Friday, January 13, 2012

Declan's starting Kindy!

It's a strange feeling when your baby boy suddenly shoot up into a little man, chatting ALL the time and starts asking all sorts of tricky big boy questions.
 It doesn't feel all that long ago when I found out I was pregnant, felt my tiny bundle kicking inside, the moment of relief pushing him out into this big world and discovering we had our own baby boy!

It's another thing to find out your toddler suddenly gets thrown into a world where everything in life needs to change. When we found out Declan had severe food allergies it was not expected at all and our outlook on raising our child took a huge turn.
It's been a massive change and although it's different to what most parents expect from the parenting experience, quite frankly a shock to the system- it has made us learn so much more, discover different things, meet lovely people and we live happily as a little family, it's just different than we first planned it all out in our blue print.

We love Declan so much and after a year of searching for preschool/kindy options for this year, thinking and considering home schooling if Declan's allergies required it, talks with various schools and prescholls, allergy tests and discussions with the alergist....
the plan is my little man will start Kindy this coming Monday!

This is a massive deal for our little family and there has been a lot of preparation leading up to next week. I have so many mixed feeling about next week.
I am excited for Declan because he is super excited and has been socially ready for a good while now, I am anxious because he has only ever been cared for by immediate family and very close friends who all understand Declan's allergy needs and requirements.

We have prepared the best we can and I am quite confident that we have picked the right centre but it's the letting go and saying goodbye that will be hard.
I'm sure I will possibly be sitting next to the phone come Monday or thinking....mmm I think I should call just one more time to see if he is still okay.

Here are some things that we did in preparation for this milestone in Declan's life:

  • We started looking and researching preschools very early, once we found the centre we were happy with he was enrolled and put on the waiting list. This was the same time that others were enrolling their children for 2011! We looked for a centre that didn't do food catering, this way Declan wouldn't be the black sheep in the amongst his friends being the only one with a packed lunch eating different food while all his friends shared the same food. We looked for a centre that had had experience dealing with anaphalaxis and many children who live with it. We had to be happy with the centres anaphalaxis procedures and plan. We thankfully came across a centre that ticked all these boxes and has a good reputation as a whole too.
  • Throughout 2011 there have been many phone calls, questions and discussions between the centres director and teachers in relation to Declan's needs and allergies.
  • I made it my mission last year to try to find one school/preschool related book on our fortnightly library visits to start introducing the concept to Declan and giving plenty of opportunity for questions and discussions.
  • As per usual we have continued to educate both Declan and Thalia about their allergies/intolerance's, giving them the tools to become aware and become more independent in slow age appropriate steps.
  • From October 2011 onwards we have taken Decaln for "visits" at Kindy to meet his future teachers, becoming familiar with both the teachers and environment and letting him know it was a "safe" place. It was a great relief when Declan didn't want to go home each time because he loved the place!
  • On finding out that the centre provides each child's sheets for rest time and washes them weekly, we decided that we would provide Declan's - taking them home to wash so as to washing them in a allergy friendly washing Detergent that we knew works well with Decalns eczema. We also wanted to prevent the risk of Declan's sheets being accidently swaped with another child's, the other child's sheets possibly being contaminated with unsafe foods.
  • We put together an medical kit for Declan to suit Declan's needs containing 2 epi pens, antihistamine, Ventolin, an asthma spacer, safe sunscreen, mozzie repellent and many laminated copies of his Anaphylaxis plan for the centres walls to be on display. The centre also has his Asthma plan. We have already taken the medication box to the centre and gone through all the medication in detail. The medication box is pictured below.

  • We have provided a "treat box" to the centre with food treats for Declan to have when his peers bring in cake to share on their birthdays and special occasions. Hopefully when the centre can they will inform us when cake will be brought in for birthdays.This way I can send in a safe cake for Declan too, but when all else fails they have his treat box.
  • More recently we took photo's of Declan's teachers with their permission and these photos have been on our fridge for some weeks now. They are there so Declan can familiarise himself with them and their names, we talk about them being safe people who know about his allergies.
  • Declan has also helped prepare for next week, he picked his kindy bag, lunchbox and enjoyed taking lots of fun photo's so we could make a Kindy daily routine chart for home to place on a wall. Photo's of getting ready for kindy such as having breakfast, placing bowl in sink, cleaning teeth following his day routine at kindy up until home time. Here is a picture of the finished product :) not the best photo but you get the idea.

