Friday, November 30, 2012

The Secret To Being A Good Mother?

Almost every mother wants to do a great job.  It would be great if there was a manual or training course that covered it all!   Mothers read parenting books, attend parenting workshops, and try their best every day - and regularly feel as though they are failing!   We might even feel like we are doing a terrible job some days.  (Even some weeks, and sometimes some years! :)

What makes a great mother?  Having everything home-cooked?  Staying slim and gorgeous?  Keeping the home immaculate?  Having the home messy and relaxed?  Lots of laughter?  Lots of teaching?  Slaphappy?  Always busy? Talkative?  Reserved?  Not too strict?  Not too lenient?   ...

The truth is that we are all so very different.  A great Mum could be any or none of the above.  There is only one quality that I believe all great mothers share, and it's this:  They care.  They love you more than they love themselves.  They care enough and love you enough to do their best every day and to never give up on you or on themselves.  

A good mother may even make lots of mistakes - but not because she doesn't care or isn't trying hard enough, but just because she gets it wrong sometimes.  She will apologize to her children for the mistakes she makes, and might explain to them that she'll probably make more mistakes - as hard as she's trying not to.  

And that will be probably be ok, because her children will be able to see and feel and believe that she loves, and cares, and believes in them, and always will.   A good mother isn't necessarily perfect, but her love almost is.

I find that enormously comforting!   The thought that a good mother is simply one who truly cares.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


2-year-old Maggie's appetite fluctuates, and some mornings she'll eat up to 7 (!!!) Weet-Bix for breakfast, while at other times, 2 is more than enough.  So these days, even if she asks for more, I always start her with 2, and then give her more, 1 at a time as she asks for them.  Still, sometimes she asks for another, and doesn't eat it all, and it's such a waste!!

Lately, she's been eating her 2, then a 3rd, and then asking for a 4th and only eating half of it, so the last couple of days when she's asked for a 4th, I've said 'No'. 

Also, she's been complaining about having milk in her Weet Bix.  When she asks for her 3rd, she says "No milk! No milk!!  Nnooooo!!!!" and gets upset at me putting milk in, though I've tried to tell her it's practically impossible to eat without milk on it.

This morning, she asked for her 3rd, and then her 4th.  When she asked for her 4th I said 'No', but she begged and begged, so I said she could have a 4th, but she HAD to sit up until she ate ALL of it - was that okay? "Yes, I will eat it all up!"  I told her in about 5 different ways that she'd be sitting there till she ate the whole thing, and she agreed, so I gave her the 4th.  When I was about to put the milk in, she started begging to not have any milk in it.  So I said 'Okay, no milk then - but remember you have to eat the whole thing'.  I crunched up the Weet-Bix so she'd be able to get it on her spoon without milk, and handed her the bowl.  She looked at it for aaages, then looked up at me and said "Oh.  no milk."  "That's right!"  I said, "Just like you asked!  Are you sure you don't want any milk??" and she looked at it for ages again, before saying slowly "Nooo... no milk".  She looked devastated, and so obviously really wanted milk, but her 2 year old pride wouldn't budge ... bahahahahaha.

She sat there and painfully downed most of the dry Weet-Bix, while I delightedly cleared up Ana and my breakfast things.  When I was putting the milk back in the fridge Maggie freaked out again and said "No! - Don't put the milk away!!!" and I said "Why?  Would you like some??" but she still wouldn't budge :)

Finally, she said "Finished, Mummy!!" and I asked her if she'd eaten it all, and she slowly said 'Nooo...' and looked sadly down at the remaining dry Weet-Bix (I was impressed at how much she'd gotten through!!).  I asked her again if she'd like some milk to finish it and she said "No".

A few minutes later, she said, "Mummy you can if you want" and I asked "Want to what?" and she said "You can if you want, Mummy" and I said "What can I do?" and she said "You can put the milk in there".  I said "I don't want to, unless you want me to??" - silence. 

Another couple of minutes later I finally heard "Mummy?  Can I please have some milk" :)  Bahahahaha.  So I put some milk in there and she was done in 2 minutes.  I cleaned her up and she asked me for a drink of water, poor girl :)

Hopefully she's had enough of the milk fight.

