Sunday, 31 July 2011

Social Etiquette - Part 1

Image from here
We had friends stop by over the weekend. It is always a treat to have unplanned visitors, we live so far from everyone that we are rarely the target of a 'pop in'.

They are the very best kind of friends. Easy to like and easy to get along with. Our kids and theirs are all BFFs and we manage to have a remarkably stress-free time with them, despite the seven kids, seven and under between us.

So when they called and said they were in the neighbourhood and it was 5:15pm, it never occurred to me to be fussed about what to feed them. We were just rummaging up something for dinner for us, so I just threw in a few extra veggies and a couple of chicken breasts and away we went.

Our kids were having a 'movie night' anyway, so theirs just mucked in.

We were then bathing our children, so we just decided to bath them all together.

You can imagine my horror when I went into the bathroom to rescue my friend who was wrangling a one, two and three year old in there on his own when I discovered that he was washing his daughter's face with the very cloth I had used to clean the toilet that afternoon! Egad! (Why it was still there I have no idea except that I am pretty easily distracted)

I quickly grabbed him a more suitable aka clean flannel from the linen press and held my tongue. What does one say???

So, if you know me and have bathed your children at our place, this has NEVER happened before. I promise. I have been feeling terrible ever since. Dreadful in fact. Should I have spilled the beans? or is it best we just don't go there?

Friday, 29 July 2011

Weekend Rewind - Pick a Favourite Edition

There was some excellent rewinding going on last weekend on the topic of bloggingHouse of Prowse's post reminded me to back up my blog (which is excellent advice BTW). Tropical Mum suggested that blogging is better than conversation and the Cranky Old Man suggested he may in fact be too old for blogging but everyone who linked up reminded us that blogging is lots of fun for everyone!

I have had me a week. Pure exhaustion. So this week I am leaving it up to you a bit. I would really like you to pick one of your favourite posts (preferably one you haven't linked up before) and add it to the linky. I'd love to read something funny and light, but am equally prepared for the heavy self-reflection too. Whatever you like.

So if you are prepared to get started, all you have to do is become my friend, if we are not already friends, then link up a favourite post from your archives and get reading and commenting. The more comments the merrier. You could also copy the 'Weekend Rewind' button to your sidebar should you wish to share the Weekend Rewind love with your readers. 

I will get us started... The Superfluous Nipple.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Stressed out jaw

Image from here
I don't often notice that I am stressed. Sure. I worry about things. Sure. I have times that I feel overwhelmed with the hand that life has dealt me, but I don't usually get totally stressed out. Except when I upset someone else unwittingly. I hate that.

Today I woke from my (still) broken slumber to a sore jaw. Temporomandibular joint disorder*. This is a sure sign for me that I have been grinding my teeth (I know. An extremely attractive habit and one that you wish you could acquire I am sure!). I only do that when I am stressed.

I am behind the eight ball in most areas of my life. Parenting, school-Mum duties, work, domestic goddess chores, blogging, wifely matters and of course, friendships.

I spent some of my day today looking at my current workload, working out the things that I can complete and the things I can't. I delegated some tasks at work. Prepared for some meetings I have coming up that need some clear headed thought. Made some telephone calls in my lunch hour that I had been meaning to make for ages. Booked our camping trip in October. Did some regular stretches throughout the day. Drank lots of water.

I came home from work and took some Nurofen. I then had some extra cuddles with my four gorgeous children. I've decided to 'have a night off' and will be off to bed early tonight. I know I owe a lot of you some blog love and I am desperate to catch up on the past few days of your lives through your blog posts, but I am afraid that that will all have to wait a couple of days.

Tomorrow I have a full day packed with parenting madness and then a sleepover at the Children's Hospital with Doo Dah to investigate his snoring issues (my one good sleeper!). So you will see me again on Friday night at 10pm EST when I will be hosting another edition of the Weekend Rewind. If you haven't joined us in the past, please stop by to see what all the fuss is about. It is loads of fun and ever so easy to participate in.

Have you ever slept over at a hospital? What was your experience like? Aside from the dreadful food?

*Don't worry too much about the TMJ. It will be gone as soon as I stop grinding my teeth. Which will happen as soon as I stop stressing about things. Which will happen as soon as I stop thinking about things...

