26 October 2011

| day twenty six | I think I am a sheep dog

Its true! I think that somewhere along the line, parents of toddlers have developed the skills of a sheep dog.

I came to this amazing moment of clarity this afternoon while in the chicken run with my Imp and Squeak. After a good half hour of the children/chicken playdate in the run, it was time to let the chickens enjoy some peace without being chased or harassed for a cuddle. Getting Imp out was a breeze. Squeak on the other hand.....

I swear that child has the skills of a ninja and can corner better than a quarter horse. After repeated answers of "No no no no" to my gentle coercion to allow me to pick her up, she then reverted to the art of dodging. Punctuated heavily with giggles in response to mine slower reflexes.

It was time to think smart. Its time to pretend I was rounding up some sheep.

Three minutes later, I had Squeak cornered and was able to scoop her up. Sheepdog Mum 1. Squeak 0.

25 October 2011

| day twenty four and twenty five | Things I know

Joining along again with Shae from Yay for Home!

Things I know:

The pile of dirty clothes really does never end.

Chickens make the best alarm clocks

Music always centres me and makes Squeak dance

24 October 2011

| day twenty two - twenty three | What are your senses doing?

What I am reading:

What I am listening to:

What are you absorbing your senses into today?

21 October 2011

| day twentyone | Create a teatowel skirt

Back in May, I wrote a post about finding cool things to do on the internet. Well it happened again. I came across another fantastic blog called Filth Wizardry; full of art and craft ideas for kids. One post in particular caught my eye:


In this post, she had bought some white tea towels and let the girls go to town on them with markers and acrylic paint. She sewed it all up and hey presto, skirts!!

Feeling inspired, I sourced the materials and Imp started on her creation.

Finally, I got the sewing machine out and put it together. First attempt at sewing so was happy that it ended up looking skirt-like.

20 October 2011

| day twenty | The little things

Imp has the biggest heart.

This afternoon, the female trio pottered around outside. We greeted and fed the chickens, then sat back and watched them for a while. Then Squeak ventured off to do some chalk drawing on the pavers while I dead headed my calendula plants.

Imp was very quiet. Not a peep.

I pop my head up to see what she is doing and I discover her picking the white clover flowers. She is very busy.

Soon I greeted with a huge smile from Imp and a bunch of flowers. She had been picking them for me. This type of thoughtfulness from her just warms my heart. To know that she spent a long time meticulously picking the perfect flowers as a present for me it so beautiful. There is love in every single bloom.

We went inside and I got out a little vase for them, filled it up with water and carefully organised the flowers in it. They mean the same to me as florist bought flowers as they were given with such love and joy.

19 October 2011

| day nineteen | Captured

Even shark puppets need some TLC

18 October 2011

| day eighteen | Esme Strikes Back

Since I last spoke of our poultry acquisition, we have bought two more chickens to finish off our little Chicken Collective. Now we also have two Buff Sussex chickens called Bertha the Buff and Attila the Hen.

They are the most gorgeous looking hens and are younger than the other two.

We were apprehensive when introducing them all to each other and sure enough, we were not disappointed and was soon audience to poultry theatre.

Enter Esme. Second in line to the throne.

Esme does not appreciate the fact that now she may pushed further down the rung. So she has gone into overdrive to terrorise the two newest additions.

"Don't  mess  with  me"

17 October 2011

| day thirteen to day seventeen | And where have you been young laydee?

I have been absent for a few days. Lots of busy days of meetings, teleconferences and visiting others.

Over the weekend, I had the most wonderful time catching up with some amazing women. It was a day of nurturing our women spirit and connecting with others. It was fantastic. It ended with a Closing Circle where we passed yarn around and tied it to our wrist. It made for a beautiful web where we were all connected. Our journeys, our love, our sadness, our joy. It was all there and we are all shared it.

Years ago, before the advancement of technology and social networking, people would come together and meet. They would have circles where they sat around and had a chat. Cried. Laughed. Felt supported.

We, as a community, have really lost the art of reaching out. Example of this is when women have babies. People come to visit and what do they want to do? They want to cuddle the baby.

WRONG! What they should be doing is the dishes, hanging out the washing. Bring around a warm meal. Things that mean that the mother can spend the time bonding with her child and she doesn't have to worry about making her visitors cups of tea while they fawn all over her baby.

