Author: Maria | Happy Mum Happy Child

Crazy, SAHM to two kids and one husband.

My Children Are So Different From Each Other

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I have talked about this before – about the fact that although my kids are raised roughly the same, they’re actually quite different. I have two kids, a girl and a boy (in that order).

When it comes to learning, my girl (who is now 6), prefers to stand back and take it in before attempting to do something.

My boy (who is 4), prefers to jump in and just give it a go.

I find it fascinating to watch them develop and grow so differently even though they’ve been raised exactly the same.

As a child, Chloe always loved role-playing with her toys (or things around her in her environment). Ronan did too, but not to the extent Chloe did.

Chloe is playing a game of “making a witches brew” and Ronan is lining up his trucks ready to clean them

She was always setting up some kind of scene, and then interacting with her toys (or whatever), creating a story.

Ronan prefers to line things up, or build things. One of his favourite things to do is line his cars up, or set them up in some kind of sequence.

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When our children are playing, they’re actually learning and forming cognitive structures in their minds.

Research shows that as children explore their play pattern fascinations, they are strengthening the existing connections between the neurons in their brains and building new connections.

The team over at Clever Play Hub have a quiz that you can take and you can discover your child’s play patterns, what they mean, and get ideas on how you can support their learning.

As a parent, it’s always nice to know that the way they’re playing isn’t just for fun (although it is), it’s also a crucial part of their development.

I took the quiz for Ronan and Chloe and was amazed at what it said:

If you’d like to find out how your children play, and how you can encourage their growth and development, be sure to check out the Clever Play Hub:

Thanks to the S-26 GOLD Toddler team for sponsoring this post – have loved finding out about my kids’ development and how they play!


 

5 Ways To Use Your Printer Like The Ultimate Mum

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Before I became a parent, we didn’t have a printer at home. The only printer I used was at my job, and in all honesty if someone had told me that a printer would be an AMAZING tool that’s a part of my family, I might not have believed them.

Now that I am a parent and have seen the other side, I can attest to the fact that having a printer is like having a multipurpose tool at your disposal that can help out with SO many things in your life.

Gone are the days where you just use it to print out spreadsheets, powerpoint presentations or manuscripts; printing is not just about work.

Also gone are the days where you have to purchase ink cartridges every five minutes as the Epson EcoTank printer uses ink tanks and comes with enough ink (in bottles) to last up to 2 years.

So as soon as you start your family, you can utilise your printer; and here are just some of the MANY things you can do:

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PRINT THOSE PICS

Chances are your family photos are sitting on your computer or phone. Print out those captured moments – you can create collages of your children as they grow. Or frame them and pop them up around the house. The Epson EcoTank printer includes up to two years of ink – so that’s a lot of great family photos!

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ENTERTAINMENT TIME

Put together your own activity packs for your kids by downloading and printing colouring-in pages, dot-to-dot challenges, puzzles the kids can cut out and put back together – the list is truly endless. When you become a parent, you have to think smarter when it comes to entertaining kids. Having the EcoTank printer at home makes it so much easier than packing up the kids and taking them to the shops to buy activity books

Here’s some cool free printables to get you started:

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GET FLASHY

Flash cards can really help kids learn and have fun at the same time. Whether you’re wanting to teach your kids what letters and words look like, or perhaps trying to explain emotions, you can have any type of flash card ready in a minute thanks to the EcoTank printer. If your child is old enough, it can also become an activity to cut them out together as well.

Here’s some Flash Cards that you can print out right now:

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HANDY HINTS

For a while, my daughter was struggling with certain letters, so we printed them out and stuck them on the tops of milk caps – you can use this idea to teach your kids in so many different ways. And just print as many as you need, the EcoTank printer has ink tanks, which means you simply refill using the low-cost ink bottle – easy.

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AND SO MUCH MORE …

Invitations, greeting cards, birthday cards, meal planners, daily routine guides, puzzles, prints, motivational daily quotes, bookmarks and honestly so much more! Remember the words “free printables” when you’re doing your next Google search. Thankfully for us parents, the EcoTank printer allows you to print thousands and thousands of pages without having to bother with changing a cartridge – so there’s no excuse not to get printing!