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Image from here
I am up to my eyeballs in Fadmin* this evening. You know, dealing with school notes, planning menus, paying bills, organising the social calendar and folding the piles of washing (although I don't think the latter is actually a Fadmin task but I thought I would remind myself that it needs doing because our three-seater lounge is literally covered in washing).

I find when the social agenda gets busy, the piles of paper that needs 'dealing with' gets bigger. I usually put off dealing with the internet banking scheduling, looking at the online bills, writing up the school schedule on the calendar and the daycare 'news' topics in my diary and managing the credit card payments until I realise that 'oops' I have missed something important. Again.

It always costs me dearly, so instead of writing a post tonight, I am paying my bills and planning Nugget's Book Parade outfit and sorting out the paperwork for Doo Dah's overnight stay at the Children's hospital on Thursday night and completing my commitments for the Multiple Birth Association Committee and well, folding washing.

It is exciting stuff, but someone has to do it.

Are you the bill payer in your house?

* Fadmin is short for "family administration". Don't be impressed. I didn't make up this term, rather I read it in the Good Weekend magazine one week and have no idea who I stole it from :-(

Monday, 25 July 2011

Tag team

Image from here
Sometimes I wonder why I even bother going to bed. I know I bring some of it on myself. I am a night owl. Always have been. But mostly it isn't all me. Last night was one of those nights.

730-830pm - The two older boys refused to fall asleep. They played every card in their decks to stretch out their bed time and to attract their parents' attention. We played every card in our decks to insist they go to sleep. They eventually nodded off sometime after 9pm.

9-1130pm - I was occupied doing EOFY stuff with my husband for his business. I insisted we finish up because I was desperate to go to sleep. I cleaned my teeth and headed off for some zzzzs.

1130pm - Young Dew Drop awoke from his slumber, screaming into the dead of the night. He refused to return to his cot and his loud protests threatened to wake the Minx (he always does this just as I am trying to get into bed). Multiple attempts to return him to his bed were unsuccessful. Settled for some time in front of the TV watching the final stage of the Tour de France.

1230am- Dew Drop and I went to sleep in my bed. He snored loudly in my ear. The Geege snuck into bed at some stage.

300am - I was awoken by Nugget who had wet his bed. I did the midnight sheets change. In the dark. Without my glasses. Of course the mattress protector had come off the mattress and so it was soaked in 'man's wee from a boy's body' so I had to set up a mattress on the floor for him.

315am- Back in my bed. Only I no longer really fit in it as Dew Drop and The Geege had taken full occupation of my space in the bed (and my pillow) once I got up to help Nugget. I fell asleep anyway.

450am - The Minx woke. Screaming. She has the most wretched scream, like, ever. I bounded out of bed to see what the problem was. She had lost her cookbook (she sleeps with a book of cake recipes. I know. I know. It spells trouble but believe you me, she is as stubborn as a mule and you cannot tell her anything!) I attempted to recover the lost item, in the dark, without my glasses but had no such luck. She insisted she would stop screaming if she and here blanky could go to my bed. I was too tired to refuse.

515am - Returned to bed. There were now four in the bed. My alarm was due to go off in 45 minutes. I blinked and it was 6am.

6am - I spent 20 minutes trying to work out how to get out of bed without waking everyone. Eventually I had to make a break for it. Both toddlers followed me into the bathroom and then into the kitchen and begged for breakfast. I sorted them and myself and disappeared out the door towards the train by 7am.

Thank God for the ever consistent sleep skills of Doo Dah.


How was your sleep?

Sunday, 24 July 2011

52in52: Go to the movies six times

Image from here
Last year for Christmas, the Geege and I were given some movie vouchers. The last time we were given a pack of ten, they expired before we could use them. I know. It shocked me too.

Ordinarily, I love going to the movies. I come from a family of movie buffs and have created a family of movie buffs. I swore I would still find the time to catch a movie when I had kids. I couldn't imagine I could go without.

When I was a uni student (for far too many years than I care to remember) and I barely had two cents to rub together, I would forfeit anything for a Tightarse Tuesday at the movies. I was often seen walking from Kensington to Darlington (seven kilometres or so) for a week at a time in my first year of uni so that I could use my weekly bus money for a night at the pictures or a beer. I moved A LOT closer in my second year of uni. It made sense.

In the past six years, I have found myself unable to get out to the flicks. Most of my movie indulgences have occurred in the comfort of my own home. But the lure of the big screen has never left me, although after a while I stopped reading the reviews in the newspapers. It felt too much like a tease to have to wait until the movie came out on DVD.

