Sunday, October 5


Today I managed to get my stuff together and arrange for everyone to be somewhere so I could go out. As a sidebar, I have to say I find it really frustrating that if I want to do anything, it is my responsibility to ensure everyone else is sorted. Even if I am going out for dinner with the girls, I have to feed everyone before I go. I digress.

Today I attended the first of 5 motivational sessions and it was actually really good. It wasn't the stand up rah-rah of Stephen Covey but it was structured in a way that made me think. What am I good at and what am I not good at. Initial motivation probably isn't really my problem. I am the ultimate "Ideas Man". What I am not, very clearly, is 'Action Man'. Pun intended.

The course is structured into blocks so as to deal with different segments as we go. It was great to have the opportunity and push to look introspectively at myself. What is my motivation and what drives me. What I did find that the person that I am nastiest to, the one who really gets all my mistreatment is myself. Things I would never do to a boss, in a workplace, I don't think twice about doing to myself.

Heres a classic example. Since Mum died I have cared less about mundane jobs - like the bills. They come in and I can identify them from the envelope. I know they are bills, I simply choose not to open them and pop them in a drawer. They all go in the same drawer. Then they start to change colour and come more regularly. Some of them that is, and they still go in the drawer. I assume with some of them they are beginning to threaten disconnection of the service. Thats what the phone, electricity and gas do. Its not that I don't have the money to pay, its really that I can't be bothered and don't want to deal with it. Ridiculous now that I write it down.

The radio went off the other day as the alarm for the big squirrel at 5:30am. You can imagine I was not at all impressed. I would usually roll over and go back to sleep, but this particular morning was an add about paying your car registration by month and not forgetting to pay it. I was not rolling over this morning as it reminded me that the car rego had not been paid. They do not send reminders just police cars that find you on the road and fine you double on the spot (sadly this I know from experience). Not only that but an unregistered car on the road does not have TAC coverage and is a big problem. It was this problem that moved me to action to pay that particular bill. The consequences seem to have to be insurmountable for me to take action.

It is for this reason that my homework will be addressing this area of my life. This roadblock that I use as an excuse to not do the things that I want to do because this is not done. I need to get control back, one baby step at a time.

Friday, October 3


 My eldest has returned triumphantly, albeit very tired and smelly, from Cuboree. Our family dynamic has been a bit off as he has been away from a whole week, so we are all pleased to have him back home.  I think just as pleased as he is to be here - and the thought of sleeping in his own bed!

Cuboree 8 was run by Scouts Victoria in Gembrook this year. It is a bi-annual event and this year was the biggest on record. 3000 kids aged 7-10 along with 1500 volunteers were camping for the week and along with feeding, watering and generally keeping them safe, they also had a myriad of activities to keep all these kids busy during the day. There were no electronics allowed - at all!

 They set up a Facebook page to keep us in touch with what was going on and this was filled with group photos like the one above. I scoured these searching in vain for my bespectacled boy. Yet, we get home and I learn he is wearing a fluorescent yellow hat - good to know. When we looked at the pictures from the closing ceremony, the ones I hadn't seen, here is he easily visible in about 10 shots! Typical.

It was so well run - such precision. From letting us know when the busses were arriving to managing to feed that many kids. Most of the adults were volunteers so a massive thank you for all of their hard work and helping Xandy have such an awesome week.

Thursday, October 2


I like giving presents. I like thinking about them and shopping around and really don't like taking hte easy option and getting a voucher. One of my jobs was to do the thank you present for the team manager for rep basketball.  She is a friend of mine so it was easier for me to do and she was on holidays so there was no real rush- until now. Now she's back and collecting some stuff, so I had to have it ready.

I ended up with lululemon sports pants and a cap. She is a golfer and also goes to the gym so both I thought would be useful. She likes pink, cropped length coming into summer - done.