A while ago Maggie started freaking out every time I cleaned her ears and nose with cotton-tips.  She started throwing a tantrum and saying "No it hurts! No!!!!" every time I cleaned her up after her bath.  One day I got her out of the bath, and we were in such a hurry that I rushed through and didn't cotton tip her ears.  When I said I was done, she froze and exclaimed "No Mummy!  My ears!  Clean my ears!!!!" and she never complained again lol - the things this girl does for kicks! :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Diary of a public pool novice

A long time ago (12 months), in a suburb (not that) far away...

I was stressed and exhausted. It was a really busy time of year  and I was getting very little sleep or wind-down time in amongst everything else.  The weather was warm and sunny, and I found myself longing to be out doing something active.  This was a new and strange feeling for me (what?! Go outside?! But it's hot! And there's no air conditioning out there!!). 

When to make things even stranger, I had a sudden urge to go swim some laps.  I'd been trying to add a little exercise into my life, and I think the idea of being in cool refreshing water on a hot day (and, let's face it, not going for a run or some other kind of horrible outdoor exercise) was almost exciting!

Long story short, a couple of weeks later I found myself at our local swimming pool.  It's gorgeous and old with a great sense of character and a real 'neighbourhood feel' to it.  I love it! (that's not it in the above picture by the way.... that's just a google pool... lol!)

Anyway, the thing about swimming laps at a local pool, if you haven't done it, is that after the excitement of buying some goggles and paying for your pass and walking through the pool area feeling all summery and sporty and, well, 'cool',  you find yourself standing at the side of the pool staring at the people who are 'actually cool'.  And they swim those laps like machines.  I stood there for about 5 minutes trying to decide whether it would be more embarrassing to get in the pool with the machines, or to walk back through the entrance past the women who knows I only came in 2 minutes ago...

But I told myself not to be a coward (pull yourself together woman!),  watched everyone for another 10 minutes to try and figure out the rules, and then took a deep breath and forced myself to get in the water and (let's face it) annoy all the machines.

Here are some things I've learnt:

1) During busy times, there are lots of people in each lane.  You're supposed to find a gap and jump in, joining everyone else in swimming up on the left and down on the right.

2) People don't love it when you accidentally kick them in the head.

3) Choosing the lane with the 'old people' in hopes that it will be a slower lane is not actually good practise.  Not only do they often go much faster than the other lanes, but they'll also leave you feeling much worse than if you'd been in a lane with the Olympic swimmers (did that 95 year old woman just lap me?! AGAIN?!)

4)  This one took me a while to learn, but: Don't Stress.  If you're slow, people will just swim past you.  And try not to take that personally.  It's not worth drowning over (she says, with some experience)

But in the end, here is the thing I found most helpful:

5) Talk to the people at the front desk, and then through experience, work out the times when the serious swimmers are not going to be there!  I avoid the 5-7am time slot, and the 5:30-7pm time slots, and I find that then I can really (really) enjoy my visits to the pool.  On Saturdays or holidays, I like to go in the middle of the day for 30 an hour.  Or when I finish work at 4pm, I love to go straight there and swim for a bit on my way home.  I usually get a lane all to myself and can swim away with my (probably very incorrect... I keep meaning to watch some YouTube videos) swimming stroke.

I've been doing it for a year now, so I'm less intimidated. AND, I've noticed that I'm much fitter, faster and less breathy than I used to be.  I love that sun on my back and the freshness of the water, and I love that when I get out, the stress of the day has generally faded and I've got a fresh wave of energy (get it? wave?!) to accomplish some more things that evening.

Of course, regardless of all this great experience and improvement, the 94 year old ladies continue to lap me... which continues to wound my pride.... just a little.... how do they do that?!!

xo Tammy

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Guest Post - The Seasons of London

(Today's guest post is by Stace, who you can read more from at her Blog here.  She has the most wonderful photos and stories of their time and travels in England and parts of Europe posted there.  You'll feel like you've taken a holiday just reading it - or, more likely really, you'll seriously want to go on holiday there!  Thank you, Stace!! :)

I love the Patches of Heaven blog and am a dedicated reader... so thanks to the awesome ladies at Patches of Heaven for the opportunity to guest post!

My husband and I lived in London for 3.5 years. Each year a bunch of friends would celebrate Thanksgiving together. After the amazing feast, we would each take it in turns around the table to say what we were thankful for. The first year my turn came, and I'm pretty sure I said that I was thankful for my husband... but then I remember saying that I was really thankful to have experienced real seasons. Growing up in Brisbane my whole life I had never seen snow. I had never experienced the leaves all changing colour and the trees losing their leaves. That first year in London experiencing the seasons was really special to me. There's something really magical about the changing of the seasons.


