it will usually reduce your hunger levels as well, which can only be beneficial for losing weight. Once again, 1 tablespoon in a large glass of water before each meal is the recommended dosage. This can be sipped throughout the day. Data shows some limited, yet significant, weight loss benefits from sustained daily intake of acetic acid (which is a main ingredient in apple cider vinegar). In a 2009 study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, it was found that subjects that consumed acetic acid for 12 weeks experienced significant declines in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference and triglycerides. Triglycerides contribute to the bad cholesterol that we want to avoid.
  •  Apple cider vinegar will balance your entire inner body system and assist with ridding the body of Candida and Normalize Intestinal Bacteria: The body constantly strives to achieve a state of equilibrium. Apple cider vinegar helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level. Research shows that higher acid levels (lower pH level) leads to a lack of energy and higher incidences of infection. I am always in need of more energy, so I drink it a few times a day for a natural boost of energy. Apple cider Vinegar is full of beneficial acids which are believed to help improve the structure of your intestinal flora. These include acetic acid and malic acid, which have antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties and can help control the spread of the candida fungus in your intestines, a common debilitating problem with many people’s high sugar levels.  This vinegar is rich in natural enzymes that can help rid your body of Candida (yeasts that are attributed to thrush in humans). Candida also is blamed for creating symptoms of fatigue, poor memory, sugar cravings and yeast infections.
  • Strengthen Your Immune System: Your intestinal flora are a big part of your body’s immune system. It makes sense then that improving the conditions for the growth of friendly bacteria with apple cider vinegar can help improve your overall immunity.  The malic acid in apple cider vinegar  is also a strong antiviral, perhaps one of the reasons people often say they experience fewer colds when they take apple cider vinegar in water daily.
  • It can lower high blood pressure: Some animal studies have shown that it may lower blood pressure, it is theorised that apple cider vinegar increases nitric oxide production that helps relax blood vessels, or it may just have a generally beneficial effect on your cardiovascular system that, over time, naturally results in a lowering of high blood pressure.
  • Improved Digestion: Drinking apple cider vinegar in water can help to naturally improve your digestion. Take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar  in a big glass of water around 15 minutes before a meal to stimulate digestive juices for better breakdown of your food.  Real apple cider vinegar contains valuable minerals and trace elements, LDL cholesterol lowering pectin, fat burning acetic acid, anti-viral malic acid, live enzymes, amino acids and many other beneficial nutrients.  When you drink apple cider vinegar regularly, ideally before each main meal, your digestion improves and you naturally begin assimilating more from your food. This can also reduce hunger and help with losing weight.
  • Can prevent leg cramps and Restless Leg Syndrome: Sipping on an apple cider vinegar drink can increase low potassium levels in your body, which has long been a suspect in nighttime leg cramps and restless leg syndrome.
  • It can prevent bad breath: The natural acids in real apple cider vinegar, like acetic and malic acid, can reduce the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath.  Using apple cider vinegar for halitosis, you would make it a bit stronger than when drinking it. Add one tablespoon to a third of a cup of water and gargle it for around 20 seconds to minimize bad breath.
  • It makes your hair shiny: Apple cider vinegar can be used as a rinse for your hair after shampooing that will boost your hair’s body and shine. You can recycle an old shampoo bottle and fill it with 1/2 a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a cup of cold water. Pour the solution through your hair after shampooing several times a week for dramatic results.
  • It regulates the pH of your skin: Apple cider vinegar balances your skin’s pH levels and has long been recommended as a skin tonic. It can also help treat dermatological conditions like acne, especially when used both internally and externally regularly. Dilute Apple cider vinegar with two parts water, and spread this over your face with a cotton ball to use as a skin toner. Do this at night after washing, and in the morning before you apply your moisturizer. A dab of apple cider vinegar can also be left on the skin overnight to fade age spots or acne scars.