She was happy to get them, and I was happy to have the job done. However I didn't realise how happy she was until I saw her tonight at a girls night in trivia. Apparently no one has ever given her pants before and not only did I get the size right (this is hard enough to get right for yourself in their store) but the style and fit are something she hadn't tried before but were awesome. Now I have to puff my chest out and strut around for a while because I'm so proud of myself.

Then on top of this, my table goes on to win the trivia night for the second year in a row. Two wins in one night! It is the trivia night I look forward too because its not intellectual questions, it is trivial trivia - the stuff I am really good at. Makes me feel like I am not wasting my time watching the Bachelor (which I missed the finale to be at the trivia night) but I am actually researching!!

Wednesday, October 1

Minecraft club

 While the cats away..... or more specifically with Alexander at the Cuboree it was the perfect opportunity for the boys to have a sleepover - or as they said an overnight meeting of the minecraft club. Two members joined us from about midday and had a lovely time. They did a bit of mine crafting and played outside (all are basketballers). Above they are making their club tshirts which my boys were determined to make me do. This time I had to buy some shirts, but they all did the rest by themselves and they came out great.

 The boys are obsessed with making potions, so I incorporated this into a drink of milk, with flavours and also food colouring which they loved doing in little plastic milk bottles.
The night finished with a movie (Lego Movie) in their sleeping bags. 
We'd moved matresses into the living room so they could all sleep together. All the boys except one were fabulous, but its inevidible that your own kids are the one that you'd have trouble with. Spence was so excited and trying to make everyone happy - that is with the exception of me, who was far from happy with him. I let it go, but then he'd worked himself up so much that he was having nightmares during the night. Ugh. Not only having to deal with him, but concious not to wake the other boys. Mission accomplished, but lack of sleep when they rise at 5:50am does not make me a highly functioning individual!!

Tuesday, September 30

Reverse sexism?

I am having a bit of an issue at the moment, grappling with the idea of feminism and equality. I know big thoughts.

I watched Emma Watson's speech to the UN and agreed with everything she said. Feminism isn't anti-men and I would probably label myself a feminist. I agree that women should have every opportunity to be equal with me. However I believe that there are some differences and we should also acknowledge those differences, and preserve them too. I worry that we are heading someway into an Animal Farm society, in a way where women want to be more equal than men. 

As background, my little world, well away from the UN. I am a woman. I went to a local primary school, followed by a girls school for secondary school. I also had the privilege of going to university (for which I paid). I started work as soon as I was legally allowed 14 and 9 months, and worked part time through year 10, 11 & 12. I had a number of concurrent jobs during uni and started working full time at 20. I am married and have three boys. I have not worked full time (by choice) since my first son was born and I currently choose not to work. 

I am lucky to have choices and I am happy with the choices I have made. I have no desire to be the Prime Minister. I have enough trouble running the house, let alone a country. But this is my choice and I am not putting down anyone else's choice. 

Alexander is at the Cuboree camp this week. There are over 4000 people there and I am watching their Facebook pages for updates. They are also on the news. My issue is that all the kids reporting and their photos are girls. His basketball team this year was also mixed. I'm not saying that it was bad, in fact the mixed basketball was really nice, a cohesive and balanced team but for Alexander and the girls, it was not their only team. 

Here's the thing, in a nutshell. There doesn't seem to be anything that is for boys only. I know that sounds exclusive but sometimes to have single sex is a good thing. In basketball for example there are girls teams, which the boys aren't allowed to join, and then there are the boys teams, which the girls are allowed to join. Again in Cubs, girls are allowed, and encouraged to join, but the boys are not offered the same in Girl Guides and Brownies. Football too, girls are allowed in the boys teams, but boys not on the girls teams. I cannot see the equity here. For all of the girls who don't fit the classic stereotype and feel a need to be doing what the boys are doing, are there not an equal number of boys who deserve the same opportunity?