Summer in London is crazy short. You wait for it all year, and then feel that it never really came. But those few weeks of the year where it really heats up, where you can go outside without a cardigan and you find yourself 'dying' at 25's pretty exciting. The British really know how to enjoy good weather. The sun comes out, the temperature rises, and everyone goes outside to soak it up. The parks are packed, people sunbaking on the grass, everyone out walking. It's an incredible feeling. And with daylight savings, there are more 'bright' hours in the day to enjoy!


Autumn comes a little too quickly. You've still been holding out for a longer Summer and all of a sudden the nights are cool and the leaves are changing colour. London parks are so gorgeous in Autumn. I loved walking through them and seeing all the leaves. Daylight savings ends and the clocks change back and the days start to seem shorter.


The first half of Winter in London is exciting. The temperatures drop, Christmas decorations are everywhere, Winter Wonderland Festival in Hyde Park starts, everyone's in coats and boots... I loved it! Every year we were there it snowed. I remember hanging out in our tiny apartment one Saturday in December, listening to Christmas carols, and the first snow of the year started falling. We sat there and watched it snow while listening to songs like Winter Wonderland and Let it Snow, let it Snow. Christmas carols took on a whole new meaning for me. It was so magical to listen to them while watching it snow. Christmas comes and goes... New Years comes and goes.. and then you're left with the second half of Winter. Everyone's heads are down... and everyone is just hanging out for Spring!


London in the Spring is so beautiful. Daylight savings kicks in...The flowers in the parks start to bloom, the temperature is warmer, the air is fresh, there are more blue skies, the squirrels are everywhere, people are smiling once again! :)

Thanksgiving has just passed and I didn't get a chance to celebrate it this year. But I often think of the seasons at Thanksgiving now and I'm so grateful for the beautiful world that we live in and how amazing the seasons come and go and bring such a different beauty with each.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Musings - I'm Thankful For Australia!

The States have just enjoyed Thanksgiving Day - which we don't celebrate in Australia.  But that doesn't stop us from being thankful too of course - and in lieu of a long list I'd like to highlight just one thing..

  Sea, blue sky, white clouds, tourism, beach, Australia

I recently heard an Australian politician give a radio interview in which he spoke about some of his experiences while travelling through China for trade talks.  It was a fairly casual interview; the politician was cheerful and relaxed.  He told of meeting a young boy of about ten years old and telling him that he had come from Australia.  Through the language barrier the man finally realised that the boy was saying, excitedly, "Blue sky!  Blue sky!!"  "Yes, yes!"  he answered, "Australia has blue sky."  


He wondered why that seemed to be a big deal.  It was true that the Chinese sky where they were that day was an unattractive whitish grey, but surely they had beautiful blue skies occasionally too?  "No," he was told.  In all of his ten years the boy had never seen a blue sky outside of photographs!  The politician thought the boy must be exaggerating and he asked some of his Chinese confederates for clarification.  It was correct.  In that city, there was no blue sky.  Can you imagine?

Ayres Rock....middle of Australia.

I've traveled through the middle of Australia, where the sky is so big and so wide that I'm left without words to describe the wonder of it.  I've gazed at a blue horizon over a blue ocean and been unable to say where the ocean ends and the sky begins.  I've looked at a blue sky almost every day of every week for all my life.  I live in Queensland where the tourist slogan boasts, 'Beautiful one day, perfect the next!'   And it is :)

So I am grateful for blue sky!  :)

water blue clouds landscapes horizon white waves houses pier australia blue skies 1920x1080 wallp Wallpaper

Friday, November 23, 2012

T-V Or Not T-V ?

We decided before we got married not to have a television.  It was because of a family I stayed with for a week right before our wedding day.  The children and the parents in the family were all just so nice to one another, in a way I hadn't seen before.  They didn't have a television, so we thought we'd try it...