  • Wart Removal: It’s also a recommended agent for warts. For warts, soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, then fasten the cotton ball over the wart with a Band-Aid overnight. The skin may swell and the wart may darken as it reacts with the solution and can possibly throb and be a little uncomfortable. However, the wart will fall off. Once it falls off, the treatment should be continued for a few more days, to make sure the wart doesn’t return. People swear that when freezing, duct tape, and other pharmacy bought treatments haven’t worked, that this has been the only thing to finally rid themselves of them.
  • Regulate Blood Sugar and Aid in Diabetes: Apple cider vinegar is full of acetic acid which appears to slow down the digestion of simple carbohydrates, thus regulating blood sugar levels from the brief highs and longer lows of a high carb diet.  The anti-glycemic effect of apple cider vinegar  has been proven in several studies.  Apple cider vinegar’s acetic acid has been shown to suppress the accumulation of body fat and liver lipids. Its pectin content is also thought to slightly reduce your body’s ability to absorb fat.
  • It can remove stains from teeth: Rub the stained teeth directly with apple cider vinegar, and rinse with water.
  • It can help you detox: As part of balancing the body’s pH, apple cider vinegar creates an overall detoxification of the body. Research shows that it can help stimulate cardiovascular circulation and help detoxify the liver. One tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in a large glass of water before each meal is often recommended as an effective dosage for daily detoxification. Some detoxifying methods may use larger doses, though it’s best to build up to these over time.
  • It can soothe sunburnt skin: Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath, and soak for 10 minutes to eliminate discomfort from sunburn.
  • Apple cider vinegar can be used as a natural aftershave: Fill a bottle with equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, and shake before applying to the face.
  • It’s an all-natural massage treatment: Rubbing apple cider vinegar on your hands and feet will give massage-like benefits and relief to tired hands and feet.
  • It is great for your lymphatic system: This miracle vinegar helps to break up mucous throughout the body and cleanse the lymph nodes. Believe it or not, research suggests that apple cider vinegar can help with allergies because of its ability to reduce mucous and sinus congestion. When reducing the effects of allergies, it can also help stave off sinus infections and their related symptoms, such as sore throats and headaches.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar can help you reduce Heartburn, Intestinal Problems and Constipation: Regular apple cider vinegar in water is believed to help correct low stomach acid conditions that leads to heartburn. Importantly, straight Apple Cider Vinegar is very strong and likely to be too powerful for heartburn sufferers, and especially those with ulcers, so make sure you dilute it well. It soothes the entire gastrointestinal tract, helping to prevent stomach cramps, bloating and gas.  Apple cider vinegar can also be useful as a mild laxative to stimulate peristalsis in cases of occasional constipation. It should not have this effect if your bowel movements are already regular.  Though it might seem like an oxymoron to treat stomach acid with acid-containing vinegar, there is research suggesting that apple cider vinegar works by correcting low acid, hence reducing heartburn. Natural remedy experts say you should begin to feel relief very shortly after taking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar followed by a glass of water. Note that apple cider vinegar will not give relief if you have an ulcer.
  • Can aid in curing eczema and psoriasis: With a simple solution of Apple cider vinegar. In a spray bottle, dilute a few table spoons of Apple cider vinegar with room temperature water and spray the affected area. It might sting for the first minute, but the results are worth it! In just a few days, eczema break-outs can completely vanish. This is all from a cheap, organic, 1 ingredient remedy. While the proper medical studies haven’t been conducted at this point, I have a friend who has a first-hand account of the treatment really working. After looking into the matter further, I discovered the massive amount of Apple cider vinegar success stories that were out there for this.
  • The use of apple cider vinegar is effective in repelling fleas on your pets: One part vinegar and one part water can be sprayed on your pet’s fur and rubbed in generously to the skin. Saturate the entire coat, and continue every day for a few days to a week. Any flea infestation will surely be gone.
  • It’s an all-natural room freshener: Apple cider vinegar will clean your toilets and leave your bathroom smelling like apples! Just pour apple cider vinegar into the toilet, and allow it to sit overnight. It can also be used in dishwashers as a substitute for dish detergent. Mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup water, and you can use this solution to clean microwaves, kitchen surfaces and windows.

