Friday, March 30

to the mother with no name...

The other day I took my daughter swimming.  A weekly occurrence.

I sit near the pool and watch her.

There are other children in the group and I know their names but not the names of their mothers.

We say hello each week and exchange simple chit chat.

But this week was different.  I sat near Luke's mum and said "how are you?"

...."oh it's just so hard....this mother hood thing...I feel like I'm forever chasing my tail...I'm getting sick...there are never enough hours in the day...I feel guilty...need time for me...I'm exhausted...I can't keep up.  Luke is my youngest and I feel he's dragged from pillar to post with the demands of my other two children.... I want to just stop and play with him, but there is always something else to do...I feel so guilty....guilty.  All. The. Time."

All I did was sit and listen.  She needed to vent and I was that anonymous face that she could say it too...

So to the mother whose name I do not know...this is for you.

When you thought I wasn't looking

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make my favourite cake for me and I learned that little things can be special things in life.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give you time and money to help people who had nothing, and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don't.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I felt you kiss me good night and I felt loved and safe.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw how you handled responsibilities, even when you didn't feel good, and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that I sometimes things hurt, but it's alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I looked at you and wanted to say, "Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking'.


It was a few months ago that a friend showed me this a time when I really needed it.

Now I'm passing it you have someone who needs it too??


Thursday, March 29

{Easter Jars}

Yesterday my daughter and I got a little creative and made some Easter Treats.  And by "make" I mean buy all the stuff and assemble so it looks pretty.  No other craft could be easier than "the make it look pretty" craft. 

So a quick trip to the local $2 shop and I bagged some cute little jars (for yep $2!) and some lovely shredded tissue paper.  Next stop was the local grocers for top quality chocy eggs, and Easter inspired m & m's.  Who could resist a little collection of cute little fluffy chicks as well??

Assemble, colour coordinate if you heart desires and top with a cute little chicken! 

Do you make anything special at Easter time? 

Tuesday, March 27

The feel good life {stimulating}

Welcome back to The Feel Good Session.  Today is all about stimulating our brain....

If I had a dollar for every time my parents said "doing the crossword helps you keep your brain active" I'd have well, a lot of dollars!  I'd often be caught rolling my eyes into the back of my head as my parents sat in great concentration figuring out 8 down and then the great delight and cheer when they complete yet another crossword.

whoo, bloody hoo - I would think.   So you can imagine how chuffed I was when I spotted an article in last weeks paper titled "baking cupcakes as good for your brain as a crossword" - you see I think I must have always known that baking had more delight that just the enjoyment of consuming said goodies.

And I don't believe it stops there.  I think there are heaps of activities that are good for the brain, that stimulate us to think, just like the hailed crossword.

Things like puzzles, reading, cooking, baking, jam making, sewing, gluing, cutting, scrapbooking, knitting, photo taking, cross stitching, bird watching, computer time,  committee volunteering, beading, crocheting, sudoku, scrabble, debating, learning something new, meeting a new friend, catching up with an old one, enrolling in a short course, starting a long course, orienteering, practicing another language,  writing a letter (with a real paper and pen) and writing a novel.....just to name a few!

In fact, I think the key is that you enjoy it, and you feel challenged by it.  I'm yet to master the perfect chocolate cupcake, but I don't see that as a failure.  I see it as my crossword yet completed!

What is your crossword stimulus?

Monday, March 26

why does it take so long?

Source: via Natalie on Pinterest

I often wonder, at small little insignificant instances and think...

Is it just me?  Or do other people do that?

Take for instances, small little differences to my life, that if I actually took a very little time and dedicated it to the task, would make my life so much easier.

For example - Pegs.  Yes, the very clever item used to hang washing on the line.  Because all mothers can vouch that a) they have oodles of washing and b) need pegs. But you see my peg supply has slowly dwindled away due to them constantly breaking and I'm sure the kids think they make fabulous toys and run off with a whole handfuls never to be seen again.  So for the past six months each time I hang out the washing, it has been my new strategic game to hang out the washing using minimal pegs possible.  Six months I've been hanging 3 socks with one peg, and lining up all the tea-towels so the ends touch.  A little triumph when all knickers, socks and clothes are hung out without a spare peg required.  Sad I know.

The other day, it cost $1.87 for a packet of 200 pegs.  Why did it take me so long?  so simple?

The other a little more embarrassing actually.  You see I noticed in the top draw of the kids bathroom a little bottle of sample hand-cream and tipped over and the cream was oozing out the lid.  I wont confess to how long it had been that way...just say long enough!  I noticed it each time I opened the draw and thought "oh, i'll get around to that...just not right now" and slid the draw shut.  It wasn't until the Parent-in-law were due to arrive that I quickly grabbed some loo paper, wiped up the mess and disposed of the bottle.

