Several years ago, we had the fantastic idea to take the kids on a bushwalk.
Not a huge trek, just a short walk along the coastline to see a lighthouse and take in the view.
Not a huge deal. Right?
Wrong! Within 20 metres the whinging started. I’m hot, I’m tired, my shoes aren’t working (shoes were fine, toddler logic was at work on that one)… On and on it went. To our credit we persevered and after what seemed like 14 hours we completed the ‘trek’. Arriving back at the car, both of us declared that bushwalking had been a fizzer.
No time to take in the view, the glorious coastline. Just one enormous whinge-fest!
Fast forward a few years, and we have taken a quantum leap forward.
Over the weekend we visited the glorious Springbrook National Park. Tucked up in the hinterland behind the Gold Coast, this spectacular park looks like it is straight out of Jurassic Park. Waterfalls, rainforest, sheer cliffs and brilliant tracks to explore, Springbrook promised a lot.
I was less that sure we were up to it. Sure we had no toddlers in tow, but we did have four kids (now 6 through to 11) to keep motivated and enthusiastic.
Short story…it was brilliant!
All of us were blown away by the majesty of this place.
All of us loved it, even with two kids tripping over, a grazed knee and some steep tricky tracks to contend with.
As we triumphantly finished the 2 hour (yep, 2 hours!) trek, I was brimming with pride at my little gangs efforts.
We are now a family that bushwalks again!
Have you been bushwalking lately? Share your favourite track!
I cannot believe that it is almost time for school to go back. Summer holidays are so long, weeks and weeks of no school, trying to think of things to do, and sometimes (a lot of the time?) dealing with ‘bored’ kids.
To help out a little, here are a couple of winners I have discovered over the years with my gang.
- Visit the Libraries in Brisbane. Don’t worry if you aren’t a member, it’s super easy to join! Check out the library in person or online for holiday activities, our local library has craft, lego, author (last holidays it was Roald Dahl) celebrations. Best of all it’s free! Most libraries nowadays also lend DVDs, comics, and magazines as well, something for everyone!
- Check out your local National Parks, botanic gardens, bush reserves. Nothing burns off excess energy and curbs cabin fever like a good run around, and some bushwalking. Pack a backpack, water and first aid kit and you are good to go. It’s also worthwhile checking online first, as a lot of parks have special programs just for kids. Try National Parks Association and Find a National Park in Queensland for information/ ideas.
- Have a bake-off. Split up into teams and have a baking competition, keep it fun though as things can get pretty competitive once the kids start to get into it! Here are some recipe sites to try… Food to Love, Delicious
- Hold a crafter-noon with some friends, take turns with other parents and have a few of the kids friends over for a craft session. Lego/ brick making also works well. This one works best outside/ on the verandah, and use recyclable material if you can, super cheap and easy to clean up. Take a look here and My Poppet for ideas!
- Have a movie afternoon, make popcorn and snacks. Steer away from new releases and break out a classic like Back to the Future, Goonies, The Labyrinth. Kids and grownups will love it!
Hopefully that will give you a little inspiration! Feel free to post any great ideas that work for your gang too!
I just finished reading The Martian, in record time! It is a cracker of a read, and though heavy on the science and engineering (which I loved!), also tells a tale of resilience. Filled to the brim with humour and adversity, it made me think a lot about how reliant we can become on others.
For our happiness, for comfort, for love, for inspiration.
We are truly sociable creatures at times aren’t we?
In parallel, I think that it can sometimes be a bit of a trap to always be surrounded by others.
Ask a busy professional, mother, volunteer, school teacher or friend, what is it that you crave?
Alone time. Space. Quiet.
Time to think, ponder, muse and let your mind wander.
Some of my best ideas come to me when I am alone. Whether it’s walking, listening to music, lying in bed at night reading, alone time can give you the space you need to think.
When was the last time you carved out a bit of the day to be alone?
As we grow older, it can get harder and harder to carve out time in the day to think.
Reflect on life, how things are going, what went well, what went pear-shaped. All the healthy reflective thinking we are meant to do in order to grow as individuals, as humans.
Sometimes, life can get in the way. Life can be complex, boring, monotonous, crazy and altogether unpredictable.
None of which is conducive to thinking.
One of my favourite ways to think and reflect is to ask myself a series of questions. The lovely talented Pip Lincolne does this by way of ‘Taking Stock’.
This month I am breaking the mould and taking stock at the beginning of the month…
Making : cushions and gorgeous sundresses ready for This Grand Life
Cooking : veges, new types of the kids to try (current faves are asparagus and corn)
Drinking : loads of cold water (it’s sunny Brisbane folks!!)
Reading: Country Style, How to Decorate, Lonely Planet’s Guide to Australia
Wanting: annuals for the garden
Looking: at beachy holiday destinations
Playing: Scrabble, family is becoming addicted! Bunch of nerds that we are…
Deciding: What role I would like to tackle back in my science/ corporate career
Wishing: my gorgeous puppies would stop chewing…everything!
Enjoying: my garden, the hard work is paying off!
