Conversations with my 3.5 years old

Me: "Hey Alex, it's Chinese New Year. Can you wish your Gong Gong and Po Po a happy new year in Chinese? Come on, give it a go. Say Xin Nian Kuai Le."
3.5yo: "Ding Ding Ding Dong!"

Me: "You haven't been a very good boy today. I'm not very happy with you."
3.5yo: "I'm happy with you, Mummy."

Me: (Looking at our reflections in the mirror): "Do you look like mummy, Alexander?"
3.5yo: "No!"
Me: "Do you look like Daddy then?"
3.5yo: "No!"
Me: "Who do you look like then?"
3.5yo: "I look like me!"

The modern fairytale he made up one night:

"Once upon a time, there was a princess who lived in a castle in a faraway country. She had a ball, the ball was broken. So Granddad fixed it with some epoxy. The princess played with the ball at the pond with a frog. The End."

Christmas gift guide for kids

With Christmas only a couple of weeks away, the hot question on everyone's lips at the moment is, "Have you done all your Christmas shopping yet?" I'm quite chuffed to say I am but if you haven't, don't panic. Here are some of the cutest gifts you can spoil your little one with.
Christmas gift guide for kids
1.  Audi Ride On Car - A stylish ride on car for driving around the house or flaunting at the local park.

2. Luggy Basket Yellow - a toddler sized wheeled basket perfect for storing and transporting toys and other treasures around the house. It's looks so good, we don't mind lugging it to the beach, the playground or the shops!

3. Native Jefferson shoes - They're light, they're handwashable, shock absorbent, odor resistant and come in a myraid of funky colours that is sure to please any kid (and kid at heart). Alexander has an orange and green pair and he absolutely loves them.

4. Books - If there's one thing I can never buy enough of; it's books. Alexander is somewhat fascinated with poo of late and anything with animals is bound to be a hit, so What do they do with all the Poo from all of the Animals at the Zoo - Anh Do and Pig the Elf - Aaron Blabey are my picks for the boy this Christmas.

5. Bloomingville Mini Storage Basket Bag - This  storage bag with the giggle worthy "Nothing is Lost" text is perfect for laundry as well as toys. It's gender neutral colour and design makes it a wonderful accessory for any kid's room.

6.  Decor Night Light Cactus - Night lights are tricky; they need to be dim enough to induce sleep yet bright enough for bedtime ready and not too captivating that keep already sleep resistant kids awake. This cactus night light is not only cute to look at, it casts a reassuring glow when switched on. 

7. Little Red Stuga Kebnekaise Mountain Knitted Bean Bag Pouffe - Each bean bag is made from 100% knitted cotton. The pattern cleverly and attractively portrays the snowy peak through the combination of white and navy. This gives the impression of snowfall.

8. To the Moon and Back Banner - This banner is carefully hand felted by women in a village just outside Kathmandu, Nepal, is made from 100% NZ wool felt and is 23 x 33cm with grey string for easy hanging. I always end Alexander's bedtime routine by whispering "I love you to the moon and back" so it only seems fitting to have this hanging in his room.

Conversations with my 3 year old

Our conversations are getting more interesting these days...
Me: "Do you love Frankie?"
3yo: "Yes, she's our pet dog."
Me: "She's very special isn't she?"
3yo: "She's not special, she's just NORMAL."

Some difficult questions:
"Who made the beach?"
"Who do rocks come from?"
"Where do our poo go after we flush the toilet?"

On my taste in music:
3yo: "So AWFUL! Turn it off mummy!"

On my singing:
3yo: (hands on ears) "I'm NOT listening."

Me: "Hey, cutie pie."
3yo: "I'm not cutie pie. I'm Mr. Strong."

Me: "Why is your bottom soooo cute?"
3yo: "My bottom is not cute, it's BIG."

