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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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taking stock on life

taking stock on life

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! 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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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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2014 review As I said farewell to 2014, and welcomed the new year in, I reflected on all the big stuff we had been though here at This Grand Life. Here's what my wrap-up of 2014 looks like...
  • Our littlest poppet started at big school, and it was bitter sweet. She looked so tiny yet so grown up all at the same time. I loved hearing all about sport, God Class (religion) and all the new things she was learning with her new friends. Then because of the next point, we get to do it all over again.
  • We packed up and moved across the country to sunny Qld. Well, the kids and I did.  My lovely kind husband then spent the last half of the year working in Perth while we were in Bris-Vegas. So many big changes to take on board!  New school, back to day-care for the littlest poppet (very indignant that she was ready for 'big school'), new job for me... the list goes one and on. Amongst it all though we have thrived in the sunshine and being closer to our families.
  • Saying goodbye to Charlie the Wonderdog.  I had written a post, which maybe I will publish someday, though maybe I won't (I can't quite get the words right).  My beautiful furry friend had been with me for 14 years from when it was just me, then as my family expanded to include my husband, a sweet Newfoundland (Ellie) and our four lovely kidlets.  I still miss her sweet face each day.
  • Finally, finally, finally being a family again as the lovely Big A moved from Perth to Brissy.  Thank you to our lovely friends in Perth for lending him a room, inviting him over for dinner and generally making a tough time a whole lot easier.
  • Being able to focus more time and energy on my creative business. The move to the sunshine state, coupled with setting up a little studio and finding a lovely creative community to be part of have all meant that I  had the time and energy to design and create gorgeous frocks, boardies and super cute gear. All designed and hand-made by me.  I was part of some brilliant artisan and hand-made markets, which were the creative highlight of my year.  I really do get a buzz just from being around such talented creative folk.
  • Continuing to write and think, and question what is going on around me.  When I can, I find the time to publish here. I hope you have enjoyed reading it too!
So that is our year in review. Sort of rambling and rocketing along, filled with love, loss and fun. What does your year in review look like?  Feel free to post and have a chat. Enjoy xx  
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This afternoon my four little munchkins arrive home from a week away at Grandma and Grandad's farm (huge thank you to my lovely folks for having our four stay for a whole week) . I am so excited to see their little faces this afternoon and hear all about their adventures on their big trip away. How the time has flown by! It is not that long ago that we had four kids under 5 years old. A house filled with high-chairs, nappies, baby toys and cots. It reminded me of this post I wrote a few years ago when we took the kids exploring in Western Australia. The youngest two (2 and 4 years old) were determined to climb the hill with the 'big kids'. The very thought of my little poppets scrambling up a rocky hill scared the pants off me!   Yet off they went, take a look below... Enjoy xx   From the vault (29/09/2012) ****************************** Part of the deal with a large slightly chaotic life with the tribe is encouraging independence…from a very early age. This does not come easy. At all. This is not one of those things that gets easier with time. Cultivating independence takes a big risk, a lot of holding your breath, heart thumping loudly in your chest kind of moments. This was one of times. This is how you learn to climb (the under 5’s edition).

Beginning the ascent... Little L bravely charges on

Hurrah!! Little L reaches the summit (I breathe a huge sigh of relief)

Enjoy xx
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We are a family of book-lovers. Self-confessed book-worms who can all pass the time reading, poring over the pages of beautiful illustrations and talking about how our favourite characters reacted. So, it is no surprise then that we all have a wish list of books we would love to read over the Christmas break or, if we are super lucky, receive from Santa. Here is the tribes literary wish list for Christmas (sounds a lot like Dr Seuss!): Enjoy xx
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Super cute money box from Down that little lane

Super cute money box from Down that little lane

It’s Saturday, which in our house means pocket money day. I have always had mixed feelings about pocket money. On one hand, I like that it teaches the kids to be responsible with money and to learn the true value of things. On the other hand, I feel like it is a slippery slope to bribing the kids to do the jobs at home that they should probably be doing for free. So with all of that in mind, here are a couple of tips and tricks I thought would be worth sharing…
  • How much? My older three kids are close in age, so I pay each one the same amount - $5 per week. My littlest poppet gets $3 per week.
  • Performance bonuses? We do occasionally pay a bit extra for special things. For the past two years it has been Naplan. Love it or hate it, it can be a big deal when you are 8 years old! So we did a deal with each of the kids that if they tried their best, the reward would be $20 payable when results come out.   Regardless of scores, rankings, the $20 would be paid for a positive attitude and for trying.
  • Job jars – when we are having a household spring clean, I put 4 jars/ glasses on the bench (one per child) and then have a list of jobs we need to do. Each job is worth 20c – 50c. My most industrious kids can earn $5-$10 in a morning, whilst the slightly lazier ones usually end up with $1-$2.
  • What do the kids spend it on? This is up to the kids themselves. If they want to blow it on lollies, they can (within reason!). If they want to save it up, I’ll help them out. If they want to buy $5 worth of sticky men to splat on the wall, they can. One overarching rule applies though, if we are out at a market, the shops, anywhere they are able to buy something, the only money they can spend is their own. This can occasionally lead to tears, when one of the kids has blown their money on lollies, and then sees something cool they would love to buy, but have no cash left. Those moments are the toughest to handle as a Mum or Dad, more so when we are in public and there is the real threat of a tantrum. The key is to hold your ground though, as it is a valuable life lesson.
Do you pay pocket money in your house? Enjoy xx   How cute is that little piggy bank in the pic!!  You can find it here...
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The finished product!  All set up yesterday at the Mummy Tree Markets...

The finished product! All set up yesterday at the Mummy Tree Markets...

Yesterday I was part of the lovely Mummy Tree Markets at Everton Park. I had a lovely morning, my gorgeous sister helped me with my little tribe (super huge thank you!!), lots of lovely customers to chat too and friendly stall holders to gossip with between customers. One of the questions I got asked quite a few times was 'How do you find time to sew with kids?' Which is a good question! So I thought I'd give you the honest, no holds barred answer. There is no magic silver solution where I can make more hours in the day. The simple  truth is I schedule in time for me. Just like you would book in a playdate for the kids, a doctor's appointment or a class at the gym. I carve out time in my day to be creative. Sometimes it's half an hour, sometimes it's a block of a couple of hours.  Then there are days where it's a few 10 minutes blocks scattered throughout the day. The point is that I  make time to do something creative every day.  My creative loves include sewing, drawing, designing and writing. Being creative makes me feel energised, happy and accomplished when I finish a project. Just like exercising releases endorphins and makes you feel good, being creative gives me a sense of achievement and fuels my imagination and energy reserves. Which makes me a more content person all round, not to mention a whole lot more productive in all of the other parts of my life. So it is absolutely worth the effort to carve out time. Why not try it tomorrow? Start with 10 minutes. If sewing or writing aren't your cup of tea, how about baking? Or gardening? Here are  a couple of my favourite places to visit and some creative folk to inspire you...
  • The lovely, clever and very creative soul Pip Lincolne from Meet Me at Mikes. Plus she's funny to boot!
  • For the literary buffs and writers out there - have you visited Allison Tait's website? A fab writer, generous giver of advice for writers who are just starting out, plus she'll even give you a friendly nudge to just get on with it...
  • Cinta from My Poppet - subscribe, visit regular or buy one of her digital creations. Take your pick! This clever lady provides the perfect inspiration for crafty folk.
I'd love to hear what inspires you to get creative! Enjoy xx
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