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As I said above, one of the great things about the Epson EcoTank Printer is that you don’t have to worry about running out of ink like a cartridge printer, or even having to go and purchase ink cartridges. The Epson EcoTank Printer uses ink tanks and comes with enough ink (in bottles) to last up to 2 years.

That’s right – the Epson EcoTank Printer comes with enough ink to last up to TWO YEARS.

Honestly, as a parent, it’s such a relief to know I don’t have to think or worry about the ink running out.

Do you have a printer at home? What do you use it for?

Thanks for working with me on this sponsored post Epson – the Epson EcoTank Printer is probably one of the most used items in our house, and the printouts that come out of it keep my kids entertained for hours!

Being Pregnant With My Second Child

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Before we had kids, I always knew I wanted more than one. In fact, I wanted at least 3.

Then I had one child and I said “two will be fine” HAHAHA … when I was experiencing horrible contractions, I remember saying “why did my Grandmother do this 9 times?!” …

Anyway, clearly the trauma of pregnancy, labour, and a newborn baby wasn’t enough to deter us – we got pregnant with our second when our first was 15 months old.

I was excited to be pregnant again, but an overwhelming guilt came over me.

I struggled a lot with my eldest when we were younger. Not because of her, but because of me and my mental state.

I felt like (and still feel like) I have a lot to make up with her for being so sad, and angry; even though she had no idea …

With number 2 on the way, I felt guilty that I was no longer going to be able to give her my full attention.

That my love for her would be split in half – between her and the second child.

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Being pregnant, with a toddler in tow, was difficult too. I had really bad morning sickness for the first 15 weeks, and it was extremely draining.

I was a stay-at-home-mum, and I didn’t really go anywhere with my girl – we didn’t really do play-dates, or mainly music, or play centre or ANYTHING.

I remember I visited my Mum and Dad nearly every single day, and would chat about how my Mum did when she was pregnant with us.

Mum got pregnant with my brother when I was only 3 months old – so she didn’t have a toddler running around. She had a legitimate baby still. I can’t even imagine what that’s like.

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Anyway, the guilt I felt for having another baby slowly went away because I got so distracted with being a parent, and being pregnant.

When Ronan was finally born, I realised that my love for my children isn’t split – it grows.

Love is such an overwhelming feeling too, when number 2 (or 3 or 4) comes into the mix, the love is amplified; and at times it feels too much.

I had such a different experience as a mother with Ronan though, compared to Chloe – but I’ll save that story for another time …


Being Pregnant With My Second Child

Mushroom Risotto

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This is the most amazingly simple and delicious risotto recipe. You only need one pan (obviously), and it will only take you about 40 minutes to cook.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 shallot (or 30 grams brown onion) finely diced
  • 40 grams butter
  • 40 grams olive oil
  • 320 grams risotto rice (Arborio Rice)
  • 60 mils of white wine
  • 1 vegetable stock cube mixed with 50 mls of water
  • 250 g fresh mushrooms (cut into slices)
  • 700 mls water
  • 40 grams parmesan cheese

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DIRECTIONS

  1. In a pan, add the finely diced shallot (or brown onion), the butter and the olive oil.
  2. Sauté over a medium-high heat for roughly 3 minutes
  3. Add the risotto and continue stirring together for 1 minute
  4. Add your Yealands Sauvignon Blanc, also continue to stir for another minute
  5. Reduce heat to medium, and add the vegetable stock (with water), mushrooms, water and stir for roughly 15 minutes until cooked.
  6. Once cooked, stir in the parmesan cheese.

Serve and enjoy!


Mushroom Risotto

 

An Apple-Loving Mum Reviews The Samsung Galaxy A8

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When I saw the Samsung Galaxy A8 was coming out, I was excited. Now before I tell you why I was excited, I have to make a confession: I’m an Apple addict.

I own a lot of Apple products, and the rest of my family call me crazy and are Samsung fans.

They say – “Samsung have a better overall product, a better operating system (Android), and better quality”.

The only thing is they can be just as expensive as an Apple – so like I said above, when I heard the Samsung Galaxy A8 was coming out, I was excited.

I got in touch with the Samsung New Zealand team, and they kindly gave me a brand new phone to test out.