Waiting: for the right house to come along
Liking: the jacaranda blooms in the backyard, a carpet of purple!
Wondering: if I should paint a watercolour series inspired by our family farm
Loving: the warm weather…most of the time!
Pondering: career moves, there are some interesting roles around!
Considering: buying a house…again…yikes!
Buying: house plants, succulents, ferns, it’s a jungle in here!
Watching: Restoration Australia…oh my goodness, it’s brilliant! Fab show hosted by Sibella Court
Hoping: the school year comes to a quiet uneventful end for the tribe
Marvelling: at how tall my little tribe are getting…I am fast becoming the shortest in the family!
Cringing: at the hating on social media. What on earth are people thinking posting nastiness?
Needing: to keep going to the gym, am getting to love it again!
Questioning: old house, new house, renovated or not?
Smelling: the garden, loving the change in scent as all of the flowers bloom
Wearing: white shorts and Birkenstocks, a lot!
Noticing: the kids taking an interest in big issues, refugees, world conflicts, some hefty issues to think about for young minds.
Knowing: I need to stop procrastinating and decide on that beachy holiday…stat!
Thinking: about how to best balance work, my gorgeous family, and my creative pursuits
Admiring: positive creative types (Clare Bowditch, Pip Lincolne, Dawn French) and ambitious corporate types in my life (will keep those names to myself)
Sorting: through toys, it appears they have bred and now we have a bucket-load which are making their way to new homes before Christmas
Getting: ready for another creative market…soon!
Bookmarking: the Halcyon House website, seriously cool folks
Coveting: vintage finds, I need to find a spare weekend to do some quality rummaging
Disliking: negativity, I seriously do not understand why people feel the need to write bad/nasty/awful comments!
Opening: a new section on my Etsy shop…watercolours and prints! Yay!
Giggling: at the awesome pearls of wisdom which come from my gorgeous six year old. ‘Mum, you look the same as when you were young, except for your crinkly eyes, they look more smiley now!’ I will take that as a compliment and move on.
Feeling: excited about the end of the year, and a wee bit nervous about heading back to work
Snacking: carrots and hummus, blueberries and cashews, on high rotation.
Helping: out at school whenever I can. It’s a busy time of the year!
Hearing: Mark Ronson, kids fave CD on the way to school
Here’s a list via the talented Pip Lincolne (Meet me at Mikes) for you… Takes some time out to think, and if you are feeling like sharing post a comment with your answers, or a link to your blog post…
Over a coffee with a lovely girlfriend this week, I started to think about the fab tips I have collected over 11 years of parenting.
Each time I heard/saw/read a good tip over the years, I have trialled it and if it’s a winner I have added it to our morning routine. With four kids and two adults to get ready each day these save us all a lot of time and stress.
So because I think you guys are my friends too, here are a few of my faves:
- Bag drop stop – create a bag drop spot. Maybe it’s near the front door, maybe it’s a hat-rack, maybe it’s a combo! Whatever you decide, make it the kids job to drop their bag off/pick it up from there. You can even add a lap-top charge station if you need to. Add a spot for hats and shoes and you are ready to roll. Here’s some pics for ideas…
- Uniform shop – put all of the school uniforms in one spot. I wash then hang uniforms straight up on a coat hanger and onto a small cloths rack. We have a basket nearby for school socks. We also keep sports/dance/swim bags here too – packed and ready to go.
- Lunchbox production line – get the kids involved! Make it the kids job to place lunch boxes on the bench when they arrive home. In the morning, have snacks in one container, fruit in a bowl, and let the kids assemble their own lunch. This helps each child to take responsibility for what in their lunchbox and you can chat about healthy choices at the same time…winning! Here’s some lunch-box inspiration.
- Ban technology/ TV – no tv/iPad/phone/internet/devices until everyone is dressed and ready to go. Stay firm on this one, let the kids know that technology is a no-go until there are dressed and ready. Lead by example – no Facebook/ phones for adults either until you are ready too!
- Breakfast all round. Make breakfast part of the morning routine, smoothies, toast, boiled eggs, cereal…whatever works with your crew! Just make it simple, quick and as healthy as you can. No breakfast equals grumpy kids (and grown-ups!).
I am sure you could add to the list! What are your fave tips to get moving in the morning?
It has been super busy here, between school stuff, studying, working, designing/creating, life in general really.
We are also heading into birthday season! In our little family, the ladies are all born at the same time of the year.
All three of us will be celebrating our special day…very soon! Hurrah for us!
Which brings me to birthday parties.
It’s fast becoming that time of the year.
Birthday parties, BBQs, playdates at the park and picnic. As we all come out of hibernation, the party season is starting in earnest.
To help you out I thought I would share some fab fashion finds for tween/ teen girls.
Save the pic to your phone, fab ideas for pressies or for the little ladies in your life. Check out H&M and Kido Store (two of our fave stores…and in case you are wondering…not sponsored!) for more fab finds.
Home again after a lovely morning at The Mummy Tree markets in sunny Bris-Vegas.
