Currently viewing the tag: "family"
Kakadu!

Kakadu!

I am gearing up for my first boutique markets (can't wait Mathilda's Markets!!) and crossing my fingers for Finders Keepers, so it's been flat strap on the sewing / creating front. With a super-busy house, and my daytime job as a scientist, it's a little hard to get in the swing of crafty things at night after the tribe has gone to bed. Enter the documentary. I have a fab little studio at home where I create  fab frocks, art, brooches and gorgeous homewares for  This Grand Life, and I can sit for hours sewing up a storm. It can seem a little quiet at night though, and there are times when the couch beckons me, come, sit down and relax... Which is when watching great documentary can be a great way to change tact, wash away the day, and get creative.  This week I have been watching  Kakadu via ABC iview (how great is iview by the way!) as I stitch away. It's brilliant stuff, filled to the brim  with amazing, funny, talented people from the Top End, action (the bushfires, catching and tagging crocs), interesting info about the spectacular landscape that is Kakadu. Add to this learning about the Traditional Owners, laughing along with the rangers at the antics of the tourists (loved the piece about the tourist who broke his ankle but was more concerned about 'hot sand'), and you've got a great doco. It's pure gold. Almost makes me want to move to the Top End. Almost... Have you seen a great documentary lately? Enjoy xx
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Our team...

super spies on the hunt for stolen treasure...

Humans are funny creatures aren't we? Despite all of the technology, development and innovation that has occurred, our happiness and security still seems to be linked to a primal desire to be part of a tribe. Sure we can have the latest car, clothes and phone, but it's all kind of meaningless unless we feel like we belong. To a place, or a family or a circle of friends. Maybe its a workplace. Feeling like you belong is a lot more satisfying than owning the latest flat screen TV. Isn't it? It's easy to lose sight of though. To get caught up in the rush to have everything right now. The latest and greatest. Until you realise that really, what makes you happy is being with people you like, or in a place where you can relax/ have fun, or be inspired by a bunch of folks who's own thoughts and outlook  resonate with you. It's kind of magical to watch when a group of people is truly enjoying and thriving in each others company. I watched my little tribe yesterday as they played one of their seemingly endless array of made-up games, and they were in the moment. Having a ball! Oblivious to everything and everyone around them as they played with a little mate of theirs. The game was super spies, and along with their trusty sniffer dog, (AKA Charlie the Wonderdog) they were on the hunt for some stolen treasure. No fancy technology, no store-bought board game. Just having fun with friends. Next time you are out and about, indulge in a little people watching, and you'll see what I mean. How about you, do you feel like you are part of a team? A group? A place? Enjoy xx
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We got to let love rule...

We got to let love rule...

This morning I had the pleasure of being a guest at a poetry recital hosted by my eldest daughter. Lovely in its own right, the poetry recital was the result of a lot of planning and practice by a bunch of enthusiastic nine-year olds and was for a special cause. The girls are raising money to build a library in Cambodia as part of a school wide initiative (Room to Read). I also see it as another great example of the school and the teaching community (including the Mini-Fashionista's wonderful teacher) to foster the girls understanding of compassion. I think it's such a wonderful life lesson. Developing compassion for others helps us care more for our communities, our environment and just  makes you a nicer human being all round. My own cup of love and compassion is somewhat endless, there is always more love to give (that's sounds a wee bit over the top doesn't it?). I am by nature a hugs and kisses kind of person (again a bit OTT, but very true). Over the years I have had people I work with and am friends with question the amount of compassion I show, as if I have a limited amount available to me and it would be silly to squander it all on something small. I see it as a cup that is continually getting topped up. I take every opportunity I get to let my little tribe know how much I love them, along with the lovely Big A (my patient and solid as a rock husband) and my family.  Each morning I make sure I give everyone a kiss goodbye, and there is always time for a bedtime kiss and cuddle. This all comes back to one of the traits I love to foster in my little tribe, compassion and love for others. As the wise and talented Lenny Kravitz once sang, 'we got to let love rule'. Enjoy xx
Find time to be kind... (via www.randomactsofkindness.org)

Find time to be kind... (via www.randomactsofkindness.org)

Over the weekend, driving through a busy part of Perth with the tribe, we had a near miss (in the mining industry, where I work as a scientist, that's what we call it when an accident almost happens) with an elderly man who wandered out into the middle of the road. Luckily (for all of us) I was driving well below the speed limit, so I could stop the car safely to let him cross the road. It was then that I noticed a lady on the other side of the road, struggling to carry a printer, paper, and various IT paraphernalia. She was waved to the man, then caught my eye and mouthed 'sorry'. The elderly man crossed the road safely. Just as the lady got to the edge of the road she stumbled and dropped everything at the edge of the road. The car behind me roared around, clearly impatient at the hold up. I had a choice to make. Should I do the same? Or should I help? How could I help when I was travelling alone with three little kids? I choose to stick around, I was not in a rush, and even thought I didn't know the lady or the man (daughter and son? friends?), they both looked like they were having a tough time.  I thought about it, then decided I could help without putting myself or the kids in the line of fire (more mining talk for placing yourself in a hazardous situation).  Putting my hazard lights on to warn cars behind me that I had stopped, I waved to the lady to let her know I was stopping. There were two lanes so I figured they could go around. I sat waiting for several minutes until the lady had retrieved her printer, made sure the elderly man was ok and off the road. Then we drove off. I thought about it, and realised that by taking the time to stop and wait we may have averted something nastier than a near miss. And really, what was the cost to me? A few extra minutes added to my trip? Nothing really in the grand scheme of things. Have you helped someone out lately? Enjoy xx
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Thank you to the lovely ladies at Pavement for some top shelf service!