I am sure that much of my confusion about this comes from my experience at a girls school. I had a great experience - loved it. As a child, I was a tomboy. I was always outside with dad - building, playing, climbing etc while my brother was inside being creative. Possibly at an early age both of us were outside these classic gender stereotypes and as adults this has certainly changed. I was physically bigger than the girls and most boys at a young age, and that changes how people, adults, treat you as a kid. Expectations of you being old, physically treated differently because you are bigger. All of those things go in to forming your personality. Then I went from an outer suburban primary school, to a prestigious private girls school and had to learn their ways. Yet, what I found at the girls school was all the competition was removed. 

With no boys to impress, or compete against, there was a sense of freedom. We were free to be. It was very firmly impressed upon us that there was absolutely nothing we couldn't do. This was an academic school and there was a certain expectation to achieve - to be a Doctor or a Lawyer. There was never any discussion that your gender could possibly get in the way. This message, whether it was explicit or implicit really sunk in for me. I have never looked at anything as out of reach because I am a woman, but on the flip side, I have have never expected things because of it either. 

I know that women here have freedoms not available to women throughout the world. We are not enslaved, persecuted or humiliated because of our gender. What I don't understand is why, with all the freedoms that we do have, are our boys not allowed to have anything that is just for boys?

Monday, September 29


 With his bags all packed, and it feels like 2 million things named, my baby boy is off on cub camp for the next week. He is fairly nervous as he only knows one other kid going, but I know that he'll be fine and come home with a heap of new mates.
 He directed me to the drop off point using the Book of Everywhere that mum had created. It was nice to not only get out the hard copy, but touch something from mum again, especially today. She would have been so proud of him going off and doing this. Giving him the opportunity to be a leader. Great learning opportunity for him.
The twins will also miss him - mich as they're excited that he's going, a week is a long time when you're 7. Have a great trip my boy.

Sunday, September 28


 We spent a wonderful weekend away at Shoreham. One of the school dads arranged the whole thing. I would say there were about 30 of us for the weekend in a school camp set up. The accomodation was basic and cheap, but the company more than made up for any lack in facilities.

With about 20 kids of similar ages, I dont think we saw them except for this visit to Merricks Beach on the way home. They were off running from sun up til we scraped them into bed. It was truly magical. So many kids, no fights, no injuries(!) and really no worries.

As adults we shared a lovely meal on saturday night after we'd sat on the deck in the sunshine watching the grand final. It was just great. Sunday was  obviously clean up day but again no fights or issues - everyone just pitched in and got it done. Fabulous
With the local we were calling in on sick, and my three well and truly OVER themselves, we had a quiet visit to the beach which was refreshing. The boys got to wear their wetsuits for the first time and had a bit of downtime, rather than being part of the gang.
After a swim and a play we headed home with a good sleep in our own beds at the front of everyones mind. 

Friday, September 26

Pinterest Win!

I saw this idea on pinterest which linked here  but I had only seen the image and thought it was exactly what we needed for our upcoming weekend away. This weekend we'll be staying in essentially school camp facilities, which means boys and girls toilets. Thats fine by me, but means the boys will have to shower in the mens and I really shouldn't be in there. 

On a whole the boys are fairly self sufficient and reliable to be able to wash themselves but they have been known to leave things behind - and I thought this could be the solution. A hanging toilet bag. 
Not only does this reduce the size of toilet bags, but it wouldn't be full of water, no soft soap which is disintergrating in the box - that is if they remember to put it back in there. 

This way I can hang body wash, shampoo and even toothpaste and toothbrush. It could hang round their neck, not have to go on the floor and in a hope, not be left behind. Awesome.

I set out with the boys to find bottles. This in itself would be a harder job than I expected. I went to every department store, chemist and supermarket. It seems that the only small bottles which are made for sale do not have the hole in the end. I went to a variety of camping shops too but nothing. I have had sunscreen on loop so I know they exist. The shopping then changed from little empty bottles to little bottles of the right format with stuff in it that I could throw out. Even this was incredibly difficult. THe only thing I'd found was a $7 bottle of sunscreen which I thought was a little much to throw out. 