It’s always such a lovely crowd, friendly stall holders, fab customers, loads of (free!) entertainment for the kidlets. What more could you ask for?
Other faves included The Three Birds, and little windsor. *Sigh*, so many gorgeous treasures!
Hope you are having a fab weekend, and if it’s still a little chilly in your neck of the woods, maybe you could do some couch market shopping…
One of the fabulous benefits of having children or spending time with kids is that you get a reminder of how much joy they get from the world.
Discovering new ideas.
Exploring the world.
Laughing at silly things.
Living in the moment.
Kids are masters are stopping to smell the roses. Slowing down and moving at their own pace. Adults are always searching for ways to relax, meditate, calm down.
Most kids have got that in the bag. Watch a small child playing with Lego, matchbox cars, playing a game of make-believe, and you can see they are fully immersed in the moment.
My kids are staying at my family’s farm this week. I know already that they will spending their time, exploring, digging in the sandpit, catching frogs and generally having a grand old time. There will be no structured plan, no to-do list.
Just fun, sunshine and spending time together.
Hope you are enjoying the sunshine, taking time to relax, and most importantly finding the time to have fun.
I’ve carved out some time this week to sit and reflect on life.
Taking the time to think about how everything is going using a fab list from the lovely Pip Lincolne at Meet Me at Mikes, here’s my list…
Making : a super cool hoodie vest for my littlest poppet (because of her broken wing)
Cooking : zucchini slice and delish roast lamb
Drinking : Tea because I have given up coffee
Reading: Craft for the soul, New Scientist, Wendy (the stunt chicken)
Wanting: To spend more time with my gorgeous kids
Looking: at where I can spend some time at the beach for holidays
Playing: nicely with others…life is too short for nastiness!
Deciding: what the end of the year will bring (big questions here folks!)
Wishing: I could see my sisters more often!
Enjoying: catching up with old friends, good for the soul
Waiting: for some new books I ordered to arrive!
Liking: my new winter boots, make that loving!
Wondering: if I should have a big party for my 40th?
Loving: bearing able to wear a jackets/scarves again…thanks freezing weather!
Pondering: what to do over the Christmas holidays
Considering: subscribing to Frankie? I love it, and it’s sometimes hard to find.
Buying: books! Australian Geographic – fab pictures, interesting stories
Watching: Interstellar with my littlest bloke, it’s our new all-time fave.
Hoping: that my littlest poppet’s arm heals quickly!
Marvelling: at how quickly my kidlets are growing
Cringing: at some of the nastiness I see online, be nice folks!
Needing: time with family. There is never enough is there?
Questioning: everything! Now I see where the kids get it from!
Smelling: the gorgeous vanilla candle in the study whenever I am writing
Wearing: opaque tights a lot. Makes me wish I lived in a cold climate.
Following: Pip Lincolne (a ray of sunshine!), Mrs Woog and Emma Watson
Noticing: I have more energy since giving up coffee. What??
Knowing: more about evolution (current topic I am teaching), go Darwin!
Thinking: about fixed vs growth mindsets
Admiring: gorgeous Australian wool! Scarves, jumpers with elbow patches…sigh!
Sorting: kids clothes (this is never-ending with our largish family)
Getting: ready to quit sugar
Bookmarking: new patterns to try
Coveting: an old table (all that history!) and church pews for the dining room.
Disliking: the cold – except for the opaque tights bit
Opening: messages from old mates, and laughing at the memories
Giggling: a lot at my littlest poppet stretching her vocabulary and sometimes ‘muffing words
Feeling: happier now, thanks to old friends and the rugrats
Snacking: on carrots and hommus and cup-a-soups
Helping: Little L practice reading, I love picture books (Wendy, Meg & Mog, Goodnight Moon)
Hearing: fab tracks from the Offspring, Green Day…good times!
Here’s a list for you!
Today I have woken up happy.
Do you have those days? The days when the sun seems a little brighter, you notice the flowers in your garden, there’s a sparkle in your eyes.
It’s a welcome relief after being a little melancholy, kind of down in the dumps mood for the last wee while.
My turning point was a conversation (via messages) with three lovely mates. Three of the funniest and warmest blokes I know, who have known me since I was 17. We met at uni, and as I said in one of my messages back to them, the years we spent together were truly golden years. Lots of laughs, a heap of great music, a fair bit of getting up to…(since my kids sometimes read this) mischief. Over 20 years later, they can still bring a smile to my face.
The clincher was a conversation with my littlest poppet last night. She came in to check on me while I was in the study, to see if I was doing ok. When I said ‘yes, I just finished my assignment’, she said without hesitation, ‘well done Mum, I am so proud of you!’ topping it off with a kiss on the cheek.
Seriously made my night, and coupled with my reminiscing with mates dragged me out of my funk.
How lucky am I?
Four happy, bright little people I am lucky enough to have as my children, fab friends, a loving family and living in a friendly sunny city.
Life is pretty good, in fact as my 8 year old would say, actually it’s awesome!
How are you going? Maybe you could spend time with a old friend reminiscing?
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