Today I stood in our kitchen lying out kindy things on my kitchen bench, labeling things allergy stickers on Declan's things.
loving the bright clear allergy stickers and badge pack I brought from star allergy allerts
they look great and will hopefully make people around Decaln more aware

Well here's to a new journey and the start of Decaln's schooling years. I'm sure I be a wreak come Monday but I am excited for my little man! 
hopefully I will be able to look back on a year of Kindy and say thank you much like the author of this poem I will leave you with.

A Parent’s Thank you

Part of being a parent
Is realizing the fear
That our children are only on loan to us
And can be taken at the drop of a tear

So think of the basic necessity
Of a child eating to live each day
And the very food that sustains that life
Is the same food that can take it away

Imagine a child who had no idea
That the food upon the table
Contained tiny traces of peanut
That were missing from the label

And as his throat begins to close
Panic tells him what will happen
If he doesn’t get his shot
Of prescription epinephrine

Imagine the trip to the hospital
And the ambulance ride
And having him see the panic
You're trying so hard to hide

My child has a stalker
And it takes a simple form
It overtakes his body
And inside triggers a storm

So, we live our lives carefully
Watching all our dear one eats
But we cannot do it all alone
Its a monumental feat

For we cannot be with him
Waking hours of every day
He wants to test his wings and fly
We let him and we pray

And our prayers have been answered
Our paths have crossed through fate
And with all you do to protect his life
My respect for you is great

You’ve opened up your minds and hearts
You understand what is at stake
You are going out of your way
To make sure there’s no mistake

So, I’d like to tell you
For everything you do
Your efforts may save my child’s life
What more can a parent say but
Thank You.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"The building city"

It's wet outside, a storm is due to arrive with big hail this afternoon, our family is not 100%, bit tired, snuffle and coughs haven't cleared completely yet...what to do...what to do.

With jackets and gum boots on we excitedly went outside looking for muddy puddles to jump we live on a hill and have drainage not many puddles were found. Only one puddle which was "too small" according to Little man. So with disappointed faces and sluggish steps inside we went.

I had remembered back to yesterday, Declan had brought one of his eye spy scholastic books to me, fave page opened (a pic of a city made with blocks with HEAPS of cars) and asked in a very serious tone "Mummy, can I play with my cars just like this?" *insert puppy dog eyes*

Over an hour ago, I suggested we get out our alphabet blocks to make a city and asked if Declan would like to bring his car rug from his room into the lounge instant hit with both munchkins.
Soon enough we were bringing out the scholastic books for inspiration and scenery for our own city.

After lots of building and collecting different items, our boring inside day just turned into a lot of creative fun!!!!

Declan has now named our city "The building city"....lets hope he is willing to pack it away until next time sometime today! :D

welcome to "The building city"..
Little man's fave section of the city.

"Mummy, those babies playing ball need an adult to watch them to keep them safe"
(placing a little people lady with mobile with babies) :D

Did I mention that I love block play!
....oh and the munchkins do too..LOL

Monday, October 10, 2011

Personalised Eye-Spy Rice Bottles

A couple of months ago, the munchkins and I set out to make our own eye spy rice bottles after being inspired by a blog post from Pink and Green Mama, which you can read HERE

Since making our eye spy bottles, apart from the great making experience they have been used and loved a lot! Eye spy games, letter recognition, colour recognition, a musical instrument (shaker), a fascinating toy for babies that visit (lid glued on tight for safety) munchkins are proud of their bottles and display them in the book corner on the shelf.
It was such a great experience that I feel the need to share.
So this is how it happened......