I’m not technologically minded, so my review is simply based on how I found it and was it easy to use. Because let’s be honest – at the end of the day if it’s not easy to use, and can’t take a decent photo, there’s no point.

Oh and it has to be affordable.

Fortunately I think the Samsung Galaxy A8 ticks all of these boxes, with the exception of ONE thing (which I will get into below).

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FIRST THOUGHTS:
Having never had, or tried, any kind of Samsung phone before, I was very apprehensive about trying this. Plus I’m getting older, and trying new things scares me; sometimes I feel I’m technologically illiterate.

However, with the Samsung Galaxy A8 (and I’m sure other models too), it’s very easy to set up, and navigate around.

It’s similar to an Apple in the sense that you download apps from the Google Play store (just like the App Store on an Apple product), but the overall use of the phone is much more customisable than an Apple.

I can’t compare performance between my Apple iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy A8, as the specs on my phone were higher than that of the A8 – so it’s not even a fair fight.

 

HOWEVER, during the week that I fully immersed myself in the phone, the phone kept up with my own one – the camera was also pretty good!

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HOW IT LOOKS / FEELS:
I loved the size of the phone – it was perfect for me. Almost identical in size to my own phone, but slightly slimmer. As I said above, the phone itself is easy to navigate through, and if you’ve used a Samsung before it’ll be an easy switch; even from an Apple to a Samsung is an easy switch IMO.

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SNAPCHAT:
My only issue with the phone was that the camera / video couldn’t keep up with Snapchat app. There was an obvious lag in the video / sound, which meant the audio was out of sync with my face. It was frustrating for myself and my audience, so I dug a little deeper and discovered that Snapchat was in fact designed to work with the Apple iOS. I’m not sure how to get around that – but it did work absolutely perfectly with Instagram.

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OVERALL:
For the price, which is RRP NZ$799 (for the A8) and RRP NZ$899 (for the A8+), you get your money’s worth. It’s everything you could want in a Samsung Galaxy but at a fraction of the cost.

I truly loved the opportunity to review this phone, and was pleasantly surprised at how good the phone was. Obviously the issue with Snapchat was a tad frustrating, however I realise not everyone uses the app.  Also, given the price difference between the S series (which can be over $1000), I would be super happy with it regardless of any Snapchat issues.

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You can buy your very own Samsung Galaxy A8 (or A8+) from Spark, 2Degrees and Vodafone.

Thank you very much Samsung for kindly giving me this phone to review; it was truly a pleasure to try out a different phone from my own.


An Apple-Loving Mum Reviews The Samsung Galaxy A8

Creamy Chicken & Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

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This one-pan Creamy Chicken & Sun-dried Tomato Pasta is a perfectly acceptable Friday night meal. Instead of cream, I’ve used some Tatua Creme Fraiche that I was gifted and felt it would go perfectly with this dish.

*If you’re cooking gluten free, add an extra 50 mls of hot water to account for the gluten free pasta.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 x medium brown onion (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 100 grams sun-dried tomatoes (diced)
  • 30 grams butter
  • 500 grams skinless chicken breast (cut into 3cm pieces)
  • 200 grams Tatua Creme Fraiche
  • 350 grams water*
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 250 grams penne pasta*
I made it in my thermomix but adapted the recipe for a pan

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a pan, add the onion, garlic, parsley, basil, sun-dried tomatoes and butter, and cook over a medium to high heat for roughly 4-5 minutes.
  2. Still over a medium to high heat, add the chicken, Tatua Creme Fraiche, water, wine and chicken stock cube and cook for 10 minutes – stirring regularly.
  3. Add your pasta and continue cooking over the medium-high heat for 10 minutes (or pasta is al dente)
  4. Garnish with extra basil if wanted.

Thanks so much to Tatua for sending me the Creme Fraiche to cook with – we love it in our household!


Creamy Chicken & Sundried Tomato Pasta

All Quiet On Social Media

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This is a long one, so get sat down and buckle up …

If you’ve been following me for a while, you may have noticed that so far this year it’s been relatively drama-free for me.

Last year, I really struggled with drama that I was involved in, or inadvertently started. I never set out to create drama, but last year there was a lot of it.