So I had until June 30 to use my six gifted movie tickets. I put it on my 52in52 list. Just to make sure. I made it! Six movies in six months.

I didn't always get to see what I wanted to see. It seems that every time I got an opportunity to go to the movies, there was precious little on. But I have broken the drought of trips to the movies so I feel this just may be the rekindling of a beautiful relationship. As great as break-up sex.

So the Geege and I caught a couple of sessions together (Black Swan and Source Code) which was an added bonus. Nugget and I saw two together in the school holidays (Rango and Kung Fu Panda 2). The whole tribe had a trip to the Drive In to see Cars 2. And I had one date with the girls to see Water for Elephants.

I know, I know. There are three 'kids' movies in my list, all of which were fantastic. You get that when the children out-number you, four to two. Of the adult films, Black Swan was nuts, Source Code a great perve and Water for Elephants a bit meh (I am a crappy movie reviewer so I won't elaborate!)

How many movies have you seen this year? What has been your favourite? What do you recommend I see on DVD?

Friday, 22 July 2011

Weekend Rewind - The Blogging 101 Edition

Well, last week's link up was oodles of fun. So many lists, so little time! I stumbled a few of the posts that resonated with me (follow me there is you don't already. I am MultipleMum, of course) including this gem from Fox in Flats and Diminishing Lucy's guide to nipping emotional eating in the bud.

This week's Weekend Rewind all about blogging tips. The blogosphere is exploding exponentially and there are many new bloggers out there and many more of us who love to read about how to be a better blogger.So this week, link up an old blog post about blogging for some new comment love. It could be a post about writing posts, commenting, your love of blogging, your addiction to blogging or the technical side of blogging. We're not fussy!

Sister A did a Weekend Rewind dedicated to the blogging community back in May so if you are looking for inspiration of the 'building community' kind, that is a great place to start.

The rules are the same as always: All you need to do to play along is become my friend, if we are not already friends, then link up a post from your archives all about the joys of blogging and get commenting. The more comments the merrier.

I will start you off. Here is one of mine... Blog commenting - do you have a system? (The comments section definitely adds value to the post!)

Now show us yours...

Thursday, 21 July 2011

It is all about the bike

Image from here
I fell asleep on the couch having a cuddle with the Minx this afternoon. It was a microsleep but a sleep nonetheless. I know I can sleep anywhere but I was on duty! I rarely do that. I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Schleck brothers, Contador and Cadel Evans.

I love the Tour de France. Love it! Going to watch it one year is absolutely on my bucket list.

It is one of those compelling sports that drags me in, year after year. The Geege and I worked out that this is the ninth July we have lost to the world's greatest bike ride.

Lance Armstrong lured me to the sport initially, but long since our love affair has concluded, I am an avid fan of this exciting 21 day event. It is a team sport, an individual sport, a sprint and a marathon all wrapped up in fit men in tight lycra with intense expressions conducting amazing human feats. It is a race surrounded by magnificent scenery, crazed fans, fantastic commentary and spectacular crashes.

The only downside is the chronic sleep deprivation. Coverage commences at 10pm and finishes at 1am (or later for some stages). I can't help myself. I sit and watch trying to keep one eye open to watch the stage winner cross the finish line but inevitably fall asleep on the couch (lucky for me Dew Drop has his regular 2am wake up which enables me to shuffle into bed after I settle him).

I am wrecked, but the race finishes on Sunday so I have a few sleepless nights ahead of me yet. I won't miss a minute.

Are you a fan? Who are you going for in this year's race?

Family unplanning

Image from here
Have you noticed how differently everyone tackles the family making thing? Some have lots of children close together, while others space them out. I heard about one family who has four children, each seven years after the last. 21 years of parenting a 0-7 year old. Ugh.

The consideration for how many children to have and how close together to have them is one that we all agonise over. What is the best gap? How many children will satisfy the parental urges?

The funny thing is, that both of these questions are often beyond our control.

While some people get pregnant the minute they even consider having a baby, others try and try and try.

While some people have no trouble having their first child, they experience secondary infertility and the gap between children grows and grows, and sometimes never eventuates.

While some people carry babies to term, others miscarry or have premature babies, both impacting on the gap between children and/or the number of children they eventually parent.

While some people plan for one child, they wind up with twins, or triplets (which happened to a friend of mine) and their lives take on a whole different track.