Google images

It wasn't hard :)  What did we do?  We were in love; we played board games, went for walks and drives, read books, listened to music and the radio, invited friends over for dinner, and talked to one another.  Occasionally a kind friend would feel sorry enough for us to offer us their old TV, but we always said no, thank you :)

board games = ] no tv

As the children came (seven in ten years and yes, I've heard the jokes), I did sometimes regret them not having access to Sesame St. and Playschool.  But eventually videos were introduced and we happily watched our first video, 'Aladdin.' enough times that our children could recite it word for word.  (As luck would have it, we were in an area where there was poor reception, so we were able to have a TV set that could not be used without an aerial, which we didn't have)  We enjoyed family movie nights each Friday too.  We would happily cuddle up together, with pillows and covers and some popcorn, while we watched a succession of video shop golden oldies like, 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers', and 'Mary Poppins'.   Good times :)

The major difficulties in not having a television were having to explain to Social Science and English teachers  that our child hadn't done their homework because they didn't have access to the news or other shows, and the children feeling left out of the inevitable, 'did you see what happened on (a particular) TV show last night!?'  We managed :)

Five thoughts on living without a TV:

1.    Television is a doorway through which the world pours in: the good, the bad and the ugly - and amazingly, we accept most of it into our lives without much question.  When we had  been without a TV for some years we happened to be at a friend's home while their TV was on and an underwear Ad came on.  Shapely girls wearing briefs and bras ran screaming down some stairs and I was a bit taken aback.  It struck me that if I were to open our front door and have half-clad girls run through our house I would be a little outraged and my husband would be appalled!   Yet because it's on television we accept it?  Would we really sit down and get comfortable to watch a couple getting naked together in real life, or watch someone in the shower or on the toilet?  Yet because it's on TV, it's ok?   We seem to unconsciously give up or relax our own standards when we mindlessly accept the standards someone else chooses for us.  I don't like the feeling of passing over my choices to others.  I want to consciously and carefully choose what to welcome into our home.  I want to live with integrity, which for me has meant rejecting a lot of what television has had on offer, because it's not in line with what I want to have in my life or in my family.  

2.    In an article you can read here, one researcher recorded:  "It's sort of counter-intuitive, because people think their kids would drive them nuts without TV..  But parents found that kids became very good at entertaining themselves and didn't need to be entertained all the time by something that was lively and active. They didn’t complain about being bored."  I found this too.  Our children used to play together very happily for the most part, and rarely complained of being bored.  I'm pretty sure that our children grew up happier, closer, and emotionally healthier because they didn't watch TV.  I can't know for sure, but that's how it seemed to us.  I believe our family was better without television.

family playing soccer

3.    I know you can choose your programs, but you cannot choose the Ads, and some of them are doosies!   I remember seeing one Ad where a little girl happily cleaned her teeth for ages (great toothpaste, apparently), while her brother angrily banged on the bathroom door wanting to get in.  No sex or murder involved, but these two were not behaving in a way that I wanted our children to behave.  I didn't need anyone to be giving our children lessons in rudeness and selfishness.

4.   We had television for a limited period a couple of times over the years.  (eg  On a six-month contract when the Australian Olympics were on.)    So we knew what it was like to have it and to not have it.   Occasionally we asked all the children together what they thought about us getting it?  (Mind you, we told them we weren't a democracy and their votes didn't necessarily count; we were just interested)  Of the nine of us, only one son ever voted to have TV.  He loved sports, and he wanted to be able to talk to his friends about the latest shows.  But all the rest of the family felt themselves to be happier without it.

5.    Television viewing for many people is probably their activity of choice between about 7pm and 10pm most nights. That's about 15 - 21 hours a week.  What else could we be doing with all that time?  We could write a book, learn to paint, train for a marathon, learn ballroom dancing, spend more real time with our children and husbands/wives..  We could get on top of the ironing pile, clean out all of our drawers, volunteer somewhere, invent something, sew a quilt, have friends over, study, compose music, take a wood-working course...   And when we do sit down to watch a show we have chosen, a whole 20 minutes out of every 60 minutes is taken with Ads!  Don't we resent that?!  ( I resent that! :)

I could probably go on and on but you get the idea.  You can find more to read of interest about the topic from what other people have written here and here.  But in summary:

It's a choice.   There are many good reasons to have TV, and to sometimes not have TV.  I'm not trying to change people's TV habits; it doesn't bother me what other people do.  My point is just that we ought to consider that we have options...     Although it's the norm, we don't have to have a TV if we decide we'd be better without :)  Worth thinking about? 

Phillipians 4:8


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Death: A Toddler's perspective

Teaching children about death is a touchy subject for some people.  I've heard of people who try to keep their children unaware of mortality for many years.  I never thought I'd keep it from our children, but it's not like we'd planned how to approach the subject before Disney intervened sometime during Maggie's second year, with some of her favourite cartoons.

