Thanks for stopping by to KN J Tales and Snippets! Let me tell you a bit about myself and how this blog came to be.
I started journal writing as a form of cathartic release from all of the stresses of being a mother of two young children, working, and day-to-day living.
I found that many of my journal entries were funny snippets of my day spent with my two adventurous and cheeky cherubs. Oftentimes, I’ve found myself in rather amusing and outright unbelievable situations. Of course, there have been times upon self-reflection where the entries speak of the darker moments in my life, like my struggles with mental health issues and parenting.
Journal writing re-awakened my love for creative writing and storytelling. I found a desire to share my words with others. And so after much deliberation, this blog was born. My very own blog journal!
If you choose to join me on my journey, you’ll probably read short stories based on my personal experiences in life and as a parent. Most of the time, they’ll be funny and relatable, maybe even inspiring! Other times, you might read some words that are hard for me to write but find the courage to share.
I’ll aim for a weekly post. Maybe even two! (very unlikely at this stage in life)
Subscribe to my email list if you want to be informed of new content as my posting regime is best described as erratic.
I hope you enjoy reading my words as much as I love writing them.
People deal with stress in all manner of ways; meditation, nature immersion, exercise, getting support through conversation, spending time with family and friends, writing, KFC. Each to their own and hopefully, in non-destructive ways. My coping mechanism involves keeping busy to prevent my mind from rumination. Left to my own devices, I tend to wallow in self-pity and catastrophic thoughts.
Given that I’m currently experiencing stress at peak levels, I needed some “projects” to me busy. When I received an email from Henry’s childcare stating that parents could to do small jobs in lieu of the contribution levy, I put my name forth. The wrapping of Christmas presents was my first choice, but that was snatched up within two minutes of the email being sent. So the next best option was the sewing of sheets for the children’s bedding. This seemed easy enough, how hard could mending a few sheets be?
Little did I know when I accepted the job that I would be making the sheets from scratch! One of the parents had come up with a brilliant plan to use queen sized sheets, cut up into parts to make the children’s bedding. From one queen sized sheet, three sheets with a cover could be made. I was given enough materials to make eighteen sheets. To have the levy refunded, the parent only needed to volunteer two hours of their time.
I am no seamstress. I’m an amateur at best! It took me roughly an hour to make one sheet and cover! Being the person that I am, I couldn’t return the unfinished sheets and so I’m making all eighteen. It helps Henry’s childcare, the children have new bedding for the upcoming year and it keeps me busy. A win for everyone. Hopefully, the stitching lasts one cycle in the wash!
In addition to this, I decided an overhaul of the family meals was in order. I banned all take-away, eating out and processed meats. I changed everything to low-fat (except for the kids), high fibre white bread to wholemeal and white rice to brown. I reduced the red meat intake to once weekly, added more fibre, fruit and vegetables to the meals, and cut out all junk snacks. Extreme? Probably, but I don’t do things by halves and this keeps me preoccupied.
I think the family have accepted some of the changes rather well, despite the reactions and comments that I have received so far. Initially, I was dealing with this:
Henry (3 y.o.), gagging with each mouthful of veggies. “I’m not eating that! No way!” “This makes me want to vomit!” “Where’s the meat?” “No vegetables. Yuck!”
Mandy (7 y.o.), eating only after negotiating TV deals. “This is disgusting!” “Do I have to eat it all?” “How many more spoonfuls?” “If I eat this, can I watch TV?”
Gary (hubby), eating only after I gave him my death glares. “This is so bland!” “I’ve lost two kilos!” “We can’t go from high calorie meals to this!” “This isn’t a race. It’s a marathon!” “Make smaller changes and make it stick!”
Now, I claim victory with these wins: 1. The kids think All Bran cereal tastes like chips (poor sods). 2. The kids haven’t noticed the change to wholemeal bread. 3. The lack of available snacks has meant everyone is reaching for fruit, seaweed, nuts and Greek yoghurt instead. 4. The kids are picking at the salads whereas before they wouldn’t touch it. 5. Everyone loves the homemade air-fried potato fries.