Click on the picture or Affiliate link below to buy this BRILLIANT book on more uses for Apple Cider Vinegar to learn more and start feeling the benefits today!!

Apple Cider Vinegar: Miracle Health System (Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System: With the Bragg Healthy Lifestyle)

Apple Cider Vinegar: Miracle Health System (Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System: With the Bragg Healthy Lifestyle)

Fishpond offer free postage for our Australian friends too!

Other Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar:

Acne

Kidney Stones

Nails

Rosacea

Animal Care

Arthritis

Gout

Hair Loss

Sore Throat

Menopause

Salad Dressings

Moles/Scars/Lesions

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A respectful technique to teach your child to stop interrupting.

Such a gentle and respectful technique....

Such a gentle and respectful technique….

I heard about this technique to help teach children to stop interrupting and thought it sounded beautiful.  I wasn’t really expecting it to work, but was so pleasantly surprised to see that it does, and I thought it was just too lovely not to share!

Like me, my boys always seem to have a heck of a lot to say, ALL THE TIME!!  Sometimes they look as though they might just spontaneously explode if they don’t tell me something IMMEDIATELY, they seem to find it so incredibly difficult to wait until I have finished speaking to someone before it is their turn to speak.

My boys have generally very good manners and I am very grateful for this, however despite my constant reminders, my boys seem to think that “not interrupting” is saying “Excuse me, excuse me Mummy, Mummy EXCUSE ME!!” repeatedly until it can no longer be politely ignored and I feel forced to stop speaking – well not any more!  This new technique has been working and I intend to keep this going forever as I just love it!

I am even going to start my husband and I doing this with each other, as it can be hard to get a word in at times when people are deep in delightful conversation with others.

The idea is to teach your children that instead of interrupting, ask your child to simply place their hand on your wrist and wait, then you will place your hand over your child’s to acknowledge that you know they are there waiting for their turn to speak and that you will be with them in a moment, however you still continue chatting until you have finished, (only for a fair and reasonable amount of time though!), then turn to your child to signal, “Okay, your turn now, my attention is ALL yours”.  Then your child gets 100% attentively listened to and interacted with.

This is so simple and so mutually respectful and gentle.  So much nicer than someone tugging on you relentlessly and whining in your ear!

To start this new technique in our family, we just told our boys that if they want to talk and someone is already speaking, they simply need to place their hand on our wrist and wait. It took a little practice and a few light taps on our own wrists as silent and gentle reminders of what they need to do, but the interrupting has completely stopped with our older child!  Amazing!!!  Our younger boy is doing it well 70% of the time and just occasionally needs reminding if he forgets, but at least there will eventually be no more  ‘wait please’ and no more, ‘Please don’t interrupt’. It is simply a gentle, visual gesture; just a little touch of the wrist, and he stops and waits quietly for his turn.

Give it a try. It really works! I am sooooooo happy to find something that works and is so warm and considerate for all involved, and I hope it works for you too!!

Goodbye to this! xx

Goodbye to this! xx

Yoghurt Drops.

Yoghurt Drops.

Yoghurt Drops.

A super easy, but fun activity and snack for your children is to make yoghurt drops with them.

It is so super simple, but they look adorable and taste yummy and the kids love them to bits!!

All you do is get any plain yoghurt, such as Greek, Natural or even Vanilla yoghurt, then you can simply colour the yoghurt with food colouring like we did, or you can even puree up some berries or fruit with it until there are no lumps and it is a super smooth consistency (it is important that there are no lumps or it will not come out of the piping bag hole).

 Then put the yoghurt in to a piping bag if handy or use a zip lock bag like we did to use as a makeshift, disposable piping bag, we poured in the yoghurt, sealed the top, then cut a tiny hole in the corner of the zip lock bag and voila! A super easy piping bag!

Line a chopping board or tray that will fit in to your freezer flat with baking paper, and pipe on little dots all over it, allowing enough space between them so that they don’t blend in to each other.

Then freeze them until they have set hard.

They don’t stay frozen for long once you remove them from the freezer, so only take them out once you are ready to eat them straight away!