First there was Mufasa in The Lion King...

Then Ray from The Princess Frog...

and Kerchak from Tarzan...

Disney really doesn't hold back!!  Neither do Bible stories.  The short story is, that at the tender age of not quite three, Maggie knows that people - and animals - die.  She knows it's sad, and that everybody misses them.  She hasn't known anyone who has died or anything - just that it's something that happens.  She doesn't really understand the permanency, but she seems to get the 'trying to save people so that they don't die!' thing.  It all seemed pretty straightforward.  

Until tonight.

When we were peacefully eating our dinner and the fly that's been in our house all day driving me insane started buzzing around our dinner table.  Soon James was out of his chair running around with a tea towel, and I was helping him spot it so he could get it.  Finally he got it, and with the now deceased fly in the rubbish bin, I sat with satisfaction down at the table (yes Mum, after putting the tea towel in the washing).  Obviously I wasn't thinking, because when Maggie asked, 'Mummy, where's the fly?', I immediately replied 'In the bin. Daddy finally got it, it's dead'.  Maggies eyes widened with alarm and dismay and she exclaimed 'Mummy, quick!  I need to help him!!  Get him out!  Get him out!!', and started to climb out of her high chair with some haste!

Oh no.

How do you explain that you just killed the tiny little fly she'd been watching with interest throughout the day?  The little fly that flew around the bathroom while she did her business and chatted to it?  How do you explain her father jumping up from the dinner table with a tea towel and running madly after it to inflict death upon it?!

I have never felt more guilty about the death of an insect.  So I looked at James "My goodness, Daddy!  Why did you do that???"

I honestly don't know if I'll be able to take part in a bug killing again :S  At least not for a while.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Your Science Post... for the year...

Okay, maybe 'science' was too academic a term for this... especially since I have absolutely no science background at all, and will not actually be discussing anything sciency in this post...

I really just thought I'd have a bit of a whinge about my ankle, which has been sore for weeks now.

Turns out I have an injured tendon (can't actually remember the name of the tendon... thus proving my point that this post will not be particularly sciency), and I've been seeing a Physiotherapist for the last few weeks.

This whole physio thing has been a new experience for me, and so I thought I'd pass on some of the things I've learnt:

1) Contrary to what I thought, they are not like a doctor that you visit once and then go away and get better.  It turns out you have to go back time and time again.

2) Tendons take a long time to heal, and if you don't 'be careful' during that process you'll make things worse.

3) For example, when you can feel that something isn't right in your ankle and all the way up the left side of your leg, you should go and see them straight away, not ignore it for 3 weeks while also deciding to 'step up' your workouts at the gym.... your tendon will likely get much worse if you do that...

4) The job of a physio basically seems to break down into a few different areas:

- Prod and poke (ouch!)

- Massage sore areas (and we're not talking a gentle massage here, we're talking the kind that are so painful you start crying)

- Dry needling (it's sort of like acupuncture, but the 'western, medical based' version, where they stick in the needles and then twist them and poke them around to target muscle knots and tightness...)

It looks like this:
Which makes you look like this:

- And finally, they strap sore areas and send you home with exercises to do.

- Oh, and they charge you a lot of money!!

I can't help but notice that 4 of those 5 areas involve inflicting pain (and yes, I'm counting the whole 'charge you a lot of money' thing in there). At least I'm seeing improvement, which is a relief, although it's much slower than I would like.

Hopefully I'll be all better again in just a few weeks?... *sob*

xo Tammy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Guest Spotlight: Amy's Awesome Cowgirl Party!!!

So I'm excited to present my gorgeous friend Amy's Cowgirl Party today!  Her baby girl Milli turned 1 earlier this year, and she put together a party that was SO MUCH FUN for the little ones and really beautifully and creatively done!!

When we arrived, this sign welcomed guests:

Amy's handy husband Morris cut out the wood, and to get the writing on the panels in her chosen font, Amy printed the words, mirror image, onto greaseproof paper.  She dampened the wood, then placed each word face down where she wanted it to go on the panel.  Then she transferred it onto the wood by running over it with a credit card and letting it dry!!  It sounds so do-able and looked awesome!  Morris then just attached them to the stake and into the ground it went!

As we entered the side yard, we came across these:

The sign said to please find each child's and put it on!!  The hats were for all the toddlers, the bandannas were for the bubs who were too small for the hats, and there was also a gorgeous hobby horse for each child!! 