The Things We're Most Likely to Buy Out of Impulse (& How to Stop Doing it)

Shopping as a Mum can be tough. You’re in charge of the entire household and with so much to keep track of it’s easy to end up spending money on things you don’t need. If this sounds like you don’t stress, recent research from CoreData and Choosi found Aussies admitting they’ve made large purchasing decisions they regret. With so many of us looking to get back on top of our spending habits it’s time to say no to impulse buying. Check out these great tips if you’re looking to claim control of your shopping habits.
Take control of your shopping habits to avoid digging deep into the money bank
When a deal looks too good to pass up

Ever noticed how often you find yourself picking up an item you didn’t know you wanted just because it’s on sale? You’re not alone. Almost half of all Aussies surveyed (41%) admitted to buying with their heart rather than their head in the latest Choosi survey.  Sometimes that discount price or last minute deal is just too hot to ignore. Or so it seems. Retail specials like ‘two for one’ or ‘50% off’ can look good at first but if you find yourself coming home with outdated items or a strong feeling of buyer’s remorse then it’s time to act.

Solution – Don’t go shopping without a set plan. Wandering around the supermarket without a goal in mind is a great way to get caught up in sales so only go to a store with a specific goal in mind. Try the 30-day rule too. If something catches your eye, then write it on a list and stick it on the fridge. Once 30 days has passed you can buy the item if you still want it. You’ll find a lot of those sale items that looked so good at the time aren’t what you wanted after all.

When you’re at the Grocery Store

There’s nothing wrong with a little treat now and then, when you’re a busy Mum you deserve to feel good so go ahead and spoil yourself. But if you find yourself shopping on an empty stomach and coming home with things you don’t need, there are ways to curb your spending.

Solution – Create a list before you go to the supermarket. Match it to your budget so you know where your money is going. Avoid shopping during meal times and always eat before you go so your head can overrule your stomach. It sounds simple but try leaving the kids at home too. It’s tough to stick to your list with a little voice nagging you for treats. Compare prices before you load up your cart and stay strong at the register to avoid any last minute impulse buys.

When you’re with the Kids

This is one of those impulse buys that slips under the radar because bringing your kids a smile feels so good. Large and expensive toys may seem like a great idea at the time but as kids mature and age they can soon become outdated. Buying for the little ones also happens on a small scale which makes it difficult to reign in. With the latest smartphone games offering upgrades and unlocks for a very small fee you can sink some serious cash into them on behalf of the little ones.

Solution – Start by considering the longevity of a potential toy. Even a great price won’t make up for your little ones moving on and wanting something else down the line. Try using the experience as a teaching tool. Giving your kids an allowance and showing them the value of choosing something with help the both of you to make better buying decisions over time.

When you’re on holidays

Taking a break from the daily grind is something we all look forward to, but if your family holidays are leaving you needlessly out of pocket, you will come home from the vacation stressed about your finances. Using a credit card on holidays seems convenient but if you’re incurring extra fees or not on top of your budget you’ll come home to a major headache.

Solution – Planning a budget before you go will let you stay on top of your holiday finances. Try taking cash with you and avoid using plastic to pay as you go. If you do need to bring the credit card, consider adding a credit limit to avoid overspending. If you’re a part of the 50% of Australians who overspend on holidays, consider designated ‘discount days’ on your getaway. Use these to look for cheap or no cost activities, because the best things in life are free!

Spending less on needless purchases and saving more money for the things you and your family deserve won’t happen overnight. But by planning your purchases in advance and by spending within your means you’ll soon make impulse buying a thing of the past.

Family Photography Session with Samantha Heather

My mum and dad visited us from Singapore last month and we took the chance to organise a family photo session with the talented and very lovely Samantha Heather. (You may recall that she did a wonderful job 2 years ago when Alexander was only one).

It was a beautiful picture perfect Spring day when we met up with Samantha again at Fagan's Park at Galston where we simply hung out as a family, enjoyed the greenery and fed the ducks. Alexander has become quite resistant to photos lately but even he cooperated after some gentle coaxing (and maybe a lollipop bribe). Here are some shots from the day...

I love the candid shots, the naturalness of it all and in particular, how well Samantha had captured so many aspects of Alexander's personality in the photos. It brings a smile to my face everything I look at them and I know they will be treasured for many many years to come.