We made three lots of them this time and had multi coloured ones (pink, yellow and aqua), but the children ate them so fast I missed getting a photo of all the coloured ones together  – they looked sooooo cute!! So we will have to do it again, so I can get another cute photo as I only managed to get a photo of some leftover aqua ones we had.

I hope you like them!  So easy, but fun and yummy too!!

Much Love,

Fern

xx

Lose those training wheels fast!

After a lot of time and talking to overcome all that fear after his terrible bike crash, we finally had the courage to remove those training wheels.  I cried like a baby when he rode off in to the distance first go with confidence.  This is that moment.....  ;')

After a lot of time and talking to overcome all that fear after his terrible bike crash, we finally had the courage to remove those training wheels. I cried like a baby when he rode off in to the distance first go with confidence. This is that beautiful moment….. :’)

My son had a very traumatic bike riding experience last year.  He had a serious bike crash which left him with a bloodied face, grazes and loose teeth (new adult teeth too!).  He forgot to hop off his bike down quite a steep decline and despite Daddy yelling out to him frantically and trying to catch up to him to prevent it, he lost control and went head first in to a metal pole….the metal pole to the face and head was bad enough, but we wondered if it could have been much worse, because if he had been 10 centimetres further over to the right he would have gone down a very sharp deep ditch and in to a rocky creek, so I guess we were very lucky it wasn’t  worse.

We ended up with him in hospital, and despite a heavily bruised face, terrible injuries to his mouth, a very bad knock to the head and the wobbly teeth which would eventually tighten back up again – thankfully he healed up well over time.  The emotional healing was a much harder hurdle…..

My son did not want to go on the bike “ever again” and most definitely not back to that place where he crashed, we had not used the bike very much since that awful day, as much as we all wanted to “get back on the horse”, we all had to get our confidence back and have time to let all that fear and anxiety settle down.

Finally, one day I saw a little boy quite a bit younger than my son riding confidently without training wheels and I felt guilty that I hadn’t tried harder to encourage my son to try to ride the bike more.  He had not wanted to get on the bike, and I definitely was not going to force him, but I wondered if I had failed him by not encouraging him a little more to try again, and  truthfully, I am not sure who was more scared of trying to ride the bike again, me or him.  The thought of my son in that hospital all bruised, battered and bloody, just sent shivers down my spine every time and brought tears to my eyes.  I didn’t know if I could bear trying again any time soon…..but seeing that other little boy zooming around the park so confidently that day reminded me how much resilience, confidence and determination children are born with – Lord knows I should have remembered how resilient and determined they are from when they were babies and fought going to sleep with such resolve!!

I became determined that we going to give it another go, yes – he will probably fall, yes – he might get a little bump or bruise and YES – he might just ALSO learn that bike riding is REALLY fun and that you don’t ALWAYS have terrible bike crashes, and as a  matter of fact, practising more can help you not crash badly like that again.

So off to the local grassy reserve we go, complete with bike helmet – and unbeknown to my child – a whopping handful of band aids, and the camera….just in case he actually could do it, although in my head I felt this was going to be a long road given the circumstances.

My husband removed the training wheels, made sure the helmet was on securely, and we found a safe starting point away from obstacles, concrete and other children.  My husband stood very close to my son standing with his bike ready to give him a pep talk……I could hear my heartbeat doing a dramatic drum roll to complete the scene…….and before my husband even had time to do the pep talk and give him some tips on what to do and what not to do, my son started pedalling!!  And pedalling……AND PEDALLING!!!!!!!!  AND NOT FALLING OFF!!  WITH NO TRAINING WHEELS!!!  WHAT????  Are you serious???  How could this be true??  ALL this time I had been dreading THIS moment???

OH. MY. GOODNESS.

A beautiful ray of sunlight made a rainbow on this photo - it seemed very fitting.....

A beautiful ray of sunlight made a rainbow on this photo – it seemed very fitting…..

He was doing it……actually doing it….all by himself…….first go nonetheless….no pep talk, no hints, no problems!!