Why did it take me so long?  So simple...but why??

Please tell me I'm not the only one?  Do you have things just waiting for your attention that really if you did attend to it, could make your life easier?

If so...go do it!  And share, so I don't feel so bad!


Friday, March 23

The play date disaster...

Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

Ok...I've been a school mum for a little over six weeks.  I feel very new, out of my depth and a little intimidated by all the experienced school mum's out there that "know what's going on".

So the other day, another mum from the same class and approached me and asked if we could organise a play date as her son seems to talk a lot about my son.  Yep, easy done.  We swapped mobile numbers and set aside a play date at the park one day after school.

That day arrived and I got a text message from said mother that it was too windy* to go to the park and she invited us to her house and she offered to pick up my son at school.  This was my first warning.  I replied casually that change of venue was fine, but that I would pick up my own child from school since he has most likely never clapped eyes on you... (thankyou very much!)

Once I got to school this was a little how the conversation went;

Her "Ok, so my husband is at home with a head-ache, so I'm not so sure about our play date"
Me: "Oh ok, we could always just head to the park like we planned?"
Her: "Oh I think it's too windy* - a branch might fall on us!"
Me: "Ok..."
Her: "I wonder if there is somewhere else we can go?"
Me: (sigh) "Well, why don't we just go to my house?"
Her:  Eyes light up! "Ok then, I'll drop Jerry** off for about an hour?"
Me:  "Excuse me?  Drop him off?  Don't you think that he might feel a bit unsure, seeing as your son doesn't know me or even been to my house before?"
Her:   She looks down at her son - "You wont mind, will you Jerry? (he gives a little shake)....See he'll be you look like an OK kind of person!"

(Ok!  I look Ok?!!  I'll give you ok!) I think internally!

Given she drove and I walked, I was able to go over this conversation for a few moments as I paced the pavement.  To be honest, I felt like I'd been railroaded.  Did I just consent to babysitting her child (whom I know nothing about) without so much as an option of refusing?  My mind started racing as I could see myself feeding this child dinner, bathing him, and reading bedtime stories.

I resolved to tell her, that I would feel much more comfortable if she actually stayed during her son's time in my house!  She was waiting for me when I arrived and as I approached she made to farewell her child at the gate.  I stood, shoulders square and offered that she come inside for a cup of tea and and that really it would be a good idea if she stayed.  Luckily she accepted without need for re-enforcing the issue.  But.... I felt at a loss as to how this was going to pan out.  I made a lame excuse that I had to be somewhere soon, so the play date was cut shorter.

Did I over-react about her offer to 'drop off' her son at mine?

Has some-one you didn't know very well dropped their kid at your door? And how did you react?

Is this usual school play date policy now our kids are getting older or am I well within my rights to want to suss people out first and get to know them before looking after their kids?

*windy?  slight breeze my book....perfect park weather!!! 
** The child's name has been changed to protect his more identity....thing is, he appears to be a sweet little kid! 

Wednesday, March 21

imaginary friend

Did you ever have an imaginary friend growing up?  I didn't.  I tried though at one point.  I think I lasted about two or three hours and then I forgot about poor said imaginary friend and skipped along playing another game.

I'm pretty sure my kids have one though.  His name is Stoopi and he has been around ever since my youngest child could talk.  My children play with him, he is included in most things and lately he gets told off when he misbehaves. Even I've had to tell him off.  It's quite adorable to watch. 

Lately I've asked a few questions about Stoopi...

How old is he?
            "oh he's turning 7" says my son,
            "he's six" says my daughter

Where does he live?
            "here - with us!" they say

Does he play with you all the time?
           "No, only when we ask him"  they concur

Stoopi even came overseas with us.  My daughter made sure she had a place for him on the plane, and told him where his toilet was.  Nowadays she brings toys in the car so that Stoopi can have things to do whilst we go to the shop/swimming/kinder etc.  Apparently Stoopi stays in the car.

Imaginary or not, Stoopi feels like part of the family.

Did you or your children have an imaginary friend?
Do share....

Tuesday, March 20

Feel good life {getting fit}

Welcome to the first Feel Good session.  I've been doing a bit of blog soul searching lately.  Working out what I want to blog about and all that sort of stuff.  So each week I'm going to focus on a Feel Good Life moment.

Something good, something simple....About making the best of the life we have.

At the start of the year, I put it out there. 

A list.