I finally got lucky at the Reject Shop where I found 2 hand sanitisers fro $1. Fifty cents per bottle is certainly worth it. I decanted the sanitser into another container so it can be used, and washed out the bottles and removed the labels. 

For the boys I made lanyards with body wash and shampoo. I made an addititonal lanyard with the toothbrushes and filled one with toothpaste. Alexander is off on cuboree next week, so for him I'll reconfigure one to have sunscreen, toothbrush and also a hanging towel so it should all be easy. 

I have heaps of old lanyards lying around so just clipped it to one of them. Even though the contents are different colours, I labelled them clearly with a sharpie just to be sure no one puts toothpaste on their hair by accident!


Thursday, September 25

Sleepin Ova

These smiling faces are of two little boys who seem to be growing up very quickly. They are off on their first sleepover at a friends house - not family. It is all about them and they are LOVING it.
The were so excited, and packed their own bags (and I let them) all ready to go and spend the night and from all reports it was a success. They all got sleep and were on a whole well behaved. No doubt this is the first of many ....

Wednesday, September 24

Show Day

Dad and I took our boys to the Royal Show. A big day. The boys were excited because they had $50 each (thanks Dad) to spend, or waste as Spencer said, on showbags of their choice. We were nervous as there are big crowds, we were on trains, and it was something that Mum and Dad used to do together. 
The last time we went was 2 years ago, and Mum wasn't flash back then which is why I went along. This time she wasn't there at all, but we weren't going to let that get in our way of having a good day and making some memories. 

 We went round everywhere, bumping into friends, trying foods, seeing animals judged (to be future food - ugh) and watched the dressage. The boys love the woodchopping so we always stop in there. We missed the motorbikes and dogs, however we did see some rounding up sheep which is always great. They followed me begrudingly through the CWA and craft areas, looking at the cakes and different crafts and finally into the baby animal pavillion.

 Here was a threat that they were going to have fun or else there were no show bags to be had. Looks like they did a good job eh? Then we were off t the showbag hall to buy bags of overpriced plastic tat that will be broken by tomorrow, but that is all part of the magic.

Sunday, September 21

Organic Creations

I was on the computer today, doing jobs and Benji decided he needed to make a t-shirt with Garfield on it. I would usually be all enthusiastic and help but I was already entertained, so I told him to draw it on a piece of paper.

Diligently he did as I'd asked, setting up his toy Garfield so as to draw from life. Once done he went over it in black texta. The other two also joined in so I have three boys lying at my feet drawing while I am consumed by my mac.

Once the initial drawing was complete, it was off to my stash for supplies. Funnily enough I had white tshirts for all the boys, as well as sharpies and fabric paint. I gave them each a tshirt and told them to put their sketch inside and trace it out with the sharpie.

 Then I set the fabric paints up on the table with some paint brushes and they had to simply colour it in. I had a variety of different ones, and as it turns out, some puffy paint as well. Left to dry in the sun and then ironed (and the puff came out in Spencer's to give the basketball an extra diamention - much to his delight. )

The boys were all thrilled with the results and couldn't wait to wear them, so proud that they'd really done them all by themselves.

Now the only issue is how to get them off these kids!

Saturday, September 20

Paying it forward

So many people looked after us during and after mums illness. Upon arriving home we were often surprised with the gift of a meal being left for us. Some also cooked for mum and dad, meals that they could eat. It is during a crisis that you really are surprised by the kindness of others.

Now that we have got through that immediate period of stress I wanted to do something for those who had done so much for us. I talked about it with Dad and he was happy with my decision. Personalised casserole dishes. This way they could be used to share with others who needed nourishment, but also helpful to be able to return the containers - something that becomes very difficult over a period of time!

I bought the glass dishes with the matching lids as these would be the best for travelling with food. 
I cut the surname out in vinyl with the silhouette cutter. For all of these I used century gothic font as I like the shape of the a. Pedantic I know.

I removed the background to use as my stencil on the glass dish. The insides I used to label the lid. Both names line up and are set to the right.