In light of the success thus far, I was thinking of branching out and trying new things. Like organic produce and introducing different mushrooms and tofu. Maybe even trial kale?
Could this push us into the realm of too fast too soon? I do wonder if I can keep up this diet or whether my body will just chuck a fit and force my mouth to feast on all those forbidden foods.
Maybe this time, I won’t have to come clean about my secret stash of Cheesels and Aero Mints or explain why they’re hidden in my underwear tub. Only time will tell.
For Henry’s third birthday, we wanted to give him a memorable day full of his favourites; trains and farm animals. I booked an overnight stay in a quaint little cottage on a working farm, about two hours away in the country.
The plan was to explore the farm, have his favourite dinner (spaghetti bolognese with angel hair pasta) and birthday cake (see the photo of Lightning McQueen and Mack Truck – yes, I made them), and then go on a steam engine train ride the next morning.
Naturally, being a chronic over-packer, I tried cramming half the house into our car. We needed raincoats (it’s spring but what if it rains?), two sets of all clothes and underwear (because options are important), a heap of nappies and wipes (you can never have enough!), an assortment of breakfast and hot drink options (I have particular tastes), my kindle (for when I have a millisecond to read)… and the list goes on!
As I stood there, hand on hip, finger on the chin, unwilling to admit Jenga defeat, my husband oh-so-helpfully asked, “Do we really need all the pillows and the kid’s doonas?”
Wha?! Seriously? To me, that was a redundant question. It’s common knowledge that pillows in hotel/motel/inn/B&B/AirBnB are NEVER replaced. Drool is the least of your worries. My toilet seats are probably cleaner than those pillows! And isn’t it nicer to sleep on your own pillow – germ-free? As for the doonas – well, I’m willing to sacrifice my body to bed mites but not my children’s! Am I a germaphobe? Maybe.
Before we could get on the road, we needed lunch so we stopped at Henry’s favourite eatery, which happened to be in a shopping centre. While there, I reasoned that gumboots were a necessity for all the farm poo that would undoubtedly be present. Knowing my extreme aversion to stepping on any form of faeces (it’s called coprophobia), the family begrudgingly agreed and followed me from store to store looking for them. Given that gumboots are for winter and not spring, there were none to be found. After Henry yelled out, “I told you there weren’t any gumboots in here Mummy, I told you!”, I was adequately chastised for my idiotic request.
So off we drove, packed like sardines, to our farm stay. I was thankful that the cottage was clean and had minimal carpets. The host was welcoming and gracious, allowing us to see their week old piglets, chickens, sheep and working dogs.
The only downside – or maybe it was an upside – was the lack of internet reception. I don’t think people truly realise how reliant (addicted) they are to their phones. My husband forgot to bring his charger, so his phone died shortly after reaching our destination. He was desperate enough to ask a waitress about phone charger availability, stating to me that there would be dire consequences if he didn’t find one. I thought he was worrying about work but it turns out he “needed” to log on his Clash of Clan’s account to twiddle with his people. This overnight trip was a good reminder of keeping priorities in check.
The next morning, we went on the vintage steam engine train ride. We were seated in the Excursion Carriage of a preserved train from the late 1800s (cattle class as Henry didn’t meet the age restrictions for First Class). We got a signed guide book from the train conductor. We watched the townspeople dressed in their olden day clothing do a tap-dancing performance. We had delectable scones in a tea room. It was a fun day exploring small townships and experiencing an authentic steam train ride.
That night at home, while I was tucking Henry into his bed, he came up with a doozy.
“Mummy, I had lots of fun on the train today. I think I want to go to space on a rocket for my next birthday.”
Do you think NASA hosts birthday parties or do you reckon I should get started on that astronaut training?