School holiday serenity for stay-at-home mums….or just staying sane.

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I like the school holidays….it is a rest from the school and kindy morning rush, a reprieve from making school lunches, and a chance to try new pursuits as a family. We can have a picnic breakfast in bed at 9 o’clock, and we can stay in our pyjamas til midday if we so choose. Although my three year old asked me today ‘Are you a lady Mummy? Then you have to eat breakfast at the table.’

Holidays can be busier in some ways, and I’m sure most parents find that there are those days that can be a little trying. Especially toward the end of the school holidays or when the weather is rubbish (can someone remind our city that it is in fact actually summer?). Being a stay at home mum, I find that there are good days, and more challenging days. I know they are worried about World War Three breaking out in North Korea, but I think it broke out at our place yesterday, over something as minimal as who wanted  the fork with a puppy on it. And now Miss Three and Miss One are fighting over clothes. One of my lovely sister-in-laws who is a mum of two (and a surgeon!) once commented that ‘It takes a special person to be a stay-at-home mum’. How encouraging. I find that I require a measure of patience to be with my children all day, and often I find myself praying for more patience. How much more so in the school holidays.

Having no family close by, we are fortunate that we have some lovely friends and some wonderful neighbours. Our street has a lovely community of young children the same age and they all play together at each other’s houses. My eldest child is more independent now, and my one year old is fairly cruisy most of the time. Miss Three however, although a delightful girl, has a tendency to be a Tantrum Tessie or Fussy Frieda at the moment. She seems very ready to resume kindergarten again next week (or perhaps it is her mother who is ready for her to start back again!).

We’ve had two weeks away at different times which helps break up the holiday. It’s always nice to go on holiday, and it’s always nice to come home again.  When we are back home my husband (although very hands on) is back at work. So how does one remain serene (or at the very least, sane!) when the sole charge of several young children over an endless stretch of four or more weeks? Everyone is different but for me I find a routine helps and each holiday I have drawn up a school holiday timetable for our noticeboard, with one activity per day. That way the children know what our plans are and we all have something to look forward to. There are many activities around that are free or have a minimal cost, and we aim to leave the house at least once a day. The local art gallery for example is offering free japanese style animation films for children  every afternoon this week. A visit to the local library is next on the cards and Miss Three wants to go ‘op-shopping’! Playdates are often a good chance to catch up with friends that our paths don’t cross with during term time.

I’ve learned to let the mess go in the holidays, as you can see from the state of my son’s bedroom below. ‘The school holidays are also a chance to let the kids explore their creative side and it is my aim to be patient with their ‘creativity’, especially with regard to making huts in the lounge. It always amazes me that they don’t seem to need any help making mess, but they always seem to require help with tidying up the mess. We’ve done some simple art projects such as rock art on rocks we brought home as souvenirs from our camping trip. We’ve discovered that painting outside equals less mess to clean up.

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A project that kept the kids busy for hours was a ‘luscious lemonade stand’, even if the weather was rather cold and we were rugged up in jackets. Master Six has rather a shrewd business sense! And he is also determined to make a tree hut and has been drawing up a detailed plan. But it might have to be a fort as we don’t have a strong enough tree to withstand a hut, let alone several exuberant children jumping in it. And there is always ‘media studies’. I try not to feel guilty if my children watch a little TV in the holidays.

I’ve also been taking the opportunity to have a lovely long walk along the beach some evenings when my husband gets home from work. It’s been refreshing to have some head space and alone time. And every mum needs a secret chocolate stash. In a week or two it will be back to making lunches, nagging them to get out of bed (my six year old is like a teenager in the mornings!) and taxi-ing them to cricket. But for now, we will relish the lie-ins.

DIY Vintage Lemonade Stand

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This kept the kidlets busy for hours, and they earned a little pocket money in the process.

You’ll need:

To make lemonade:

4 lemons

1 litre water

1 cup of sugar

A sprig of mint

A jug

Paper cups

Straws (optional)

Homebaked cookies to sell

A lemonade stand sign

Other decorations – bunting, balloons doilies.

DIY Vintage Homemade Ice-Cream Stand

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Ah summer, we’ve missed you and just as the kids go back to school you decide to pay us a visit. But it is so nice to see you, please do stay awhile.

Our little rustic lemonade stand ‘Luscious Lemonade’ branched out to sell homemade ice-cream as a way to commiserate (or celebrate) the end of the summer school holidays. We offered kiddie cones in two flavours – real strawberry and oreo. We also sold our ‘luscious lemonade’ and had a ‘happy hour’ with half price lemonades. Please peruse my post ‘Penchant for Pudding’ for my real fruit strawberry and oreo ice-cream recipes.

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