For some, family planning turns out exactly as they wanted (creating the 'perfect scenario'of reduced sibling rivalry). For others, their family make-up is not what they expected.

In my way of thinking, in the end, 'you get what you get and you don't get upset' as we say in our household. There is little to be gained from lamenting a life that hasn't eventuated. So you ended up with four children under four? So be it.

I know that I am lucky. I don't know what it is like to not be able to get pregnant. I know that many people would like to find themselves in the scenario that I am in; with too much love and many children to cuddle.

But I do know that nothing comes from being unhappy with your life, from not accepting your situation. Nothing is to be gained from living a life you don't have. Do everything you can, by all means, to make the life you dream of but don't let it define you.

What are your thoughts on family planning? Can you really plan a family or are there just too many variables?

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Words on Wednesday: Status Anxiety

Write On Wednesdays

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 6 - Status Anxiety: Log onto your Facebook/Twitter page and write down the first status update you see.  Set a timer for 5 minutes. Write the first words that come into your head after your prompt. Stop when the buzzer rings. Do this exercise over and over if you wish. If you don't do the social media thing (there's bound to be some who haven't succumbed!) email me and I'll send you a status update from one of my social media accounts. If you feel uncomfortable about using one of your friend's status updates, consider using the most recent update on Lamebook, the home of the funniest and lamest Facebook status updates. 

"I really want to hide under a big rock right now and not come out... can this day not have happened"

She couldn't believe that she had actually said the things she had. To her boss nonetheless. Her boss! The words had slipped from her lips before she even registered her company. She was like that. Her Mum had always said 'it is not what you say, but how you say it that counts'. In the case of calling your boss "a bumbling old fool", maybe the content is just as powerful as the tone. 

She wishes she could just hide under a big rock right now instead of having the face the music with Mr Smith from HR. She dreaded it. If only today had never happened and that bloody Rupert from the cubicle next to hers hadn't riled her so much with his loud telephone voice and booming music through his headphones. She didn't cope well with noise and it seems that today was no exception. 

A genuine case of foot in mouth. No excuses...

What rhymed with bumbling old fool? What could she possibly have meant to say? It wasn't looking good for her. "Renee?" Damn. It was Mr Smith. Wherefore art thou big rock?

Want to play along? Join the link up.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Are you a stickler?

Image credit
I was coming out of the supermarket this evening when I almost got run over on the pedestrian crossing. The car just didn't stop. I was a little surprised, shook my head in disbelief but continued pushing my heavy trolley laden with eco-bagged shopping on towards my car (Oh yes! Still no plastic bags at my place).

Meanwhile, the car parked two spaces away from mine was making its way out of the car park. It pulled out of its space a proceeded to drive out, against the arrow, against the flow of traffic. Saving itself the hassle of making a lap of the car park, preferring a direct line to the exit instead.

The next car I saw (the car park was unseasonably busy for 8pm on a Monday), drove out of its car space, across the empty car spaces and out of the entrance, ignoring the 'No exit' sign.

In a space of three minutes, I observed three traffic violations. Were these people breaking the rules because they thought no-one was watching? No-one would notice their misdemeanours because it is dark and relatively quiet?

It got me thinking.

Do you break the road rules under the cloud of darkness or are you a stickler?

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Easy like Sunday morning

They lay in bed. There were six of them in total. The two older ones were wishing the morning hadn't yet arrived as the younger four climbed, bounced and shouted. Is it really 7am already? he thought. Why does the Tour de France have to be so compelling? she wondered as she reflected on the meagre six hours of sleep she has just had.

Just yesterday they had woken to the sounds of the waves in Manly beach. There was only two of them there. Things moved slower. There was no climbing, bouncing or shouting. Just peace and quiet. They missed the four of them, but not enough to not appreciate the stillness and the lack of responsibility. They could get up when they wanted.

But today, the four younger ones set the pace. "I want my breakfast" said the youngest boy at the top of his voice. He is a voracious eater in the morning. "I have a sore leg" whimpered the oldest of the boys. He cried for effect; desperately seeking the attention of his inattentive parents. They were playing a game of 'who will crack first'; each burying their heads deeper under the doona. 