We have lost the village mentality. Where we, as a group, helps others and that we know that when we need help, it will be there in return. When we were moving house, not one person offered to help. Lots of "yeah it sucks to move, lucky its you and not me". Not one comment of "Do you need a hand? Can I help? Do you want us to mind the children for you?" None. It was just pregnant me and Husband doing it all.

When I birthed Imp, I had my mother in law nagging to come and visit because she wanted to see the baby. Husband made it perfectly clear that no one was seeing Imp for at least a couple of weeks as we wanted time with our baby first. She pushed and pushed until she got to come over and drop off a present; then proceeded to get her partner to nag and harass us to see Imp. It ended with a yelling match in the front yard, him threatening Husband that he would shoot him and them being excommunicated out of lives. Imp was not even 24 hours old.

Then the village called out to us from unexpected source and offered us a warm meal. I was overcome with joy and amazement at this. But then nothing came. The messenger had sent back to the Village that I had rejected such an offer. I only found this out last month that she had said this 20 months ago. Such sadness and anger filled me up.

Being a member of a village requires commitment to follow through. To walk the walk and not just talk the talk. There are women out there who are just desperate for the strength of other women. To built the circle. We need to stop navel gazing and act. Get involved. Reach out to others.

What have you done to build your circle?

This gorgeous artwork was created by Molly Roberts at herspeak

13 October 2011

| day twelve | Goodbye Kestrel

By the end of this month, a friend will be gone.

My friend and her gorgeous family are moving away; back to the place that they call home. Back to calmness of familiarity and the peace in being cocooned by a loving network.

They took a huge risk to move away from what they knew and loved. To go on an adventure to find where they fitted in the world. Sadly, it was not here but their adventure was not without a sense of discovery - that home is where the heart is. And that being where they lived before.

Kestrel is an amazing woman. She exudes warmth and has an energy surrounding her that just makes people want to flock to her. Her laugh will illuminate a dark corner of a room. She is smart. Really smart. I have been party to, sometimes just mere passenger of as I sit back in awe, the most intellectually stimulating conversations I have ever had with another woman.


She is a role model. She is the type of mother I wanted to be when I grew up. The matriarch of a household where children laugh, play, are welcomed with open arms. She is an Earth Mother. The greatest gift her children will ever receive is being a member of this family and being blessed to have her as their Mum.

I credit this woman for introducing me to a different way to live. I am, by nature, an uptight Leo/Virgo; conditioned from years of strict parenting. She showed me how to live. To be an active participant in life and not just a spectator. To let go. To stop white knuckling so much and to let my family just be.

She introduced me to the crazy concept of plates that don't match. A "dinner set" of completely unique plates; one being completely different from the other. Oh  my god, who would have thought it! If you look in her kitchen not one plate, cup or mug are the same. When I inquired of the reasoning behind this, she responded with "Well if I break a plate, I don't have to stress that I have messed up the set". How utterly genius in its simplicity!

The interior of her house is wrapped in prose. Everywhere you turn, there is bookcase after bookcase of literature. It gives you a firm idea of what the Kestrel family are like: "In this house, we read!" I think she could happily live in a library, or at least have her own personal bibliotheca wing.

She is a dedicated tea drinker. Her lime green teapot is now a trademark Kestrel signature. For my birthday, I received from her a Robin Egg Blue version of the same teapot. Covertly, I have been initiated into the Tea Drinking Sect.

There is also a deep enthusiasm for op shopping. The treasures this woman finds just amazes me and yes, I am envious. Her Eldest is particularly good at finding children's shoes. It's genetic, I swear. I also give her credit for reintroducing me to the joy of going for a hunt at the op shops. I know that if I want to brag about what I find, I will have an appreciative ear to celebrate with me.

My children love going to her house. Imp just flies up the stairs and leaves poor Mama still struggling to get Squeak out of the car. Her house is an Aladdin's Cave of fantastic toys. Not your generic plastic crap here - there is an abundance of toys. In baskets. Baskets!! What a wonderful storage idea.

There are dolls, blocks, musical instruments, puzzles, doll houses, Lego, gorgeous Steiner toys. When we first visited her home, Imps eyes almost popped out on springs. From that moment on, it is always a bit of a struggle to get her out the door when it it is time go. She embeds herself into the house like a tick and refuses to budge.