Most of which you guys don’t know about, but obviously there will be a few things that may spring to mind (I have chatted about some below). Overall, having things said about me which are untrue has really hurt me.

So this year, at the beginning of the year, my friends sat down with me and basically said “you have to learn to stop reacting to people, and accept that not everyone is going to like you”.

It’s something I struggle with because I am a people pleaser.

I also process things by speaking about them – by hashing them out; it’s just what I do.

So last year on Snapchat (happymumnz), I did get emotional about the way I was treated. Or even the way things were going online.

This year, however, it’s been quiet.

It hasn’t been easy for me at all, but basically I have had to dial back my opinion on things; and try to ignore the negative comments.

I wrote a post earlier this year about the people who comment negatively on the internet.

Essentially, I suggested the people who think negatively of myself, or others, should take that negativity and channel it into something positive. Instead of hammering myself (or others) online, they should go and praise their favourite people.

Being positive is so much better than being negative!

I’ve now realised that because I have a large following, there are people out there who just love to hate me. Which totally baffles me because I am seriously not worth hating.

I am just a Mum with a blog on the internet.

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Last year I was criticised for the way I talked about cutting grapes, or the fact I didn’t cut them. And also the fact that ultimately IDGAF what you do, and received a crap tonne of hate for “starting drama” – which I honestly wasn’t but there is no convincing people. That was grape-gate.

Then there was bath-gate – which again I just told people that when I’m on duty (and my husband is away), I don’t necessarily give my kids a bath each night. Again, apparently I was just starting drama – and again I was not.

Then there was pyjama-gate – because I don’t wash my kids pyjamas every day. Apparently when I offer my thoughts on certain topics, people don’t realise my philosophy of “this is what I do, and I know you do it differently”.

Then there are the times I simply stand up for myself – not stating any names or anything like that, but I still get slammed for starting drama.

Finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back: the time I apparently lied about getting paid by Kmart – I didn’t lie. I have never ever been paid by Kmart to do any promotional work. Then I got slammed for not addressing the Kmart thing (which apparently proved that I was a liar) – when in fact I did actually address it.

I addressed it RIGHT HERE (at the end).

I didn’t publicly address it through video, or a dedicated blog, or even on Snapchat like I normally would – because this was next level. And at this point, honestly, people will believe what they want. It was a really rough time for me to have to sit back and say nothing about the whole thing. To basically put my hands up and say “believe what you want”, was hard for me to do. Because of course I wanted to defend myself and shout from the rafters that it was nonsense.

NONE of my friends came up and asked me if it was true – because they all knew it was fake news. Nobody in real life doubted me except people online waiting for a reason to dislike me.

It is a timely reminder for everyone, that not everything you read in the news is the truth …

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At the end of the day, when I look back on this stuff and what was said and done; I have learned a lot.

I have learned to not make comments about other people or situations on social media – even if I feel strongly about them. It’s just not worth it – especially because people like to make things up and believe what they hear instead of coming to the source and asking me.

I do not mean anyone any harm when I say or do the things I’ve said and done – and if I have ever offended anyone by my comments or actions then I apologise.

I am legitimately just trying to live my life as a blogger – sharing what I do with my kids. I do this to help myself and others feel less alone in this parenting journey.

I LOVE the fact that we are all different and do things differently – I think we should embrace this fact and applaud each other for doing it our own way. I don’t care how you do things in your life, as long as your children aren’t being abused in any way, shape or form.

I like being as honest as I can be about things, but as my audience grows larger, it does become more difficult.

Of course I realise that by posting this, I’m essentially re-hashing the drama and bringing it all back up again.

I get it.

I’m not trying to start drama, rather I’m just trying to let you guys know some things you might not have known.

I’ve needed to write some of this for a while but needed to be in the right head space.

So you might see me online and think “oh she’s not as interesting or exciting as she used to be” – good. I’d rather be boring and stay out of any kind of drama.

But there are times when it’s super hard for me not to say something. Or to talk about certain topics.

Believe me, I’m a talker. It’s what I do best.


 

Simple & Easy Pasta with Tuna

Simple & Easy Pasta with Tuna

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Sometimes you get to 4pm and think “oh cr*p I have nothing for dinner”, and you look in your pantry but all the ingredients are melding into one and it’s confusing and you don’t know what to do.