He only wobbled a little, then regained his balance alone, my husband never even had to run alongside holding on to the bike which I thought my son might need to build his confidence, he just stayed close in case he fell just the first time he tried it, but not for long – because my boy was OFF!!  And so was I!  Bawling like a little baby!  Cue tears and tissues for a moment or two….then I started smiling and couldn’t stop when I heard my boy yelling out excitedly with pride,

“I’m doing it!!  I’m doing it!!  I can’t believe it, I am doing it all by myself!!  I’m doing iiiiiiiiiiitttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!”

So, all this anxiety, all this fear, all this stalling to try again had come to this.  This beautiful happy moment, this milestone in a young person’s life, that I had dreamed of for so long was finally here.  His confidence was here.  His fear was gone.  My fear was gone….

He rode around on that grassy oval for almost an hour and only had a little unbalanced wobble and small fall off once and he didn’t even hurt himself, I was quite far away at that point, when I saw it happen, I didn’t react in a panic even though my heart sank, I just stood there “looking” calm, anxiously waiting to gauge his reaction, he didn’t even look up at me, he just got up, brushed off the dirt and then got straight back on his bike and rode off again….wow…..

So if we can do it, others can too and I thought that I would share a few tips that helped us to build up to this day and some tips that might help you to lose those training wheels fast too!!  I think for us, making the decision to actually give it a go and build up the courage to do it, was by far the longest part of the process!

Here are a few tips that can help you to lose those training wheels fast!

  • Find a large, grassy area with no obstacles with fairly flat, grassy ground.  Grass has more resistance than concrete therefore making it a slower and steadier ride in the early stages and helps them to feel steadier and safer, plus grass isn’t as intimidating or painful as concrete. Encouraging your child to glide down a small, grassy slope can also help them learn to balance their bike.
  • Insist upon a helmet and also offer your child elbow pads, wrist guards and knee pads if it helps you all feel more comfortable and confident.  My little guy didn’t want them and said it was too hard to ride with them as they restricted his movement.  But having these on can help them to feel safer and avoid grazes if they are fearful of that.  My child knows the helmet is not an option, but I let him decide on the rest depending on how confident he felt.
  • Lower the seat so that their feet can comfortably touch the ground if they need to reassure and steady themselves without the training wheels.  It helps them feel safer and more confident and they can often prevent a fall this way too.
  • Practice braking first with the training wheels still on initially.  Do drills like, “Ride up and stop just before that line.”
  • If they express fear that they might fall, tell them that they might fall and that it is okay, they might fall a few times, so “let’s practice falling first, then we will practice riding”.  You can hold their bike steady as they climb on and began to pedal, then say “I am going to let go now, and you might have a little fall, but you will be okay.”  If they do fall and hit the grass, you might see them smile and they will probably say “That wasn’t scary! Let’s go again!”  If they do get upset, be very casual but don’t gush over them, just quickly, casually and warmly check they are okay then say, “Good on you, now we have practised falling a little, now let’s practice riding.”  Practice again, and again and then with the fear of falling no longer occupying them, their confidence will grow with each lap around the oval.
  • Don’t hold on to their bike, it actually hinders their natural ability to balance. I held my son’s bike steady as he climbed on once as he began to pedal, then gave him a gentle push forward and let go at one point, but I noticed that he wobbled more initially when I did that than when he took off on his own.  When they can balance this process themselves they are far more steady than when the bike is being propelled in a way that they are not in control of.
  • On the oval that we went to there was a cricket pitch in the middle which was made of firm, flat concrete, after he was confident on the grass, I encouraged him to ride back and forth over the flat cricket pitch and the walkway. That little bit of concrete showed him that concrete was nothing to be afraid of, and eventually, he felt brave enough to try riding in a large concreted area.
  • Stay Calm…..as much as humanly possible, show them how confident you are that they can do it..  It is not easy teaching children new skills, especially when they are fearful, complaining,  crying or being difficult.  It is easy to want to give in and give up, but by encouraging your child and telling them that you believe in them and use a voice that demonstrates that you have complete confidence in their abilities, it will help to steady their nerves and may even help to steady your own! If your child is just completely terrified, I wouldn’t encourage you forcing it though, if they are really panicked, just keep trying regularly and eventually their confidence will build up and they will do it when they are ready, but don’t give up all together!