But do you blame her? Like the song by Madness - welcome to the house of fun! Where sometimes, when the Father feels the urge, will pull out a guitar and start singing. Memorable moment no. 203 was attending a birthday party for their middle child and during Pass the Parcel, hearing the dulcet strumming of Smoke on the Water. When Kestrel suggested maybe something more "appropriate", he swapped it to JJ Cales' "Cocaine".

(Gotta love a sense of humour)

My eldest thinks of the house like Harry Potter visiting The Weasleys. He has dubbed Kestrel, "Molly" and he couldn't be more spot on if he tried. She is warm, protective, a fantastic cook and is very motherly towards all children.  Eldest will miss her dearly.

We all will. As an only child, she is the closest thing that I have ever known to having a sister. But I am so very grateful that fate decided that the Kestrel Family move to this region. She has helped me change the way I mother, the way I live and to attempt to enjoy myself (as was self evident the other night at dinner as Imp and played with our food - which resulted in a Mothership steak refueling Imps little piece of aeroplane steak). It was her family that piqued Eldest's interest in alternative schooling arrangements when he was having such a difficult time at his school. I now homeschool! If you knew me 2 year ago, you would have laughed at that notion.

Farewell SistaFriend. You will be deeply missed. I hope to visit you in your new home and I look forward to sitting across a table from you again while I sip my freshly brewed tea.

12 October 2011

| day eleven | I like storms! I like loud! (dial up death)

When I was little, I hated storms. They scared me. The thunder would make me jump and I would go hide somewhere in my room.

Then I moved to a different state where the subtropical climate guarantees a storm season every year. I was a little wary of this to start with, but having a partner like Husband meant that I learnt to appreciate the beauty of them.

In the first week I was up here, it flooded. A tropical low hung over the region for days and dumped an incredible amount of rain on us. Welcome to the area Cybele! Two months later, it flooded again. Hmmmm, is this normal?

I soon developed "an eye" for cloud structure and which ones could cause some noise.

This one ended up dropping a funnel on a town not far from here and the tornado ate the local church.

I love how the sunset hits the mammatus.

And its not every day that you drive home and see this.

Or the fact that the base was rotating and that a funnel shot out the side of it.

I am still bitterly disappointed that it didn't reach the ground.

Awesome looking structure. Such a pity there was dust on the sensor which showed up in the photo.

This is my current favourite photo - all thanks to my iPhone as the Nikon had a dead battery. The wind from that cell was ice cold and our grass was decorated in hail. It was just lovely to watch.

I have since have just grown to love our storm season up here. It is now so easy to see the beauty in them and watch in awe in how they unfold. Now firmly on my Bucket List is to visit Tornado Alley in the US. That would be such a rush!

11 October 2011

| day 10 | Join the club!

"Mummy! Mumeeeeeeee! Mama! Come quick. QUEEEEEEEEEEEWCK!"

"Oh my god, what's wrong?! Who is hurt? Is it Squeak? Has Squeak hurt herself?" I am zipping through the rooms at a speed that is usually reserved for more athletic types. I am desperate to get to the lounge room to see what the problem is. What am I going to discover when I get in there?

Imp is bouncing up and down with a huge smile on her face. Oh great, what has she has done to her sister this time. Squeak looks intact, upright, tear free. Hmmm ok. I look at Imp again, nope still smiling but now there is pointing involved. At the TV. I then see the reasoning that required my immediate apparition into the lounge room.

Bloody. Justine. Clarke.

"Look Mummy. LOOOOOK! It's Justine Club"

Yep, its a club. Which we appear to have a life long membership to. Sigh.

I blame the iPhone. That's right, it is completely Apples' fault. Not mine. Not at all. It is not my fault that I found an ABC Kids app in the iPhone store. Or that it had a music section. Or that I plugged it into the MP3 port in my car to placate restless children. Or that the friendly woman's voice was singing a song about going on "A Little Day Out".

Or that one song in particular soothed my young babe when she didn't like riding in the car. Or that it got played over. And over. And over.

Or that because I was sick and tired of hearing how the garden grew that I went into the iTunes store (see, Apple again!!) and bought the album that the song came from. And burnt it to a disc.

And put it in the car.

And then let The Smalls hear it.

And now, 12 months down the track, it is the only music that plays in the car when The Smalls are in it.

Damn you!!