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

This pasta with tuna dish is not only simple and easy, it can also be modified to be gluten free (use gluten free pasta instead of regular pasta!), and if you don’t have tuna, you can add salmon; AND you only need ONE DISH to make it!

I’ve also paired it with an amazing Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc (not sponsored, just a great wine to use!).

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 400 grams (1 can) chopped tomatoes
  • 50 mls Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc (plus another 100mls in a glass for yourself to enjoy LOOL)
  • 500 mls water
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 300 grams penne pasta
  • 425 grams tuna (or salmon) in springwater (drained)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Fresh Basil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat a pan over a medium head with the olive oil and garlic – sauté for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, wine, water and vegetable stock cubes and cook (gently boil) for 10 minutes. Stirring every few minutes.
  3. Take a sip of your delicious wine.
  4. Add the pasta, and tuna, and cook for a further 10-12 minutes (until the pasta is cooked). Stir every few minutes to ensure pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Once cooked, serve and sprinkle with some Parmesan Cheese, and garnish with fresh basil

ENJOY!

Pasta & Peter Yealands Wine

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Simple & Easy Pasta with Tuna

Kylie Jenner Got Mum Shamed And I’m Pissed

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Some people HATE the Kardashian’s and the Jenner’s, but I actually kinda love them.

I don’t have Sky TV, so don’t watch them on Keeping Up With The Kardashin’s; but I have in the past. And now I just live through the news pieces and Facebook posts about them, or what they post on social media; and honestly, I can’t get enough of them.

They do no harm to me, and if anything I admire them for the way they run their businesses. You can think what you want about them, but I have no issue with them.

Lately in the news, Kylie Jenner and her partner, Travis, went to the Coachella music festival; obviously leaving their 2.5 month old with a nanny, or her parents, or his parents; or whoever.

Cue everyone telling Kylie she’s a terrible Mum for leaving her baby at home. You can check out some of the super cheerful comments in one of her Instagram posts below:

I’m not a regular mom I’m a cool mom

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

I honestly don’t even know where to begin with this kind of criticism and judgement. For starters why is Kylie just being blasted? What about Travis – why does the Dad get a pass?

Secondly, who said that once you had a baby you must be known as “Mum” for the rest of your life and only do “Mum” things – it doesn’t matter how old the baby is.

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As a Mum, it was my choice to stay at home with my babies – I couldn’t think of anything worse than going out and partying, or seeing a movie. I honestly just didn’t want to.

I do, however, know that all of us are different.

Some of my friends went out a lot, and other’s stayed at home like me. I really didn’t care either way.

I get a bit angry when Mums get shamed like this, whether it’s a celebrity or someone like you or I. Just because someone does something different from you, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

There isn’t a manual on how to be a parent. Apart from extreme situations, there is no right or wrong when it comes to what you do.

If there was, I’m pretty sure most of us would have jumped at reading it.

Instead, we are left to figure it out ourselves. Often we use our parents as inspiration – usually the way they did it. we do as well (or a slight variation of it). Sometimes the way we raise our children is dictated by the circumstances in our own lives – e.g. those who have to go back to work because there isn’t enough money to stay at home.

Or sometimes we just do things because we want to.

Again, everyone is different and we should be celebrating these differences.

For once I would love to see someone like Kylie Jenner, or Chrissy Teigan (or whoever) go out without their kids and people APPLAUD them for taking a break.

For me, I wanted my life to change once I had a baby (although I did struggle incredibly with that change) but for others, they felt that having a baby didn’t mean your life had to change.

Again, just because someone raises their children differently, or parents differently, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It doesn’t mean THEY are wrong.


Kylie Jenner Got Mum Shamed And I’m Pissed

Listen To The Parenting View Podcast

The Parenting View Podcast

Whether you’re in the car, going for a walk, doing the laundry, feeding your baby, or just sitting down with a cup of coffee … you can listen to The Parenting View podcast ANYWHERE.

It is available on iTunes, and will soon be available on Spotify.

If you don’t have iTunes, you can simply listen to it through SimpleCast.

Be sure to check out The Parenting View on Facebook and Instagram as well …


The Parenting View Podcast