Little man loves blue
Little miss loves pink,
after they both chose a second colour
we went about making four small batches of coloured rice

To make the colored rice,
we mixed white rice with
liquid food coloring and a few pumps
of alcohol-based hand sanitizer
in some zip-lock bags.
To get nice strong colors, we used
A LOT of food coloring!
After getting our rice nice and bright I placed the rice on some paper towel,
spread it out and placed it in the sun to dry.
While our rice was drying we went hunting for little things
for each of the munchkins bottles.
Little things that they liked
or meant something to their personality.
Little man's little things
a small plastic dinosaur, letter's of his name, buttons of his choice,
shells from the beach, a plastic leaf, spiderweb ribbon, old train and bike stamps,
foam mini shapes (bus, train, racing car and Ute), coloured beads,Lego racing flag etc

and things for Little Miss

bits of ribbon and lace, small shells from the beach, a very small plastic babushka,
buttons and bling, teeny tinny baby's plastic rattle, fake leaf, gum nut from the park,
letter's of her name,transport foam shapes, old koala stamps, coloured beads etc

Please note when you are looking for things to put in the bottle make
sure they fit in the bottles opening!

both munchkins had fun helping to put all their treasure in the bottles

with much concentration
and laughter :P

Once everything was inside the bottles,
we simply placed some glue around the top of the bottles and screwed the lids on nice and tight.

The finished result....

not the best photo but you get the idea

I've been thinking of making some more bottled art but with other mediums
such as water, glitter and little sea life creatures
or sand and natural shells...
the choices are endless.

so be it for an activity for your toddler/older child,
a toy to make for your baby
or a gift to give
why not try it too!
coloured rice is also great for sensory boxes too.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Homemade allergy food posters

Like most toddlers and preschoolers, my munchkins think stickers and gloopy glue is the absolute bomb.
Transferring stickers from a sticker sheet to a plain piece of paper is a favorite pass time according to Little miss and my little man simply loves applying glue to anything, weather it be glue in a stick, tube or brushing it onto a object.

Since this morning was a tad windy outside and my munchkins are still winding down from a busy weekend I thought we could take the opportunity to do something crafty while we were inside.

Will loads of junk mail catalogues on the kitchen bench I saw an opportunity to prepare a craft that not only my munchkins would enjoy, but it as a great thing to strengthen their knowledge of their own food allergies.

I sat down and cut different food items out of the catalogues and some magazines we had, making sure I was cutting out items that my children would recognise, clear pictures and nothing too tricky, both safe foods and not safe.

Next I went to the craft cupboard and found the sticky backed foam sheets and cut out the letter's to create 'SAFE'' and 'NOT SAFE'' as well as a big tick and cross. (you can get foam sheets from most cheap shops such as Crazy Clark's, reject shop etc)

Armed with two big white pieces of paper and telling the munchkins we were going to make some super dooper food posters to go next to our play kitchen....the fun began.

I showed them the foam letter stickers and let them help me find the correct letters to create the different poster titles - 'SAFE' and 'NOT SAFE'
This proved a good way to allow them to use letter recognition and the added fun of peeling and sticking each letter on the paper, rather than Mummy just writing the words on the paper.

The munchkins went through the small basket of food pictures, one by one taking turns to apply the glue and stick on the correct poster as to weather the particular food was safe or  not safe for their current allergies.
Each food item that came out of the basket created much conversation between the munchkins and I was surprised as to how much they actually knew about what they could and could not eat. They knew straight away whether most of the foods were safe or not and only had to ask mummy about some of the tricky ones in packets.

They had so much fun even sticking, gluing and being "very clever big boy and big girl" :P
They didn't even notice that they were learning more about their food allergies, they certainly did make mummy proud!

The result is two fantastic looking homemade food poster's with very clear ,simple, accurate and visual messages to stick up in our play kitchen area.
  • A silent constant reminder to the munchkins about their allergies,
  • a insight to adult visitors that come to our home
  • an education tool for little friends into what foods Thalia and Declan can eat
  • a display of a art that my munchkins can be proud of and share with others
  • creates opportunities for allergy conversations
Here are the finished posters...

I think this activity is a great way for a child to learn about their food allergies, or to non allergic children to learn more about nutrition and what are "all the time foods" (veggies, fruit, bread etc) and "sometimes foods" (cupcakes, lollies, ice cream etc).

The activity can be as simple or complicated as it needs to be, it can easily be adjusted for different ages. For example to make it age appropriate for a young allergy teenager you might cut out food labels (safe and not safe for the particular child's allergies) and allow them to look, read and ascertain whether the product is safe or not. You could also use different recipes with two folders for the child to sort out which recipes are safe for them.