Of things that I wanted to do this year.  One of which was "get fit"

Now if you know me IRL, or even if you don't, you may have read this post, but me and Fit have never really been friends.  I'm more sportsgirl than sporty...

But call it whatever you like but since the start of 2012, I've been getting to know Fit.

Daily, I run - on a treadmill for about 25 minutes.  I push myself and end up all puffed and sweaty! I then do sit-ups, reverse crunches, bicycle crunches, squats, weights and that horrible thing called The Plank! I'm doing it in order to get Fit.   We walk to school for drop off and pick up.  My kids love the outdoors and we love getting active together.  I love to know they are seeing me regularly exercise and looking after myself.

Since my commitment to Fit, I have more energy.  I eat less. I feel more focused.  I sleep better and wake better.  I Feel Good!  And that's the key....It really has made difference in the way I feel.  It's not about weight loss, it's about caring about my body so it can perform the many tasks I ask of it each day.

Me and Fit....we're not quite friends yet, but lets call us acquaintances.

Is Fit your friend?  If so how do you keep the friendship going??  Does it make you feel good?

Do share...

Saturday, March 17

I'm grateful for {tradition}

Last weekend we dedicated a whole day to making the Italian Sugo.   The weather was perfect.

The tomatoes were ordered, they were sublime....perfect sauce quality.

I decided that I would photograph the day as this is a tradition that I'm sure many European families uphold, but the finer details, well....they are not recorded.  So I thought I would ensure that this tradition lives on... I snapped away, and took notes of each critical step.  I donned an apron and worked at it all day, eager to experience it all.  All the while the Italian coffee was on tap, the music tarantella in the background and the conversation entertaining.

My in-laws are experts in their field.  What was probably originally a very thrifty way of preserving tomatoes, is now a labour of love.  We did the whole process outside...using the big brick oven in the shed to boil tomatoes and then sterlise them once bottled.   I doubt that it is cost effective now a days given the amount of work that it involved in comparison to the cost of a tin of tomatoes...but two differences.  First the joy and love of having this annual experience, and secondly of course is the taste.  Nothing can compare.   One days work and I have a years supply!

So today, I'm grateful for...

Traditions....That they are passed on from one generation to the next.  For the joy of seeing my in-laws excited that the next generation is taking an interest and appreciation of 'the way it used to be'.   And my excited that I will ensure that I uphold it in my generation the one that follows.

Join in and be grateful here...

Do you have a family tradition that you love?
Are you making your own family traditions that you will pass onto your children?

Apologies for so many photos!  I couldn't refrain plus I know our italian relatives will love looking at them!!!! 

Tuesday, March 13

50 a day {a challenge}

Ok - I've set myself a new challenge.

I've noticed lately that I can't stop adding to my "books to read" list that I so cleverly created at the beginning of the year.  A list that I thought every now and again I would add too until.....Oh's getting seriously out of control. 

But with so many books to read and so little time, it was time for another challenge.

50 a day.

not books a day - are you crazy!

Pages.  Pages....50 pages a day.  minimum.

On average, most books are somewhere between 300 - 500 pages. Average that out, and I'm reading a book every ten days, if not less.  sounds promising.  I just tore through my lasted (The Best of Me - Nicholas Sparks - sob!) this Labour Day felt bliss-full.  Nothing like knocking back a book in a weekend!

After giving myself this challenge, I have become adept at filling in little bits of time with ensuring this challenge is met.  And don't for one second think that it involves bringing the book into the loo, because you can cancel that thought out entirely.  But....small little moments....5 minutes here....whilst I'm stiring dinner...watching the kids play outside.....pushing the swing....that moment when you've pulled up at the Kinder gate and you're a few moment early....or waiting in waiting rooms.  It's surprising how useful those moments can be.  I'm not cramming the whole 50 pages in at night before my head hits the pillow....

My book goes everywhere with me, and ends up each night by my bed..... you make a list of books you like to read?  If so, how do manage it?

And what's on your reading list? Because of course, I just need another excuse to add more to mine!


Friday, March 9

I'm grateful for {solitude}

Pinned Image

I realised early on in my life (oh say about eight or nine) that being by yourself wasn't such a bad thing.

I didn't need to always have someone around me, playing with me, entertaining me or even just sitting next to me.  I loved finding a little quiet place in the house or in the backyard to potter around, think, craft or read.

Nothings changed - although the responsibilties of an eight year old compared to now are somewhat different (and envious).  But I love some solitude. Don't get me wrong....I'll be the first one to invite you over for coffee, cake a chat or head out to a dinner party or even scream madly whilst running around with my kids in the backyard.  I'm up for that too. Alot of that actually.