The young girl stated that she had a sore tummy. "I need a cuddle" she said simply. She tucked in under her mother's wing. The middle son tried to be still. Tried to want to stay in bed but was lured to a game of sprinting down the hallway and jumping wildly on the couch while squealing in delight. The parents smiled (how could they not?) and realised they were fighting a losing battle.

Eventually he gave in first (he usually does). He rose from the bed, grumpy and fumbling for some warm clothes while the eldest boy continued to carry on about his sore leg. Wasn't it your other leg a moment ago? Perhaps a bit more sleep for you son? He was dispatched back to bed. They were just five then.

The little girl continued to complain of a sore tummy. As she and her mother got up out of bed, she requested she take her doona ('blanky') for a spell on the couch. She looked up hopefully, knowing that her blanky was meant to stay in her bed. Her mother begrudgingly agreed.

Breakfast was served. The youngest boy spilled his all over the floor. Three times. The middle boy gobbled his down and requested more. The little girl took one mouthful after a sip of orange juice and vomited all over her precious 'blanky'. The two parents got to work cleaning up all the spills and comforting the children. 

He looked at her helplessly. He was about to go off to work and leave her with the vomiting child and the boy with the "sore leg". He knew the day wouldn't go well for them, but there was nothing he could do. He kissed them all and went on his way. She looked at his departing frame longingly. Was it only yesterday that they were in Manly? Really?

The beginning of another day with four small children. Not even a regular day.

What goes on on a Sunday morning at your place?

Friday, 15 July 2011

Weekend Rewind - The List edition

Welcome to another edition of the Weekend Rewind. I have to say that I had enormous fun reading your very first posts last week.  Some of us just launched in to this blogging caper, while others took a more tentative step, but we all got started on our unique adventure, and look at us now. What a great way to get to know a blogger, huh?

Thanks to Sister A for setting up this fabulous linky and giving us the chance to relive all the memories.

Now, let's get started on this week's Rewind...

The rules of this linky are simple. All you need to do to play along is become my friend, if we are not already friends, then link up a post from your archives and get commenting. The more comments the merrier.

This week we are all about airing our 'list post' archives. We all love a list post right? So link up a post from your archives that contains a list. Here is one of mine: Here's the thing.

Now show us yours... 

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Twindividual time

I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with Dew Drop this week. He has been sick and I got the honours of having two days off work to attend to his every whim need.

I really got to know him, as an individual. He and the Minx have always been a twosome. They arrived together and have been together ever since. Sharing a routine. Sharing a room. Sharing their playtime. Their meals. Their baths. Pretty much everything.

They look out for each other. They fight with each other. They scheme together. They drive each other nuts. They love each other to pieces. But they are always a 'they'.

It is rewarding spending individual time with your children. If there had just been a little less snot in the equation, Dew Drop and I would have had the perfect couple of days. Pottering around the garden. Getting a few little jobs done. Hanging in front of the TV. Toddling to the local shop for an afternoon treat. Singing along to music. Popping out to get the mail. Making cauliflower soup. 

Nothing much to do except stay warm and get better.

I wish it didn't take a virus to enable me to have this sort of quality time. Dew Drop is a seriously cool little dude.

How do you spend one on one time with your child? 

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Little Home of Happiness release

I have been completely besotted with Kellie's blog, 1000 Homes of Happiness, since I first discovered it. Such a beautiful and creative project being executed so perfectly by Kellie and her girls. Love, love, love.

I love origami. I love treasure hunts. It is such a special concept that we really wanted to be a part of it, so I contacted Kellie and she sent us a Home to release. I felt I owed it to The Dude. (Maybe someone will actually find this?) 

So last Wednesday, on the drive down to Fibrotown, my Dad, the kids and I stopped at Nan Tien Temple for a look. I have driven past the place at least 100 times over the past ten years, but Windy Wednesday was the chosen day for us to stop and peruse.

I find myself drawn to the peace and serenity of Buddhism. I have dabbled in meditation. Buddhism for Mothers was my saviour in the early years of parenting. It seemed apt that my chosen word "Mindfulness" be released in a place of such serenity and esteem.

Mindfulness (n) the state of being completely in touch with and aware of the present moment, as well as taking a non-evaluative and non-judgemental approach to your inner experience.

After making our way around the site... 

Shoes on. Shoes off. Shoes on. Shoes off... being mesmerised by all the golden Buddhas... keeping little hands from touching said golden Buddhas and trying our hand at the poses in the gardens...

We found our Home of Happiness its new home.