 With the stencil I used a glass frosting paint from Pebeo.
 I painted a thin coat of the frosting medium onto the stencil and let it dry for 24 hours as per the instructions.
 HOWEVER, when I peeled off the vinyl stencil, the frosting also peeled off. GRRRR. At least I could simply wash the frosting off and start again. I did need to re-cut those names though.
 So, starting again I used the vinyl as the stencil but this time
 I used a sharpie paint pen to colour in the name. This one is silver but when it is drawn on it looks like frosting.

 All coloured in I let it dry completely before removing the vinyl. Sometimes there are overruns from the stencil and I removed these with nail polish on a cotton bud.
Once I was satisfied with the look I baked the bases in the oven for at least 30 minutes at 150 degrees.
Now I just need to deliver them with a little note. 

Friday, September 19


Mr P and I headed out to Leflers, the leather wholesaler in Melbourne today. I wanted to make some bags and he wanted to make a watchband and repair a bag.

There is just so much to choose from its incredible and overwhelming. Its kind of set out like Bunnings, but nothing has a price on it. That means you have to commit before you purchase. I found some hardware that I wanted - D rings and the like which I was pretty sure was reasonable. Towards the end I found the remnant bin. This way I knew that each square foot was $3.50 and each piece had a sticker on it for its size. Then I knew what I was up for. 

I hit the register and my pile was up to $115 which was when I found the smaller scraps - these were $5 per kilo. Oh oh ohhhhhh! 2 kilos later, plus another big piece, I walked out of there with a box full of things and head full of ideas.

Falcons Presentation Night

The Falcons held their presentation night tonight and it was a mighty production! There was lighting, stage and the kids were loving the disco environment. I had spent the day running around arranging the present for the coach - we didn't have a lot of money so we settled on alcohol- bicardi being his drink of choice. The big squirrel fashioned up a quick box out of fence palings he found on his way home and it came up pretty good. 

 It'll actually be a little sad that this team gets split up to different age groups as they really did form a lovely bond.

Thursday, September 18


All three boys were presenting their learning at school today. I was up their early in the day to see Alexander and the other grade 5's performing their skits and shows.

I was back up in the afternoon for the twins presentation - or flat stanley expo. They all had to sit behind their country poster and answer parent questions. What was lovely was to see how much work had been done by the kids. Benji did Russia and Spence chose Spain. I had printed out pictures for them but none seem to appear on their posters so I don't know where they came from! They were all so proud to be able to show off what they'd learnt and I was pleased that I could be there. Poppy also called in for a visit and was proud to come to the expo too.

The day was capped off by an impromptu dinner with some school mates at a local japanese restaurant. Exactly what I needed.

Wednesday, September 17


This lovely package arrived in the mail today from LeAnimale. It is a bear which is my birth token.

Birth Totem for August 22 - September 21
Personality traits: Productive, practical, introspective, humble

I loved the look of it when I saw it on Etsy and knew I needed to have it. I have had trouble being productive, and it will serve as inspiration. 

The boys all had playdates today, and they were all lovely. It is what I needed and what they all needed. I farmed out two and one was here with a mate and it was just lovely to sit back and watch them play. So innocent, involved and natural. 

Tuesday, September 16

A bit of shopping

Im responsible for the costumes for the school dance concert and thankfully there aren't too many to make this year, but I thought I'd pop over to my favourite spot to see it there was any suitable fabric. I was off to Glen Huntly Road. Darn Cheap fabrics was the first stop and I picked up some basic drill and some fabric for a birthday gift. Either side are two little shops that can't go past without a visit. Shu Mart has a range of school shoes all year round, as well as some little bargains now and then. I picked up both of these pairs for $10 each. I love a wedge and with summer coming these will be great. 

Studio Fashion is on the other side and this is where almost all of my jumpers come from. This one was full price at $45 (!) but I love the contrast. The front and sleeves are cotton knit and the back has an inverted pleat in the double georgette. Great dressy casual.