A-Z of Gratitdue: B is for Bargains

I posted C is for Chairs and realised that B is for Bargains was still in my drafts. Oops!

Day two of my A-Z of Gratitude.

B is for BARGAINS. I am grateful for bargains.

I went to the op shops again today looking for the final vintage dress to cover our last dining chair.  I didn’t find the perfect dress but I did find a gorgeous vintage top for myself for just $5. I am always rapt when I find a good bargain.

It’s about 16 months since I started my “No Buy It Diet”.  I decided to have one year off buying new clothes.  I made the rules, and decided I was allowed to buy things from the thrift shop, but after a few months I realised that made it too easy.   I changed the rules meaning no clothes were to be purchased, new or second-hand. It was such great exercise, and one that fascinated many of my friends. Women have this reputation of being chronic shoppers. I am amazed at how many clothes I have that I never wear, and have come to realise how utterly ridiculous it is that we have so many clothes.  Imagine trying to explain our fashion obsession to a family living in abject poverty who have one set of clothes for everything.    I have been officially allowed to buy new clothes since December, but have only purchased one new top from an eco store and a few things from the op shops.  I have no desire to window shop anymore. I don’t go into clothing stores to try things on. Clothes shopping is something  that just doesn’t appeal to me anymore.  I still like to wear nice clothes, and I have no trouble finding fantastic quality items at the op shops. It is much more of an adventure to go to a charity store and rummage through racks of random clothes than going to a shop filled with what the masses are wearing!

Anyway, back to today’s bargains…

I bought two lace doilies…

To attempt something like this…

 

 

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A-Z Gratitude: C is for Chairs

I am thankful for chairs.  Think of the times you have had to stand somewhere longing for a chair, with none to be found.  These are the times we realise how wonderful chairs are!  I bet you have been to a wedding or a funeral or a school event that meant you were standing for long enough to start to shift your weight from one leg to another.  You look at the old people and start to wish you were 80 years old and someone would offer you a seat.  Chairs are a wonderful invention.  They enable us to relax. We have many meaningful conversations while sitting on a chair.  We drink coffee in our favourite café, on a chair.They are everywhere, yet we take them for granted.  Not I!  I applaud the humble chair, and as I sit here on my favourite chair in our house, I am grateful.  Grateful for the four legs and the bright yellow cushion that supports my weight (that is none of your business).

I am so excited about chairs today because last night I completed my dining chair makeover.  Using the vintage fabrics I found at op shops – a curtain, a few skirts and dresses and a shirt (this chair has pockets!).

Here they are:

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Now go and make yourself a pot of tea, find a comfy chair and appreciate it. 🙂

After school narrative

Stop.

Mummy, Isaac is ….

No I’m not!

Mummy, Isaac pulled this face at me (insert rubber face boy here)

Give that back!!!

Stop it!! Stop it!! Stooooop it!!

He took my car.  (well, go and get another one from the box of 400 cars)

I didn’t take his car!

Yes he did!!!!

Stop copying me!

Give that back!

Don’t smash it! Don’t!

And that was just the summary of about 2 minutes.  I know you hear my pain.

Thank you for listening.

Fence memo boards

I made the boys a memo board each for art work and photos for their bedrooms yesterday.  We have a stack of old fence palings so I gave them a quick sand and painted some wooden pegs to glue on them.  A super quick and easy project which means that the lads can display their creativity in their own space.

 

Attitude of Gratitude

I have lots to be thankful for, so for the next few weeks I will be putting up my A-Z of gratitude.  I feel inspired to be intentional about having an attitude of gratitude. I would love it if you posted comments and joined with me in this little exercise.

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A is for Asher.

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We look at our number two lad sometimes and shake our heads in wonder – where did he come from?! We laugh about the many faces of Asher – think Jim Carey and you will come close to imagining the things this child can do with his face.  He makes us laugh hysterically most days.  He is full of affection and often we will hear “I love you to the milky way and back 100 times” as he wraps his arms around us.  Asher is motivated by fun.  He loves to entertain with stunt shows and magic shows.  He is a collector of random, weird things, which I secretly steal away and put in the bin every few weeks.  This is to prevent his room from appearing on that horrid show, “Hoarders”.  No, I don’t feel bad about this, and no, it won’t have an adverse affect on his adult life that I took things away without him knowing.

How quaint that his name rhymes with some of the words that best describe him – Flasher, Dasher and Stasher.