I remembered to take a moment to be mindful. I noticed the wind on my cheeks. The warm glow of the sun on my face. The rustle of the trees. The hum of the traffic on the highway nearby. The tweet of the birds. The laughter of the children and Pops telling them to 'get away from the road'. I listened harder and heard the faint sound of the ducks splashing the water. I felt the cold of the statue on my hands. I felt an overwhelming feeling that our home would be very happy in its new home. I took a deep breath and pushed on with the rest of the day.

Thanks so much to Kellie for giving us this wonderful experience.

Take a moment to be mindful each day (as often as you can). Your life will be richer for it.

PS: The winner of the 365 Ways to Make Money book giveaway is MummyBear1970! I loved her entrepreneurial spirit being fostered at such a young age. Check the comments if you want to know what I am talking about. Please email me with your details so I can arrange your book! Thanks to everyone who entered. It was such fun to read about your crazy ideas for making money. No doubt Kylie will be able to use some in the next edition of her book!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

What does your house say about you?

Image from here
I stayed at a good friend's home last week while visiting my family. It was so kind of her to offer her space and we gladly accepted (it is always hard to squeeze my tribe into anyone's home when visiting others as you can imagine).

Her home wasn't as I expected. I have known her for a very long time. We grew up together. Defined the world together. Got into lots of mischief together. Through life's ups and downs, thick and thin bits, we get each other. She's a top shelf friend.

But I learnt things about her by the way her house was arranged and organised. 

It got me thinking. Why is it that we have our stuff sorted around us the way we do? What does it say about us? And why is our outward appearance sometimes so different from what is going on inside us?

Are we minimalist because we can't make a decision? We don't know what we need or want so just get nothing? Or is it because it makes us feel Zen. Clutter-free space, clutter-free mind?

Do we hoard because we can't let go? Or do we just like 'things'? Or do we just not have the space to house all of our belongings?

The fact that my house is mostly tidy with pockets of clutter and disorganisation. What does that say about me? That I am lazy? Laid back? Disorganised? Need more storage? or Just busy? 

And the total neat freak? With their perfect benchtops and clutter-free spaces? What does it really say about them? They are proud? Uptight? Organised? Storage endowed? or Just sorted?

I am not judging. I am just asking. Why did I expect my friend's home to be different?

Monday, 11 July 2011

Going paperless wrap

Image from here
Last month I spent a bit of time sorting out my paperwork, as per the G Magazine Challenge. I was already using recycled paper products for toilet paper, paper towel, printer paper etc. and recycling paper, but I wanted to reduce the amount that I use.

It is important that we all try to reduce our paper usage. Making paper isn't just about deforestation (although that is bad enough), but the manufacturing process of paper making is energy and water hungry too. It costs us a lot to have clean, fresh white pages to scribble on. Unless you decide to make it yourself? 

At the halfway point, I had achieved a fair bit towards cutting down the amount of paper that enters the house. In the final two weeks of the challenge, I took the following steps:

1. Replacing disposable products with more eco-friendly ones. Like using washable cloths instead of paper-towel. And using handkerchiefs instead of tissues (although I did find a recycled paper tissue you may prefer?)  
2. Reducing the unnecessary paper by using my "No advertising material" sticker on the mail box and switching to e-statements and bills.
3. Looking for better ways to use the paper we have lying around at home. Try these for a start (sourced from Julie's blog post). Recycled Scrap Paper Notebooks. Or maybe just an envelope?
4. Talking to my boss and colleagues about improving our paper usage in the workplace (you can but try!)

I still have a long way to go (for example my wallet is still full of receipts!), but as I work my way through the piles of paper that add to the overall clutter of my home, I am really glad that I tackled this challenge. You don't have to be perfect. You just have to keep trying to get better. Right? It is worthwhile and in the future, maybe my piles won't be so high?

Have you got any little tricks for dealing with piles of paper?

Sunday, 10 July 2011

52in52: See some live music

Image from here
I am taking a leaf out of Kelly's book and setting myself something new to do each week in 2011. I am going to post about it each week on Saturday. I won't be doing this in any particular order, and will add the link to the post when it is complete. If I don't manage to acheive everything on the list, (highly likely) I will donate $5 for everything I missed to Oxfam for all the amazing work they do. So here goes...

Whilst off visiting Fibrotown, I managed to see some live music! It has been a long time coming.