Amy ordered the hats online, sewed the bandannas herself, and made the hobby horses.  She didn't even follow any instructions with the hobby horses - she just saw some and worked out how to do it, and she and her sister spent some time sewing them together!!  Our girls have had their hats and horses for almost 6 months now, and play with them pretty much every day - they're really nice ones, and lots of fun!  If anyone's interested to find out how Amy and her sister made these, maybe I can coax her back to tell us sometime ;)

As you kept walking around to the back, there was a tractor (Amy's Dad's), which was so much fun for the children to have turns 'driving', and for us to get pictures on!! :)  Here's Amy's little man having a ride on it :)

Most of the pictures are Amy's, but a couple are bad quality ones off my phone!... this is one of those, sorry!  But he looks so cute! :)

The backyard was full of play equipment for the children to all play on - and they all made good use of it! :)

In this next pic you can see the patch Amy sewed onto Elijah's now 'cowboy' jeans - the other back pocket was lined with tiny bunting which matched the bunting she sewed for inside - such cute details!! :)

And now to the inside..

Here's a (kind of bad quality phone photo - sorry again!) of the inside room overall - you can see the cute bunting Amy sewed under the window on the left.

Amy had bought some cute little water bottles and replaced their labels with some of her own:

The food tables looked great, and I loved all the theme food :)  

Like everything at this party, the food was in theme, AND really age appropriate for the toddlers there - I know my girls love sinking their teeth into a cob of corn, eating chicken wings with their hands, and they loved all the fruit and mini sandwiches and hot dogs!

The 'Milli's Farm' and 'Milk' boxes, Amy and Morris made, and this time Amy printed out the words and traced, then painted them onto the boxes.  She went op-shopping to pick up the baskets they used around the place, and bought the hay bales from a local sugar cane farm!  

One of my favourite things at the party were the old school milk bottles in the special milk crate:

Amy borrowed her bottles from a friend, but said you can get them on ebay.  She bought the paper straws online, and just before it was time to come inside and eat, she filled the bottles with different flavours of milk. SO perfect for the age group of the party - good for them, and the children loved them :)

Then there was the sweets table: 

A friend of Amy's made the cute little signs and labels you can see around, in the farm theme.  In the end Amy was so busy with the rest of the party prep, she got the cake, cupcakes, cake pops and cute animal biscuits from Cakes, Cups and Pops - a local lady who did a great job - they were all really delicious and SO cute!!

Each of the children had a cupcake, and I laughed so hard at Maggie's awed face when they placed one of the cupcakes with a whole icing animal topping it in front of her! :)

I think the birthday girl enjoyed hers too :)

I'd never tried cake pops before, but these were amazing!!!

Each child received an animal cookie to take home...

Amy made the 2 bright blue cakestands (!!) by getting 2 terracotta pots from Mitre 10, and glueing one on top of the other for the stand, and getting a larger terracotta plate, and glueing it on top!!  Then she spray painted them the bright blue.  They looked amazing!! :) - how creative is that?!

Even the chocolate biscuits were nicely in theme :)

Bless wagon wheels! ;)

I loved the basket of apples by the table too :)

And the party bags - the mini bunting across the bottom of the table is the same bunting Amy sewed onto Elijah's pockets :)  I love the hessian Amy had around the place, adding that country touch!

I haven't even shown you the Birthday Girl properly:

Amy sewed an 'M' onto Milli's plain white onesie, and she was a rocking cowgirl in a pettiskirt, denim jacket and her cute hairband :)

Here's the whole family:

Meanwhile, outside, each guest had their picture taken in a fun blue frame:

The children played 'pin the chick'... (Amy found this at Spotlight)

And then participated in some good, old fashioned horse racing, which - you can tell by their faces - they LOVED :)

Then topped the fun off with a horse piƱata :)

Amy had put in a few little toys and sunnies as well as sweets...

And the toddlers were rocking their style :)

This party was so wonderful, because as well as there being so many cute theme touches, everything at the party was perfectly age suitable for Milli and her friends, and Elijah and the other older siblings who were invited along as well.  The food was perfect for them, the games and activities were perfect, and they all had a BALL.  And the girls have been cowgirls around the house ever since! :)

Thankyou so much for sharing, Amy!! :)

You can read more about Amy's little family on her family blog here, and we may have her back soon - Elijah's birthday is fast approaching ;)