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Love the ugly mugs (look closely)!

This morning on the way to drop tribe off at work, I was thinking about how easy it can be to drift through the days and never quite be present in the moment. Days can become a trudge, with every day feeling the same. Life can start to feel a little beige. One of my best tricks to keep life in technicolour is to make a conscious effort to be in the present. Back to this morning where I found myself in the midst of a couple of awesome moments, brief but tiny moments of love, happiness and fun:
  • Singing (very badly) along to the Miss L’s playlist on Spotify – a fantastic insight into an 8 year old’s mind.
  • Getting a giant hug and hearing Flashdance (now a super-cool 11) say ‘ you Mum’ as I dropped him off.
  • Getting a delicious coffee from the tiny Coffee Shed (part a super cool Co-Op place in Sunny South Brisbane) and having chat to the ever lovely barista.
A very good start to the day. Any little moments of joy in your day? Enjoy xx
I love the way kid’s minds tick.
The recent furore over plastic bags, and bring your own, supermarkets back-flipping has been entertaining, frustrating and nonsensical, in equal measure.
Can adults remember to bring their bags?
Should supermarkets subsidise bags for people who forget?
Are thicker ‘reusable’ plastic bags different or any better than ‘single use’?
My 8 year old summed the whole debacle up well this week.
‘It’s not that hard to remember, if you forget your bags you are going to have to juggle all your groceries to the car and then your house. You’ll only want to do that once!’ she said laughing.
Spot on, my little friend, spot on!
A cracking read...

A cracking read...

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? Enjoy xx
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Fun in the sun at Underwood Park...

Fun in the sun at Underwood Park...

One of the first things I learnt as a fledgling parent, was that getting out and about in the sunshine is one of the best ways to burn off energy, clear your head and generally feel better about the world. Crabby toddler climbing the walls? Head out to the park and let them run free. Kids bickering and squabbling over absolutely nothing? Grab a frisbee or a footy and scoot down to your closest oval. So, once we figured out this little chestnut, we became huge fans of parks and playgrounds. As soon as cabin fever started to set in, we'd pack up and decamp to the nearest park. Within minutes we would all feel a little better. Looking back, I think we even chose our homes over the years based on proximity to a good coffee shop (or two) and to parks and gorgeous green spaces. So here we are now settling in to our new home town, sunny Bris-Vegas, and exploring new parks and places to play. So far, thanks to friends, super helpful websites (try Brisbane Kids and Kidspot)and exploring we have discovered a couple of gems...
  • the fantastic Underwood Park complete with flying fox, weirdly cool Spielart Funderwood timber playground, monorail...
  • the super sweet Enchanted Forest, which kept all four of the kids amused for a couple of hours. It's probably better suited to littlies with a  love of fairies, but my older kids still had a ball there.
  • our local park (you know the type, smallish, huge open grassy bit nearby, a couple of well-loved trees)
Do you have a fave local park?  Feel free to share! Enjoy xx
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From the top: Connect Four (via Big W), paint your own cubby (via Mocka),  fab spotty book bag to hold your colouring in stuff (via This Grand Life), Pirate puzzle (via Djeco)

From the top: Connect Four (via Big W), paint your own cubby (via Mocka), fab spotty book bag to hold your colouring in stuff (via This Grand Life), Pirate puzzle (via Djeco)