Sister A and the Builder bought me a ticket to see Seeker, Lover, Keeper as a birthday gift and the big night rolled around on Thursday. SLK is a girl super group; made up of Sarah Blasko, Sally Seltman and Holly Throsby (and a couple of freaky looking guys on bass and drums). I had high expectations about the music they would produce, being a fan of both SB and SS.  We caught their second ever gig (a slice of history?)

Here is their single to give you a taste (both Sister A and I agree that this was their stand-out track):

There is something special about seeing live music. For a good night out, you can't beat it really. 

Good music provides an excuse to stop and listen. Really listen. To the lyrics, the voices that are singing and the individual instruments as they entwine to build a tune/melody/song. 

I love watching the passion on the face of the singer(s). I love their little hand gestures and facial grimaces as they create their vibe. I love watching musicians share their talent with the crowd. Somewhat tentative. Somewhat vulnerable. Seeking approval and understanding from the audience. And yet, they somehow still manage to ooze confidence and coolness. Vulnerably cool. Now there's a strange concept!

 The three women didn't disappoint. They write great songs and sing and play them beautifully. Definitely worth a listen.

What was the last gig you saw?

PS: If you haven't already, don't forget to enter my giveaway (first ever!) before July 13.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Weekend Rewind

Welcome to the new home of the World Famous Weekend Rewind. Thanks to the resignation of Sister A, the linky has relocated from the Fibro and is now under new management. This is not the first hand-me-down I have received from my sister I can assure you, and like all the others that have preceded it, I am truly eternally grateful.

So although we are beginning a new chapter of the Rewind, the rules have not changed. All you need to do to play is become my friend, if we are not already friends, then link up a post from your archives and get commenting.

We all love a little comment love so please share liberally amongst yourselves. Remember, the more you give, the more you shall receive!

As this week is all about new beginnings, let's take the opportunity to read about your blog beginning. Link up your very first blog post. If it is anything like mine, it is a long stretch from what you are writing about now! Here's mine: In the Beginning... Now show us yours!

I can't wait to get to know you all.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Piles of washing

The thing about being sick is that you only get through the basics. Dressing kids/self. Feeding kids/husband/self. Washing kids/self. Anything above that can be considered unessential and left for another day.

I finally started feeling better yesterday. I celebrated by going to work, sitting in meetings all day, racing home to have the busiest three hours of my week, followed up by a game of indoor soccer (we lost 6 to 1, thanks for asking!) and a date with the piles of washing (see photos above).

I kid you not. An entire week of washing folded in one night. 

Luckily I come from excellent genetic stock in pile creation. The women in my family can stack a dish rack like no-one else you have ever seen. The Geege has made many quips about this over the years as I have managed to delicately balance 10 pots on top of each other without any of them falling. It is a gift I tell you.

This stacking skill fortunately extends to piles of washing too. Getting an 80cm high pile of clothes to sit is quite a useful skill for any disorganised home maker. No. Really. 

I also do a mean pile of paper. But I am less happy about that gift from my parents. Much harder to deal with.

So after I have conquered Mt Washmore (as Cate calls it), I will be taking a short break while I visit my parents and Sister A in Fibrotown. I shall be back on Friday night with my first Weekend Rewind (my other 'first one' being cancelled due to illness!). I look forward to seeing you all then.

Do tell me. Have you needed to train yourself in the fine art of washing stacking? or you a do it as you go kind of person?

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Buy nothing new - more resolve than ever?

Image from here
So after five months of buying nothing new*, I am finding that I no longer long for new things. This challenge has really helped me thrive on the reduce, reuse, and recycle concept.

When something breaks, we fix it. Or we re-purpose it. Or we recycle it.

When we are invited out somewhere, instead of thinking "I need a new shirt", I think, "What have I got that will suit this occasion". After all I learnt during the six items or less challenge that no-one really notices what you wear anyway. I haven't even been to an op-shop for the last two months (the change of season has been surprisingly exciting this year - all those different clothes to wear!).

I did superbly well with making gifts this month too. Of the five gifts I needed to get, I made four of them (the other was only the other day and with the whole viral labyrinthitis thing going on, I was in no mood to create. But I did have a plan which I will now use for the next five year old girl I need to organise a present for!).

Being more creative with gifts has been surprisingly fun and has me a bit more enthusiastic about the Pay it Forward project that has been looming over my head for the past 6 months...