I am stuck in the Club. A musical Groundhog Day. I know all the songs off by heart. The only way that Husband and I get through some drives is to change the lyrics to amuse ourselves. Unfortunately, no child based network will ever offer us a recording contract based on our versions.

The Eldest will able to escape soon as he is off to his Dads for the holidays. He asked me to update his iPod (dammit Apple) with some different music, as he has just discovered Metallica (ahhh the old skool music). So I loving went through; found heaps of the music he wanted and uploaded them. 

With some Justine scattered through to mix it up a little. 

Why should I deprive my son the opportunity to listen to the soundtrack of all our driving for the past year? I mean, that is just cruel. What kind of mother would take away such joy from a young man's life?

Me! Bwa ha ha ha

| day nine | Motivation, where for art thou?

Previously, I have whinged on here about Daylight Savings and how it has thrown me completely out of balance. Now, I realise that I am three days behind in my Blogtoberfest blogging!!!

I have called in sick in regards to blogging for the past couple of days. Unfortunately, my certificate expired today so expect a shot of posts to catch up during the day ..... I hope.

9 October 2011

| day eight | Gnoming for Dummies

You know you have hit your mid thirties and have embedded yourself into a nice little "inching towards midlife" rut, when you start thinking about garden enhancements. In the shape of a little man with a pointy hat.

Yes, I am talking about garden gnomes.

Not completely satisfied with a veggie patch (Husband's domain), a strip of "England" in the shape of propagated cottage flowers, and sneaky daffodils popping off just to rattle the daffodil unimpressed landlord, I decided that there was something missing in our garden. This required immediate rectification.

It didn't really take much arm twisting to convince Husband that we needed to go to Bunnings, otherwise known in our household as ManWorld ™. The words were still hanging in the air and we were all in the car; pulling out the driveway.

Look out ManWorld ™,  I'm a gnome huntin'

There was some concerns from Husband about the type of gnome that I would be obtaining. He wasn't particularly keen on a mooning gnome, or one that flips the bird. I scoffed at his suggestion of sheer blatant bogan gnomery. With me being a Leo, I thought he would have known that I am a selective snob, which extends through to garden ornamentals (although, I do have a hankering for three Pink Plastic Flamingos to skewer into the front yard; but that is to merely rattle the landlord).

He needed not worry for I purchased for us the most elitist of gnomes. Our gnome is perfection personified in fibreglass resin. Behold! Our gnome:



Erik the Gallantry Garden Gent. He is a happy gnome and quietly guards our chilli bush with silent dignity. Erik is a rather jolly little gnome. It must be pointed out, however, that his name was born from another small, smiley garden lover: my Dad. I have not had the courage to inform Eric of his namesake as I am unsure if he will be pleased, bemused, or annoyed. The thing is about Eric/Dad is that he is not particularly tall in stature and so it is possible that he may think that we were are having a little dig. (note obvious garden pun)

"Hmmm. Who do we know who is short and likes hanging out in gardens?"

"Oh I got it -  Eric!"

"Great but we better change the spelling a little so he doesn't get suspicious. What about a Nordic spin on it? Erik with a K. That should get us off hook"

"Fantastic. He will never connect it"

But just to be sure, we haven't told although I am sure my Mum would get a giggle out of it.

8 October 2011

| day seven | Yawn

Daylight Savings - curses to thee!!!

It has nearly been a week
And I feel jetlagged.
Tea just isn't working its magic
My "zigged" has turned to a "zagged"

My brain is all befuddled
And I am walking in a fog
I was so completely fuzzy
That I forgot to post on this blog

I raise my fist to thee - Daylight Savings
And hope my mind returns from orbit soon.
Then it may stop me rhyming
Like a grammatical buffoon.


6 October 2011

| day six | With a bowk bowk here

Yesterday we added to our little family. We have finally introduced The Littles having some pets.

We are now Chicken Owners.

This is Flower, who was named by Imp. Flower likes food, posing for photographs and trying to sneak bread out of your hand when you are not looking.


The other one is Esme, or Mae. She is the quieter of the two and is not so keen on posing.


There was lots of excitement coming from The Littles. They have been "helping" Husband make the tractor for them and sat next to the tractor once we brought the chickens home. Squeak spent this afternoon walking around like one of the hens. It was very cute to watch.