But solitude. Even the word. Solitude.  Say it with me.....Solitude. Sounds good hey.

I'm more than happy with me, my own thoughts, something to do (for me) or even not for me (like folding amd sorting the families washing)....anything really. In Solitude.  It's calming, comforting and nice.

So today I'm grateful for Solitude.  That when it visits, I grab it, relish it, take it as time to nuture me and fully enjoy it.

Do you like Solitude??

Please join in here.

Thursday, March 8

The commercial they didn't want us to see....

After yesterdays rather controversial post, I thought I'd do another (with the focus on something other than me and my opinions!)  

A colleague showed me this clip at work the other night.  It's a commercial raising awareness of the power of behaviour and that what children see, they do.  It's focus is on parents. 

It's been banned here is Australia.  Why?  I guess because it's quite confronting.  The message is clear, and some of the scenes really do leave you wondering.  I work in an industry that helps parents with their struggles of raising children.  I'm not sure if this would help or hinder though.  Parents are blamed for so much these days and an extra kick in the guts might not be what they need.  People see a misbehaved child and immediately blame poor parenting.  It's just not that simple. 

Take a look.
What do you think? 

Sunday, March 4

turkish yoghurt and fig cake

I love my fig tree immensely.   It creates so much shade in our backyard that it's almost like another room under there...and then at this time of year they give a great joy of producing one of my favourite fruits.  I'm known to just stand under it, and gorge myself silly on fig after fig, sharing the joy with my daughter who has taken my lead. 

But every so often, I think they deserve to be used in a different way.  Enter this recipe and I cannot believe my luck when I stumbled across it in blog land a little while ago and hung on patiently waiting for my figs to ripen.  This cake combines so many things I love, greek yoghurt, lemon and fig.  How could I resist. 

It has a consistency like a cheese cake and the lovely sharpness that goes well with the sweetness of the figs.  I didn't have any orange blossom water, so used a little extra lemon and it was still fantastic! 


Turkish yogurt cake with figs

Ingredients (for a 22cm/9-inch spring pan):
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons Plain Flour
1 1/2 cups  Greek yogurt
grated zest + juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons orange blossom water
  4 fresh figs, halved 

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy and light. Add the flour and mix until combined. 
2. Add the yogurt, lemon zest and juice and mix until combined. Add orange blossom water if you have it. 
3. Whisk egg whites using electric beaters until firm and fluffy Gently fold into yogurt mixture until combined, from the bottom to the top, using a spatula.
4. Grease a spring-form cake pan with butter. Pour mixture into the pan and arrange the fig slices on top. face up. Bake it in the oven for 50 minutes or until the top is browned. The cake will rise  a lot  but will decrease when removed from the oven. Let cool before serving.

Saturday, March 3

I'm grateful for {the nucleus}

Family.  It's what defines us, nurtures us, embodies us, hopefully meets our needs and help us dream.

A family is only a strong as the individual components that make it up.

The nucleus...the heart of the family....the shared beat.....

Today that's what I'm grateful for....

I'm grateful that I feel such a strong connection with the three other people that reside with me.  They love me, and I love them - unconditionally.  As my children are getting older and personalities are developing I'm proud and honoured just to be apart of it.  As my husband forges on, creates his personal dreams and concurs them, I relish in standing by him and knowing that I can celebrate with him (or not but just be there).  And me.  My three cheerleaders cheering for me, backing me up, supporting me and loving me.

No. matter. what.

For the most part This Family works like a well oiled machine.  We are evolving, creating memories on a daily basis and I just am so very very grateful.

Join in with this lovely lady who I must say, made one very stunning bride ten years ago today.

Happy weekend

Friday, March 2

the challenge is over...

It's finally over!  I did it.  I wore a dress a day for the whole of February. 
Ok - I took one day off as I was too sick to get out of the trackies, so technically there are only 28 dresses up there - but I am still basking in my success at this challenge.  And it was a challenge as Melbourne and surrounding areas that I visited during this month threw at me some wayward weather.  From stinking hot to stormy winds, I was determined not to let a little heat or for that matter some rather icy winds get in the way. 

I'm pleased that this also help me get reacquainted with my wardrobe full of dresses.  For the purpose of this challenge I moved them all out of my room and into a lovely big antique wardrobe in our spare room.  I think they will stay there - it has been a delight to give them there own little space and a change of scenery helped me see them in a different light.  

I know that I wont be sticking to my few favourites, but venturing out more often and enjoying them all a little more that I once did.  Thanks to those that followed my progress on Instagram and those friends in real life who kept me honest!