The funny thing about this lifestyle is that it has a snowballing effect. It makes you want to live more simply. It makes you want to declutter and get rid of all those things that you have 'just in case'. Just in case of what? It makes you want to connect more with the earth and buy locally and seasonally and with minimal packaging. I know. It surprises me too!

I used to be a 'Greenie'. An urban hippy I called myself when I wore nothing but op-shop clothes (mostly petticoats and crocheted skirts with stockings and Doc Marten's). I lost a lot of my environmental prowess when I had the kids and became more main-stream and suburban. This challenge has connected me back to that younger version of me who thought 'every little thing makes a difference'. Because it does.

So as I enter the sixth month of this challenge I feel more resolve than ever to make it through to the end. This is making me a better person. I can feel it.

How green are you? Pale or bright?

* I put together a page where I can tally the 'slip-ups' I have made around this challenge. Just to keep me more accountable and so you can see that 'nothing new' is a bit of a stretch really but we are certainly trying. x

Monday, 4 July 2011

365 Ways to Make Money - Giveaway

Image from here
When I first started reading blogs early last year, I stumbled across Kylie Ofiu's blog Aspiring Millionaire where I found a young (she will be 30 in April 2015), bright and highly enthusiastic woman who was putting herself out there and daring to become a millionaire before she is thirty. I have watched on with interest and envy as this tenacious blogger has shared her financial knowledge and aspirations. She is an amazing go-getter.

On July 1, Kylie released her latest book (she self-published a frugal cookbook too) called 365 Ways to Make Money - Ideas for quick $ every day of the year. She was asked to write the book by her, now, publisher who found a popular post on her blog and saw its potential as a book. (Surprisingly, I didn't hear her knocking on my door when I wrote this post back in 2008!)

I have always enjoyed Kylie's ideas on saving money and frugality on her blog. I hadn't really even noticed her tips on 'making money' (I think I am too much of a traditional PAYG kind of girl to get all creative about ways to make money) so this book was new and exciting for me.

The book is brimming with ideas and enthusiasm, just like Kylie's blog. It is like she has never encountered a situation that she couldn't turn into an idea to make a quick dollar! There are already a few posts about Kylie's book in the blogosphere that you should check out (e.g. here and here) so rather than rehash the same things in my review, I think the best thing I can do is pick out Kylie's top tips for the SAHM so that you can have a taste of what is in stall for you:

1. Get advertising - Kylie has ideas for how to advertise with your house, your car or your blog. You can make a pretty penny by letting others use your space to market/advertise their business or product.

2. Work online - From pay-per-click sites to completing online surveys to writing Squidoo lenses, Kylie has ideas for how you can make money from sitting at home on your computer.

3. Use your word processing skills - If you can type, you can make money from typing medical transcripts, university assignments or resumes (amongst other things). You just need to put yourself out there and Kylie shows you how.

4. Help the time-poor - While the work of a SAHM is never done, maybe you could make money helping someone else out? You could try advertising your services for ironing, washing clothes, accepting deliveries or mending/alterations in your local area. You never know who might need a hand.

5. Sell stuff - If you have a glut of books, DVDs, CDs, firewood or even gold, try selling it to make money and declutter your house. Kylie has been doing a challenge to Sell 1000 things on her website (she makes it look easy) but maybe setting a target like that might be just the inspiration you need?

If you would like a copy of this book to call your own, I have one to giveaway to one lucky reader. To be in for a chance, all you need to do is a) be a follower of this blog and b) tell me the craziest thing you have done for an extra dollar. The most creative will win (as determined by me!). Prize drawn 9pm EST Wednesday July 13th. Be in it to win it!

Friday, 1 July 2011

The hangover you have when you didn't have any booze

Image from here
Yesterday I discovered I can sleep anywhere.

I was 'woken' at the end of my CT scan by a highly amused technician stating 'I believe you may have had a Mummy nap' in there.

A splitting headache, dizziness and head spins* will do that to you I suppose? All on the back of a complete bender from the Geege who ended up sleeping at the store (I was trying to track him down at 4am {after being woken by the Minx} when he failed to return from a work function).

Our poor children. Two decommissioned parents.

I have a case of viral labyrinthitis. It is not fun but it I will live to fight another day.

I think I need more sleep though.

* Sounds like a hangover I know, but, sadly there was no alcohol involved.

Drop back later today for my first Weekend Rewind!
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