5 October 2011

| day five | Captured

Artists at work

Artists at work 

cap·ture - To succeed in preserving in lasting form

4 October 2011

| day four | Learning to say "goodbye"

Today Imp said goodbye to a friend.

She had become quite close to a girl out the local playgroup. They had only played together a few times but there was an instant bond between. Maybe even more on Imp's side than the others. The little girl, with the most gorgeous name I have ever heard - Ashlin, is moving away with her Mummy and younger brother. They are about to start on a wonderful journey in another state. New, big things await them.

Imp regularly declares that A is her "bestest friend" and she was always the first person Imp looked for when we arrived at playgroup. Today was a farewell meet up at a local park and I knew today would be a difficult one for her. I was worried that she did not comprehend what it all really meant.

We had a bit of a rocky start. Imp was overexcited to see her and burst into tears when A declared she didn't want to play exclusively with her. I felt my heart break a little for her. We sat on the ground for a while as I held her and kissed her through her tears. However, soon they discovered each other again and there was a happy group of girls just running around the park, playing together.

Today ended up going really well. Imp took it all in her stride. They hugged each other. Posed for photos and then said goodbye. Imp really didn't want to leave as then it made it all official. A was going away and this was Imp's last time with her.

I was so proud of her. She handled it beautifully. I am now waiting to see if the reality of it all has sunk in to her and I am ready for lots of comforting hugs if she needs them.

3 October 2011

| day three | Pinterest

I have an addiction and its name is Pinterest.

What I find so enjoyable about Pinterest is the ease of it. Just hit "pin it" and you are done. Plus it has given me the title of Curator; I so do like that title. Makes me sound like I am an owner of an art gallery. Where the well dressed come to look at work I have carefully selected while they sip their glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and nibble on gourmet organic cheese.

Well, almost. If you replace the words "Sauvignon Blanc" and "organic cheese" with a packet of Tim Tams* and a cup of tea then you might be closer to reality. Also, there is no need to dress up. One can loll around in their trackies** and fluffy blue slippers as they soak up the personalised culture of another pinner.

I am ready for some aesthetic inspiration!

I have discovered some amazing ideas on Pinterest. For example, who knew that if you press the button for the floor that you want to go to, and the door close button at the same time, and hold them down for five seconds;  that you could achieve an express flight to your chosen floor. Elevator hacking! Thanks Pinterest!

I love this electronic pin board. Finally I can almost pigeon hole my taste. It sets challenges to actually attempt and complete the craft project ideas that you pin with such enthusiasm and promise. So far, we have only completed one but that in itself is a major accomplishment for me.


Our family tree with little fingerprint leaves (it has been mounted and framed since).  A gift that was well received by Husband. Now the next challenge, to find somewhere to hang it.

Translation for non Aussie readers (therein itself lies the assumption that people actually read this blog - you gotta love optimism!)

*Tim Tams - they are evil wrapped in chocolate. I believe that you have not lived unless you have eaten a Tim Tam. If you then want to reach a new level of awesome (or ewwww, depending on your temperment) then I would strongly suggest biting the corners off your Tim Tam and then use it as a straw to drink your coffee through.  There! I have done it; a challenge. 
**trackies - the most comfiest things known to humanity. The downside of such comfort is the usual lack of fashion/appeasing to the eye/you should not really wear these out of the house trade off which comes with such level of comfort. They are similar to sweats but really quite daggy. It is up there in the fashion stakes with a Snuggy. 


2 October 2011

| day two | Happiness in the smallest of items.

Yes, it is another op shopping post. Bear with me and enjoy:

A skipping rope for the grand total of 20 cents. Now a highly fought over item in the toy box.

1 October 2011

Blogtoberfest - Unleash the posts within!!!

Another blog that I intensively research, Memo to Self , has recently posted that she will taking part in Blogtoberfest.

Hmmmm. Interesting. So it's not like the Germanic drinking frenzy ... then what is it?

Over to {tinniegirl} to see what this is all about. And I find out some interesting things:

1) Her header on her blog is amazing!!
2) She is an Aussie blogger like myself
3) Blogtoberfest is a month long of daily blogging, originally started by {tinniegirl} a few years ago
4) Lots of people get involved

Well that is enough motivation for me! I just hope that I don't drop out halfway through. So I need lots of inspiration and encouragement. Feel free to post comments so I know that I am not talking to myself here and therefore keep ranting!

Tinniegirl Blogtoberfest 2011