I'm definitely going to revisit this activity when my munchkins get a little older.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Something Fishy

Last month I started thinking about the munchkins age
and what a good experience it would be to have a pet.
I was thinking on a simple small scale
-a dog , cat or say chicken was out of the question
due to allergies and asthma, not to mention cost
but some fishes seemed like a good idea.

We wanted something fairly cheap so that
if or when we accidentally killed it if it sadly passed
we could replace it easily.

My parents didn't have a good run with a tank of simple goldfish
in my own childhood.
Many a fish made it's way down the loo or buried in the garden.
So the task at hand was to find something super doper strong, cheapish and easy to look after.
To google I went....
until I found THIS
Good old Burke's backyard had done a fact sheet
on Siamese fighting fish....

Things that stood out:
  fairly cheap!
Maintenance was low
Recommended for: anyone, those with little spare time or space
this animal is able to not only breath through its gills but also through a supplemental breathing structure - the 'labyrinth'. This structure is located in a chamber above the gills and is well supplied with blood vessels which absorb air gulped-in through the mouth. This enables the fish to survive in oxygen-poor, or even stagnant water.
eg. water dirtied, swirled around 'decorated' by the hand of a small
The ornamental fish are available in just about colour
temperate regions of Australia should not really require additional tank heating
lowering the cost
Although these fish are able to survive in poor quality water, regular water changes are still required. Change 1/3 of the water each week for a small bowl, 1/4 each month for an aquarium and the entire amount once weekly for a small container.
sounds easy
These fish can live in the smallest of tanks, and are often kept in decorative glass jars, small containers, or Betta barracks
We can go to a cheap shop and buy vases or jars of our choice
and don't have to find the space for a tank!!! :)
especially good animal for a first-time pet owner or someone with little time or space for a regular pet. Very low maintenance.
sounds like a plan!

After hubby and I had done our research and agreed that Siamese fighting fish sounded like a pet we were most likely able to keep alive and well, the deal was done.
The next morning we told the munchkins there would be a surprise
at the end of our shopping trip..
We had fun at the pet store looking at the fighting fish colours
Little Miss picked a reddish one (closest to pink she could find)
and Little man picked a blue.
A visit to Choice (cheap shop) found two vases for their homes
and rocks to add some colour and texture.
The fish themselves were $9 each,
their food was very cheap and
you simply buy special drops to add to tap water.

We had some very happy munchkins with their new fish
Lightning McQueen (red one) and Mr The King (blue).

I am happy to say that the fish we brought that day still live
quite safely in our home
and their is much excitement and volunteered help when
the fish need to be fed.
The munchkins love to watch their special pets
and often sing them to bed :)

Here are the happy munchkins with their pets
Declan and Mr the King

Cheeky Thalia and Lightning McQueen

Friday, September 9, 2011

Food prep for Spring Fair

Our family will be attending a spring fair tomorrow,
we attend the same fair every year and try to prepare for it as best we can.
We plan ahead and be very organised to attend and make it is fun and enjoyable for our munchkins, despite the fact that they have food allergies, skin concerns and asthma.

Like most Fairs it has entertainment, rides, sometimes animals, stalls and lots of lots of yummy foods.
The only food that can be purchased safely for our munchkins at this stall is corn on the cob with butter, a lovely snack that they enjoyed last year.
We are hoping this stall is there again this year too.
But there will be so many yummy looking foods to which we will have to explain is a no no and not safe, in order to keep our kids happy, give them a treat and keep them safe we pack all the food with a special twist.

The fair if my memory serves me correctly doesn't sell show bags, but most children would be able to buy hot chips, cake, lollies, a burger and the usual fair foods.
Although I will have to pack my munchkins morning tea to bring I thought it would be nice to pack it in small 'show bag' so that they can also have a special food experience at the fair.
This is what I came up with...