Thank you to the lovely ladies at Pavement for some top shelf service!

Remember years ago, when you could go to a service station and somebody filled your car up and checked the oil and washed the windscreen? Remember when retail was an experience and not just an exercise in buying something as quickly as possible? Well, I am pleased to report there are still some very bright sparks on the retail landscape, and today I wanted to talk about two that made me smile. First up, to set the scene, on the weekend I was playing host to 17 very excited little girls for a birthday party, for three hours, at our home. Crazy right? Actually the reality was pretty cool, because a) they are great kids, and b) it was an all girls affair, so the entertainment had a clear target audience. As you could imagine, I was a little stressed when I headed out in the morning to source party supplies including some small gifts to give to the girls. Add to this a busy week work wise, four slightly grumpy tired kids, and well, you get the picture. Enter some brilliant service from a lovely young chap at Coles. Not only was he super-quick, and friendly, he then proceeded to walk around and lift all the heavy bags into my trolley!  With a dodgy knee already giving me grief, I could have almost hugged him for helping me out. Such a small gesture made a huge difference to my mood. Next up I ventured to a new store for tweens (Pavement) at the local shopping centre (Claremont Quarter), to see if I could find some little gifts for the  party guests. Feeling a little distracted, overwhelmed and already over it I was just about to walk out, when I heard someone ask if I needed help. I quickly ran through what I was after, and in no time at all I had a neat package with great little gifts, bags, ready to go. Complete with a smile. Faith in good service restored, I headed home feeling calmer than I had before and ready to host some very excited little girls. Have you experienced great service lately? Enjoy xx *Please note this is not a sponsored post, just a reflection on a couple of great experiences.
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We love board games!

We love board games!

I had one of those parenting moments this week, or maybe it's a life moment, where I did the reverse of what I wanted to do and it turned out wonderfully. My eldest son came to me with a board game he'd been given as a gift and asked if I wanted to play. I was busy doing my own thing at the time (creating some fab little frocks for my store) , and thoroughly enjoying myself. Plus I was on a roll. Plus it was MY time out. I know, that sounds very selfish, but if you have kids, you know what it can be like. Time out is precious, and you can go a little nuts without some. So back to me (see, selfish again). What I nearly said was 'later mate, I'm busy right now'. Instead, I put down what I was doing and said, 'I'd love to' and sat down on the floor to play a game. The look on his face was well worth it.  We then spent the next half an hour playing the Dinosaur Adventure game together and both had a brilliant time. Later that night we coaxed the whole family into having a game, and it was one of the highlights of the week. Lots of laughs, lots of ribbing each other, and lots of fun time together. I think this is what well-meaning child psychologists and parenting experts are talking about when they discuss quality versus quantity in spending time with your kids. Do you still play board games with your kids? Enjoy xx
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Pocket money time!  This little guy is available from The Pig Pen via Etsy

Pocket money time! This little guy is available from The Pig Pen via Etsy

Happy Sunday! Sunday to me means late breakfast, kids sport (hello soccer Mum & Dad), and time to clean up. With four kids, two adults, a dog, not to mention two full-time jobs, one business (that'd be here folks), clean up at the end of the week means a lot of mess and chaos! When the tribe were little, the lovely Big A would take all the bubs out for a few hours while I cleaned up solo.  Sounds very 1950s doesn't it!  Despite being a little retro (in a housewifey way), it was a great way to get on top of things again, no litttlies underfoot, and Big A got a coffee. Win-win! As the tribe have grown up a little, I have changed my tune.  I decided it was important for all of the kids (yep, boys and girls, though I think that should go without saying) should learn how to clean up, and how much effort goes into keeping the house clean. Hand in hand with my change in attitude towards cleaning (goodbye solo approach)  has  been the introduction of pocket-money. Here's my system, Sunday is 'job jar' day.  Every member of the tribe gets a jar with their name on it, and every job they do is worth money.  The amount depends on the job.  Cleaning the windows is a 50c job, while cleaning the table is 20c. Our key bits of cleaning kit are Method spray (no not a sponsored pots, but this stuff is all natural so no nasties), water, paper towel and baby wipes (which are awesome for cleaning and can remove anything off anything). Two things about 'job jar' day constantly amaze me:
  1. The kids actually do a pretty good job, which means less cleaning for me to do by myself.  Windows are cleaner, bathroom is more sparkly, what's not to like about that?
  2. The money they earn is then spent very carefully, because they worked hard to get it.  All of a sudden that $5 trashie (this is the latest thing for the boys, who knew 'trash' was so much fun!) is not looking as attractive.
Job jar money = a weeks pocket-money. Simple. Do you have a system for pocket-money?  What is your going rate? Enjoy xx
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Feeling blessed and grateful (and thanks for the gorgeous flowers)

