Sunday, 21 April 2013

Freckle Beauty

Our little Sunshine has a face full of delightful freckles. So does DW. I find genetics fascinating. Why in one family one or two get freckles and the others don't, when they fade, why brown eyes over blue, green & in between! I know there are DNA reasons for all of this, and according to wikipedia freckles are related to the presence of melanocortin-1 receptor MC1R gene variant and are affected by exposure to sunlight, however wanted to share freckle beauty with you, not the science behind it.

A long time ago little Miss Sunshine made the delightful comment that she liked her face! I wrote a blog about it, inner-beauty last year. As a parent this was so heartening to hear. In our image obsessed culture, it is wonderful when our own children can have healthy self-esteem, be content with who they are and what they are given.

This week Sunshine made the comment she liked her freckles! Again as a mum was thrilled to hear this. I LOVE her freckles too.  Freckle beauty is natural beauty.

DW once randomly licked Sunshine's face, saying he wanted to see what her freckles tasted like! A spontaneous act that sent us all into fits of laughter, a story that will be retold in our family for years to come! Remember when.......

A short blog, a little light & fluffy with no deep & meaning point, simply to encourage us as parents to nurture healthy self- esteem and natural beauty within our children and teens.

Cherishing natural beauty
Cherishing healthy self-esteem
Cherishing moments to encourage this in our families

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Cinnamon bun philosophy

There is nothing quite like the smell of cinnamon buns cooking! In our home these are one of our ultimate family favourites. They may not look perfectly symmetrical like a baker's but they taste homey, healthy and yummy.

We make the dough for the buns in our bread machine, which is easy but somewhat time consuming. You literally throw all the ingredients in et voila out comes the dough. It's then kneaded, rolled out, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, rolled up, cut into 12 slices, placed on the tray and left to rise again. So they are not something you can whip up in 30mins. The whole process takes about 3 hours.

Because of the time involved they are not something we usually make during the week - however if I am ever working from home or have an ADO, my four will ask if cinnamon buns can be made otherwise they are a weekend or holiday special. The word 'cinnamon buns' has even been a code word with a secret meaning for other things in our family, that's how iconic they are to us!

It was a morning this week, being on school holidays, I had put the ingredients into the bread machine early to do its thing and then gave the girls instructions on how to roll out, sprinkle, rise, bake etc as I would not have time to do it before going to work.

However it turned out I got delayed and did end up being home when the girls were rolling out the dough. They seemed to be fussing unnecessarily about extra flour etc and instead of being cool about it & letting them work it out for themselves, I came in & took over! Wrong move!

Instead of lovingly rolling out, cutting up, it became a clinical procedure, something to get done in a hurry before I rushed out the door! I was thinking of the enormous day ahead at work and not focusing on what was happening in the moment.

"Relax Mum, they're just cinnamon buns.......", Thoughtful Princess intuitively piped into reality. I was in too much of a hurry to stop if that makes sense, so finished the job, kissed the girls goodbye & raced out the door.

About 5 klm down the road, I burst out laughing! Laughed and laughed at what had just happened and of my daughter's candid comment. She was right! What on earth was I making such a deal about. I rang to thank her for being so delightful & apologise for taking over. They hadn't really been making a fuss, I had just perceived it as such because I was the one in a hurry, so inadvertently made an even greater fuss! A classic case of 'should have kept out of it & let them be'!

It got me thinking about my daughter's approach to life, she is very relaxed & chilled, calm under pressure {she gets this from her Dad} and of the contrast to myself and other members of our family. Again was ever so grateful for our different personalities and how we can learn from each others perspectives.

I learnt from my daughter again that morning - take the cinnamon bun approach to life.

It's way less stress! Seize the moment with laughter not pressure and relax, keep things in perspective, most things get done, it may not be when we originally thought, but they eventually do, may as well enjoy the journey then fret the small stuff!

Thursday, 11 April 2013


We have an ESFP, an ISTP, an ENFP, an ESFJ and an ENFJ in our family. To some that will mean a whole lot of nothing and to others who are familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality test this will make some sense.

Amidst much laughter, example giving and even some heated debate my four took the test last night to give them a four coded result that indicates to some degree their personality.

The test linked in this blog is a much simplified version of the real deal, however it is surprisingly accurate for what its 72 questions reveal.

The test revealed in our family we have a Performer, a Mechanic, an Inspirer, a Care Giver and a Giver. Once you do the test, it generates a four letter code, which corresponds to a certain typology. It is around how you express yourself, relate to others, how you make decisions, take in and process information.