Good luck and I hope that some of these tips help!!

Now we just have to modify his bike so he can have a "Mowercycle", then he can mow the lawns for us too!  ;)

Now we just have to modify his bike so he can have a “Mower-cycle”, then he can mow the lawns for us too! 😉

Is your child being annoying to you or are they really “in your face”? Try this!!

Ha ha ha!  Are your children being a little "in your face"?  Try the "Fix It Game!"

Ha ha ha! Are your children being a little “in your face”? Try the “Fix It Game!”

 

It is school holidays for us at the  moment and as much as I ADORE having all of my babies home with me, let’s be honest, everyone can be a little bit “In each other’s faces” a bit more and be a bit more needy.

I found my boys being REALLY NEEDY and IN MY FACE yesterday when I REALLY wanted all my boys to be on their best behaviour, of course, and I had to keep trying different things (AAAAALLLLLL DAAAAAYYYY) to try to help them all “keep it together”, this really did help, I promise!!

When your child is being annoying, or in your face:

 “Are you out of hugs again?  Let’s do something about that!”  Grab your child and give her a LOOOONG squishy hug — as long as you can. Don’t loosen your grip until he begins to squirm and even then don’t let go immediately.  Hug harder and say “I LOVE hugging you! I never want to let go.  Promise I can hug you again soon?”  Then let go and connect with a big, warm smile, and say “Thank you! I needed that!”

A more intensive version, for when a child has a new sibling, big changes, needs a bit of extra love and attention or after you’ve been doing a lot of disciplining:

Convince your child on a very deep level that you LOVE him by chasing him, hugging, kissing, then letting him get away and repeating — again and again. “I need my Jack….You can’t get away…no way….I have to hug you and cover you with kisses….oh, no, you got away…I’m coming after you….I just have to kiss you more and hug you more….You’re too fast for me….But I’ll never give up…I love you too much…I got you….Now I’ll kiss your toes….Oh, no, you’re too strong for me…But I will always want more Jack hugs….” This is such a favourite game of ours, guaranteed to transform your child’s doubt about whether he’s truly loved (and any child who is “misbehaving” harbours that doubt). (I call this the Fix game because it “Fixes” whatever’s wrong.

Try it, it really works!!  It also can help with separation anxiety too!

For me, not only does it switch the child’s mood, but it switches mine too!  From feeling frustrated to having a giggle and pushing the “RESET” button on my patience!

Good luck out there!!

Ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha!

xx

Fun Family Faces.

Fun Family Faces.

Fun Family Faces.

 

A super easy, but fun activity for your children is to enlarge photos of each family member and print them out from the computer, cut around them, then laminate them then cut around them again.

Then we used these for lots of fun things, like place settings at the table, we played hide and seek with them hidden all around the house, we stuck them to large pieces of paper then drew bodies around them on the paper and drew them in fun locations like swimming freestyle in muddy puddles, or playing the saxophone up a tree, etc. and also drew different dress ups on the bodies that we drew.

One of our most favourite things that we did with them, was use some colourful permanent markers and drew funny faces on them.

Ahhhh...don't we all look just fabulous? ;)

Awwwww…don’t we all look just fabulous? 😉

 

It is super easy to erase the marker off them afterwards too, just by using acetone nail polish remover and a baby wipe to wipe them over.

It is a great way to spark discussion on body parts they may not know about for the younger children too, “Let’s draw earrings on my ear lobes – who knows where my ear lobes are?”

It seems so simple and easy, and yet even my little baby loved them and would just sit there pointing to each one and then identify them by name, “Daddy…Mummy…etc…”.

So much fun in one simple, little creation!

I would love to hear if you have any other ways to use them that I haven’t thought of too!

I hope you love it!!

Have a beautiful, love filled day!!

xx

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