Currently viewing the category: "Explore/Travel"

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 ‘...love 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!
 
DSCN2595 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! DSCN2669 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. DSCN2598 As we triumphantly finished the 2 hour (yep, 2 hours!) trek, I was brimming with pride at my little gangs efforts. DSCN2673 We are now a family that bushwalks again! Have you been bushwalking lately?  Share your favourite track! Enjoy xx
coloured pencils of different colors and text school holidays writtten in a green chalkboard 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.
  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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!
  5. 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! Enjoy xx
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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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22092014Kidsgrowingup

Moving quickly into the grown up world...

It's interesting how life can move along so quickly sometimes that we feel like everything is rushing by. You can find yourself wondering...when did that happen? I feel like this sense of life rushing by is magnified since I became a parent over a decade ago. Even writing the word 'decade' makes me wonder, where did the time go? The logical part of my brain knows that it's been 13 years, and that there has been a whole lot of living crammed into those years. Yet still I wonder where did the years go? This morning I watched my eldest daughter getting ready, with minimal help, keen for a chat with me about all the 'stuff' she has going on.  Her little sister on the other hand demanded help with her shoes, clothes and then forgot her school bag because she was too focussed on remembering her show and tell. Without me asking, my eldest poppet calmly helped her little sister, chatting to her as she helped her with her shoes, reminded her to pack her lunch and asked if she was excited about Kindy. I was admiring how my little baby was fast becoming a young woman, one with compassion and the empathy and desire to help others. She seemed to sense that I could use some help this morning, and helped me out in such a thoughtful well, I couldn't help but admire her. On a recent road trip with the kids, it dawned on me that they are no longer babies. All four have moved on from Babyville, entering the unknown land of young adulthood. I am always a little slow to accept these shifts or changes in my life when it comes to the kids. I tend to focus on where we are right now, and I truly loved having a houseful of tiny people raging around playing, laughing and generally having a blast. Then, in a blur we gave away our last high chair, said farewell our cots said hello to big school and learning to read and write. Over the years, whenever I watched the kids I would  notice they have a lot in common with me and with their Dad.  When they were little I would recognise a physical trait or expression (how cute, the little poppet has the toes as her Dad). Now I recognise emotions, reactions and personality traits. How the kids deal with stress, the unknown and change.  The good and the not so good. I am proud to see that my sons have inherited their fathers love of animals and kindness towards others, not so proud that they also seem to have inherited a love of computer games.  All of my kids are avid readers (super proud of passing that one on), they are also crazy-energetic bordering on hyperactive and prone to starting giant projects and leaving the mess everywhere (not so proud moment). For me, one upside of seeing yourself reflected in your kids is an opportunity to make some changes in how you respond to things. For me, I am trying to learn how to slow down, relax and do one project at a time. How about you?  Do you recognise yourself or your partner in your kids? 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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My little tribe taking time out to think...

My little tribe taking time out to think...

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! Following: 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... Making : Cooking : Drinking : Reading: Wanting: Looking: Playing: Deciding: Wishing: Enjoying: Waiting: Liking: Wondering: Loving: Pondering: Considering: Buying: Watching: Hoping: Marvelling: Cringing: Needing: Questioning: Smelling: Wearing: Following: Noticing: Knowing: Thinking: Admiring: Sorting: Getting: Bookmarking: Coveting: Disliking: Opening: Giggling: Feeling: Snacking: Helping: Hearing:   Enjoy xx
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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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