E - Extroversion     N - Intuitive     T - Thinking      J - Judging
I - Introversion       S - Sensing      F - Feeling         P - Perceiving

Why bother?

Knowing yourself and others can help you accept yourself and others. Even in the process of going through the test and answering the questions my four had lots of ooh, ahhh moments of realising who they are, what they like and why they do certain things a certain way. Even helping each other answer the questions, some very clear cut, others more vague and harder to answer.

I believe it is essential for working in teams and for life in general to understand the diversity of the human personality and can often create a sense of liberty knowing why you and others do, act, think a certain way. And of course there is no right or wrong, good or bad, best or better typology. It is what it is, all personality types having their strengths and weaknesses.

Being a total novice to Myers-Briggs personality test results am not going to comment much further, however enough to say that it was a) a lot of fun doing it together as a family b) gives some good examples of career choices c) can be really helpful to know and understand yourself and others d) does have merit and creditability.

When we looked at the careers options that may suit each personality, it was interesting that a majority of the options were actually ones that my four have considered even for themselves, so again it demonstrated some consistency with personality and career selection.

"Whether people first hear about the two kinds of perception and the two kinds of judgement as children, high school students, parent or grandparents, the richer development of their own type can be a rewarding adventure for the rest of their lives" - Isabel Myers

Give it a go.....

Cherishing my diverse four
Cherishing their unique personalities
Cherishing moments of self-discovery together 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Never a waste of time

Thoughtful Princess & I chugged off to Chermside today with what we thought was a realistic goal of getting her iPhone 4S cracked screen fixed. We had been advised to go to a certain store that apparently replaced them for a reasonable amount {reasonable to us was under $100}.

Upon asking the cost, two very unreasonable amounts were quoted back. For an original apple screen a whacking $175! For a 'generic' screen, $125! We very politely said thanks but no thanks. Having moments before bumped into someone who told us where to get it fixed for half the lower amount!

We looked for a couple of other things needed, but didn't find them either. We had a bubble tea from our favourite Chinese tea bar and came home.

Thoughtful Princess apologised on the drive home for 'wasting' my time.

"Ohhhh honey, being with you is never a waste of time!"

Ever mindful as a parent having share care arrangements that time is already 'halved' with my four. So every moment is doubly precious. Even wasting time together is precious!

Are we such an accomplish driven society that we have to feel guilty for not achieving all our goals? Even small ones. Disappointed yes. Wonder if even in the little things we need to make some wiggle room for simply enjoying the moments, savouring doing mundane things together.

Simply being together is never a waste of time!

Cherishing everything about my daughter
Cherishing simply being together

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

happiness is an inside job

photo by Kerri

It's been awhile since blogging - family life with all the intensity of the last few weeks of school term was hectic, rich & full (banning the word, busy remember!) to say the least.

My four juggling assignments, study, exams, part-time jobs, dance commitments, volunteering & their social lives is fairly full on, it seems to have gone up a notch & more now they are all in high school.

Reliving grade 7 science for the fourth time in a row testing Sunshine on the 3 states of matter, researching with my daughter whether Hitler seized power or was given power and enjoying EQ's sports aerobics routine for assessment over breakfast & DW's grade 7 piano pieces while cooking dinner! The joys of family life.

Happiness is an inside job leaps out @ me like the sign says. In all the hustle & bustle of family life, exams and camping over Easter, we all had our mood swings, highs & lows. The morning grumps & night time melt downs are familiar to any household with children irrespective of age!

The sign, a gift from good friends recently lives in our kitchen. A constant reminder that I am not responsible for my kids happiness. That I am as a parent responsible for their safety, their well being, their health, that they are loved, nurtured, cared for, fed & watered, that they get to bed on time so they can function at school, for setting healthy boundaries to create a sense of security, for home to be a haven & happy place to be - but I cannot 'make my kids happy' - happiness is an inside job. 

We are each responsible for our own emotional state. Toddlers of course need help to regulate or understand their emotions, to learn that emotions do not rule us, we can choose to have self-control! Hmmmm not easy! Tantrums are not the norm! However for toddlers, tantrums are part of growing up. We as parents have to teach them that they are not appropriate behaviour and show them other ways to manage frustration, anger, boredom.

Like toddlers, teens need to be reminded that the world does not revolve around them! They can't always get their own way.That true happiness and contentment comes when you share your life, your resources, your time, your heart with others, are willing to listen, give, relinquish, be selfless - Happiness is an inside job!