We are having a lot of rainy days at the moment, and though I am sure the gardens and trees of Perth are loving the wet weather, it is wearing a little thin on the home front! Mostly after school and on weekends, when my kids are climbing the walls at times because they are so BORED! Coupled with my love of tech free days at home, I’ve had to go old school with activities. Today I thought I’d share a couple of ideas that have worked a treat with my tribe:
  • Do a jigsaw puzzles – we love one brand - Djeco the best, the pieces are sturdy, the scenes are quirky, bright and interesting.
  • Play a board or card game – our current faves are Connect Four, Scrabble and Uno
  • Colour in – we always have a drawstring bag packed with colouring books, blank paper, textas , crayons, great for at home and when you are out and about
  • Work together on a mazes, dot-to-dots, and spot the difference (all great for 3-5 year olds) –  or for older kids try word searches and crosswords
  • Build a city or fort or zoo or paint a cubby! Go as big or small as you like! Start off with some little animals and get the kids to build the jungle/ ocean/ habitat or go large and convert the lounge into a tent city.  Add torches and a picnic and BINGO! Kid heaven!
Do you have a favourite rainy day activity? Enjoy xx
Wanda Linda (one of our faves!) In most states now, kids are back and school and the weekly ritual of homework has begun. Christmas holidays are fast becoming a distant memory, and so we are all getting back to our daily, nightly and weekly routines. In our house a big part of our routine is reading. Do you read to your kids? Both my husband and I have read to our kids since they were teeny. Part of the motivation is selfish. We love reading, so therefore why not encourage the kids so we can all get quite reading time! The other motivation is sheer pleasure.  reading a funny, silly or interesting book with your kids is a great way to escape the world, the housework and any leftover grumpiness at the end of the day. It's hard for anyone to stay grumpy when you are reading about Wanda Linda's Terrible Underpants, or reading about Winnie the Witch zapping her cat one too many times... I won't say it's always fun though. There are some nights when the thought of reading to the kids, is, well, less than top of my list.  If it's been a big day, a rough week or you are just plain tired, it is hard to find the energy. Therein lies the bit that no one tells you in all those articles. Sometimes it is not fun. Sometimes, you pick a dud book (oh and there are a load of these around) and it is just dull. Sometimes the kids are over everything and will only listen for two pages. You know what though? That is ok. It is perfectly normal. Reading to your kids is like running a marathon, not a sprint. It takes consistency, effort, interest and your time, every day.    If you want your kids to love reading, they have to see that it is something you love to do, and that it is part of their routine. Night time, daytime, juts after lunch time (oh now I am riffing like Dr Seuss!). Anytime is fine, just make it very day. Stuck on where to start or low on inspiration? Here are a few to get your started...
  • Think of themes.  Maybe go with holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc). Sea creatures, dinosaurs, fairies.
  • Read the book first.  If you have a new book, take a few minutes to read it first.  Test it out. Is it interesting? Funny? Do the words rhyme?
  • Get online and get some ideas, have a look here for some fab read aloud tips
  • Visit your local library. Go to story time, ask a librarian for help/ideas/suggestions
  • Let your child choose the book
  • Get older siblings/ cousins/ friends to take turns reading.
  • Happily read the same book, every night, for weeks on end if that is what your child wants.  I think I might be able to recite every Hairy Maclary book by heart, but I am still happy to read all about that crazy dog and his mates.
Happy reading folks! Enjoy xx
lovely treasures from This Grand Life, Skittle & Mouse and others at the Mummy Tree Markets

lovely treasures from This Grand Life, Skittle & Mouse and others at the Mummy Tree Markets

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? I found some fab gear for my kids, including a gorgeous banner from Oh Deer Me!, and had a lot of lovely chat with my talented neighbour Skittle & Mouse. 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... Enjoy xx
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Heading up the track to the farm

Heading up the track to the farm

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. Playing. 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. Enjoy xx
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Frogs galore!  If you are looking...

Frogs galore! If you are looking...

                                        This week I spent a couple of hours flying on a plane to the far north of Queensland. During the two flights it took to get me to the tropical north, I read an interesting book; Focus (Daniel Goleman). One of the points that jumped out at me was how distracted and possibly disconnected we can all become in an age where technology and information is at our fingertips all the time. It was exacerbated by travelling with a whole bunch of adults with smart phones, tablets and laptops. Heads down missing the beautiful scenery as we arrived in Cairns. Missing the crazy chaos of Cairns airport filled to the brim with tourists and travellers. Missing the cloak of mist on the range in front of us and the slowing in pace since we left Brisbane. In my lifetime we have moved rapidly from landlines and letters to social media platforms and streaming. All day and all night you can access everything. All of the time. The advent of all of this new technology also brings new dilemmas as a member of our society and a parent. How much technology is too much? How much screen time should my kids have? Should babies be allowed to have access to technology? What about hand-writing? How can I prepare my kids for the future? How young is too young for owning a mobile/smart phone? I don’t have all of the answers to these big questions, but after reading about some of the pitfalls and potential benefits, I plan to be more mindful when I get home. In the meantime I plan to enjoy the sights of the far north while I am here, and leave my smart phone in my bag. Enjoy xx
InspiringCollageWowsers, the year seems to be flying by already. All of a sudden, we are gearing up for school, getting busy at work and getting set for the first of the gorgeous markets and fairs This Grand Life will be attending this year. Whew! It can all get a little overwhelming at times. Thinking time is virtually impossible to corral out of your day. Which can all combine to stifle your creativity.  Well, at least that’s what tends to happen in my neck of the woods. Here are a few things that have been inspiring me right now to think, create and start the year in a positive way.
  1. Reading: Wildwood – a glorious book, with fabulous illustrations, which I initially bought for Captain Jack (my 9 year old) and then when he got a little scared by the opening gambit about a murder of crows, I stepped in to read it first. You know, to check it wasn’t too scary. I am LOVING it…
  2. Creating: More gorgeous sundresses, super cute heart purses, some cuddly softies and boardies for super cool boys with some beautiful new fabric.
  3. Learning: French, brushing up on my French (can’t believe I have been back in Australia for nearly 3 years), such a beautiful quirky language.
  4. Teaching: Little L how to read. My littlest poppet starts school this year and is super keep to keep up with the big kids in the house. We have used Reading Eggs for years and all of my kids have loved it.  It’s also a great excuse to spend more time reading each night.
  5. Watching: Girls. Though it feels like a guilty pleasure, I am totally hooked. Oh the angst, the selfish choices, the dilemmas.
Hope you are having an inspirational start to 2015 too! Enjoy xx
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