My little Man and Little Miss will both receive their 'showbags' on arriving at the fair.
each 'show bag' contains:

a sticker book
(fairies and transport. we were running out of stickers :P)
two little people cars
(Declan has been asking for cars to play with in the sand and these do the trick,
they will also come in handy when they go for a quick holiday with Nan and Pop next weekend to Ballina to the beach)
Authentic Original french fries
(so they can also eat chip like everyone else, even if they aren't hot)
Lotus organic Banana chips
(from Mrs Flannerys, no preservative's or traces of nuts, the munchkins consider this a special treat)
Artisse organic lolly pop
(free of gluten, wheat, dairy,peanut, soy and gmo)
small sweet William chocolate
(free from peanuts and tree nuts, lactose, cholesterol, animal products, no artificial colours and preservatives and low GI)

This year I have decided to pack a lunch consisting of:
honey sandwiches
cheese sandwiches
small plain yogurt tubs
a small glad snap bag of green seedless grapes
special desert -homemade chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles
small biscuits for a extra snack if needed

I almost always pack too much but better have more than have a child hungry, especially one with can't just stop the car or pick something up at a stall that is safe.

Hubby and I have decided to pack our own lunches too so the kids don't have to watch as we eat hot chips or burgers in front of them, plus saving money and being healthy at the same time helps.
We will pack salad sandwiches, grapes and muffin bars for ourselves.

Before we leave in the morning, antihistamines will be given, eczema creams and suncream applied, allergy wrist band on declan, water bottles filled, safe food talk to munchkins whist travelling in the car, medications in the nappy bag checked (epi pens, antihistamine's, creams, thermometer, pain relief) and make sure the wipes container is full to the brim (you can never have too many wipes when allergies are involved) and hopefully we will all enjoy a fun safe day!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Up-cycled dress for my Little Miss

I always enjoy searching and finding new blogs to add to me reading list, since becoming a whole lot more interested in sewing lately I have been on the hunt for inspiration, help, tutorials and ideas.
I became filled with utter delight when finding I Am Momma -hear me ROAR, Cheri is a talented Mother full of creative idea's ,lovely designs,tips and tutorials....YAY!
Upon finding her blog a few weeks back, I have had fun reading back though her older posts and finding lots of inspiration in many area's of creativity and it's always nice when I see there is a new post to read :)

I had no doubt in my mind when seeing THIS post that it would make a perfect first dress to make for my own Little Miss.
The tutorial was so easy looking, using old T-shirts and up-cycling them to create a unique and funky dress. I loved the way the seams where on the outside, giving the dress a messy rough look, almost as if it had cute little frills on the outside due to where the seams were placed.

My Thalia is quite a girly girl with a streak of tom boyishness, she is the one that always wears a little bit of bling, adores anything pink, gets ubber excited when it's time to do her hair and pick a hair clip, loves pretty things, has loads of "children" (dolls, babies, teddy, little people), Sings with great joy, twirls to see her dress/skirt fan out, already has a thing for nail polish and quite a collection of hand bags. Sure she oozes girly but on the other hand she loves getting dirty, Queen of the mess, enjoys anything cars, eats like a man, loud and never ceases to amaze me when I see her petite little frame in dare devil mode.

So with this dress the potential of having a messy patchy look matched with girly materials and frills was just the thing I could see Thalia wearing, be it on a play date, out in the garden or dancing.

On finding a few t-shirts at a sale at the shops lately with this dress in mind I got to work.
I have only made one up cycled dress so far (for next years cooler months) due to finding an adorable size 3 shirts for $7 new!

I went through my own wardrobe and put aside tops I no longer wear, tops with holes, tops I have grown out of and placed them in a bag to be up cycled, something I hadn't thought of doing before starting this sewing journey. After some matching and cutting of two of my own old shirts this is what I came up with...
Before the sewing started.
The green material from a shirt of mine that had a hole in it,
but I adored the colour and feel of the fabric.
You can't see it well in this photo but that other fabric is
grey with a tiny blue floral pattern.
I love stripes and thought since I had enough material
I would only use these materials instead of using multiple fabrics.

 Since I still had some left over fabric from my tops
I thought it would be nice to add some extra detail.
Using both the fabrics and tracing around a flower shaped cookie cutter,
I made a design to hand stitch to the top of the dress,
 giving it that bit more girly appeal as well as some hand stitched love.

here is my cheeky girl trying on Mummy's newest creation!
 Although it doesn't quite fit right now you get the idea,
hopefully it will be a nice fit next year in the cooler months.

Thanks again to Cheri of I Am Momma -hear me ROAR
for the inspiration!!!
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