Feeling blessed and grateful (and thanks for the gorgeous flowers)

For the past two weeks, I have been laid up, literally. Finally succumbing to age, sport, and possibly a little too much dancing in my 20's, my right knee finally packed it in. So I was left with the prospect of a knee reconstruction with four kids, and a full-time job to juggle. No easy feat! I was more than a little bit panicked about how we would cope as a family. School drop-offs? My job that I love?  Washing? Keeping a somewhat clean house? Enter my lovely family and friends. Before I even had time to imagine just how tough things could get, my lovely family and friends stepped in. My mum came to stay and help with the kids (even as a 30-something I love having my Mum around, plus she's awesome with my tribe), my lovely friends helped out with school drop-offs, my workmates wished me a speedy recovery and stepped up to look after our team.  All in all, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of my loved ones.  In the days that followed the big operation, I even received flowers, chocolates, and trashy mags (who doesn't love an NW or Womens Weekly when they are under the weather!). Thank you to everyone who wished me well, and sent their love. It meant the world to me! Now back on my feet, and in the rehab stage of events, I find myself sitting here on this sunny Sunday feeling grateful and truly blessed. What makes you feel grateful or blessed? Enjoy xx
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Enid Blyton - when I started to believe in fairies...

Enid Blyton - when I started to believe in fairies...

Do you believe in fairies? My little tribe is of the firm belief that fairies, dragons and unicorns are all areal. Utterly, totally convinced. We have a fairy garden in the back yard for the fairies to live in or just take a break on their way to very important business. Little L and Captain Jack believe that every living creature has feelings, trees, snails, bugs... We talk about magical creatures as though they are every bit a real as a cat or a dog.  The kids reason, just because you haven't seen these mystical critters does not mean they don't exist. It just means that they are very good at hiding. And why not? Since humans can be pretty nasty sometimes to living creatures. This wholehearted belief in magic and fairies casts a lovely glow of wonder over our home. Treasures are created and left for our little friends in the garden. 'Signs' are seen every day, tiny footprints, little flashes of light, shimmering reflections... I have been asked why we indulge these beliefs, why don't we teach the kids what is REAL? It's simple really. Because my little tribe believe it to be both real and true. So why should I question or dismiss what the kids believe in? In their creative little minds, their beliefs are both real and true. For me that is as good a reason as any to believe in fairies. Do you believe in fairies at your place? Enjoy xx
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How to tackle homework with tears (gorgeous stationery like this from kikki k may help!)

How to tackle homework without tears (gorgeous stationery like this from kikki k may help!)

Growing up, I don't remember homework being a big deal. It was more a case of racing through it as quickly as possible so I still had time to get outside and ride my bike or play Monkey Magic (sorry to anyone born after the 80's - you may not get that one - I was always Sandy by the way, and we made my little sister play the part of Pigsy, yep she still hasn't forgiven us!). Oh how times have changed!  With four kids, we run the full gambit of approaches to homework: from 'no homework policy' through to rote learning of spelling, violin practice, occupational therapy, and school readiness (am not sure that even existed when I was a kid!). It's a bit tricky though to know when you are about to cross the line between helpful parent and hovering stress machine... So today I thought I'd share a couple of tips/ tricks I've learnt along the way:
  • A small amount of time each night beats a BIG night on Thursday.  Captain Jack (Year 2) gets homework each week which is due on a Friday.  So two choices, do a little each night, or have a LONG session Thursday night.We trialled letting him decide the first week of term and the long night at the end of the week was an abysmal failure. He was exhausted, I was exhausted, we were both grumpy and it was like pulling teeth, slowly, with kitchen tongs. Painful.  So, now we do 15-20 minutes every night, and bingo, he's normally finished by Thursday.
  • Get the whole crew involved. My four kids sit down at the same time each night either at our 'homework table' or with the iPad, and all do their 'homework'. Nobody is missing out, and nobody feels hard done by.
  • No TV until the homework session is done. Some nights, this means no TV for the kids.  Sounds harsh, but it's been worth it! Fewer distractions, and calmer kids for homework, dinner and then bath and bedtime.
  • Mix it up. We have the homework/ craft table, stocked with pencils, textas, rubbers, sharpeners, paper, scissors, all ready to go.  Here is a fab website if you really want to go to town on your own  table or get some ideas on how to spruce up your study area. Plus we have an iPad with educational apps to keep the kids interested.
  • Make friends with technology!  Use your iPad, PC or iPod to keep the kids interested and learning.  Here are some great apps to try to we also love Mathletics, reading eggs, literacy planet.
  • Keep it all firm but positive!  Sounds tough, but you have to persevere. Kids like adults get a huge kick of satisfaction and personal pride when they finish a project or do well after practising.  It is worth the effort.  Praise the effort taken and don't be afraid to point out how they could improve.
Have you got any good tips for making homework a little less stressful? Enjoy xx
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