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So very thankful that he is ours. He is simply delightful.

Happy birthday to me

I can no longer deny I am in my mid-thirties, after turning 35 yesterday.  What a joyous occasion it was when I realised at the end of the day that my sons are finally at an age where they can appreciate that it is not about THEM on MY birthday! Hip hip hooray! They didn’t fight me to open my gifts, and they didn’t scream with horror and disappointment when my gift was gorgeous bangles rather than Lego.

The cards the lads made were fun, and deserve a mention here.  Asher (4) did a drawing of mummy in a bra on the front of the card, or in his words, “boo-boo holders”.  Bear in mind, this is the child who cut out Jennifer Aniston’s legs for a kinder collage project.

Sitting in my favourite café, Ginger Brown, for 3 hours was a great way to spend the morning of my 35th.  First, brunch with my lads, but I kicked them out before a few girlfriends arrived for some coffee and cake. No one can do three hours in a café with kids, especially someone coming to terms with the downhill slide to 40.

This was my birthday sunset view from the front of our house – what a gift!

After the lads went to bed, I put  a Stan Getz cd on, lit some candles, popped the birthday champagne and ate more easter chocolate.  Happy, relaxed, low-key, simple birthday to me.

Redressed dresser

I know I started this blog a few weeks ago by saying I am not one of those amazing crafty mummas.  It is true.  But for some reason over the past week or so I have had loads of ideas for ways to give things around our home a facelift by reusing things other people have thrown away.

On our way back from our camping trip at the start of this week we called into a tip shop.  We purchased this dresser for Asher’s room for $10.

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I sanded it back yesterday and decided I would use some chalk paint we have for the drawers so Ash and Isaac can be creative.

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Matt went and purchased a $9 sample pot of paint which brought the total cost for the dresser to $19.Image

I painted one side with chalkboard paint also – extra room for drawings or lots of messages like “Boys only” or “Poo”.  Can’t imagine there will be pretty flowers and sunshine drawn on the chalk surfaces…Image

I stenciled a few stars on using a cookie cutter.  The project took me around 5 hours total.  I must admit, I keep looking at it marveling that I did something that looks so funky!! Give me an electric sander and a paint roller over a sewing machine anyday!!Image

Pre-Google Parenting

Do you ever wonder what it would have been like to parent before the internet took over the world?

My parents had no computer or mobile phone.  Heck, we didn’t even have a cordless phone!  I remember when we got our first VHS player, and how exciting it was to hire “Annie”.

When Mum wanted a new idea for dinner, she pulled out recipe books, not mealopedia.com. Actually, come to think of it, Mum never really had new ideas for dinner… I could probably do one blog about the menu from my entire childhood.

When my brothers and I had homework, we consulted our Encyclopedia Britannica, not Wikipedia.

If we were unwell, Mum took us to the doctor surgery, not Dr Google. This usually meant the diagnosis was accurate, not catastrophic.

Mum made phone calls or had cups of coffee around the kitchen table with her friends rather than SMS.

Oh, and her friends were real.  I can attest to that as I actually saw them in the flesh with my own eyes on many occasions.  She did not have 1,000 Facebook friends, she had about 10 face to face friends. The thought of having 1,000 friends would have made her choke.  Who has time for that many friends?!

If we wanted some cheap funny entertainment we watched an old movie or a cartoon, not YouTube.  For some reason, I don’t think Mum would have appreciated us laughing at some kid smashing appliances or jumping off tall buildings.

If Mum wanted to buy a present for our birthdays she had to walk into shops and look for the best deal.  I bet she spent less money than I do when I go to Amazon with the intention to SAVE money!

I am a bit freaked out by statistics like this:

There are more people on Facebook than on the planet 200 years ago.

2.6 million minutes spent on Facebook everyday.

There is no doubt about it, the internet is a wonderful tool for parenting.   There are endless ideas for things to do with the children on a rainy day and I get inspired via blogs from people around the world.   Information we would otherwise not have access to is at our fingertips.  But there’s a cost if we are not wise: distraction; jumbled priorities;  procrastination; information overload; poor communication between friends. Seriously, 2.6 million minutes a day on the old FB? What is that all about? These are the traps I want to avoid – time wasting, watching others lives from a distance without real substance in relationship.

I try to do most of my blogging first thing in the morning or after the kids have gone to bed, but that isn’t the case every single time. I get caught up looking at my favourite websites, I research the idea of the day and I lose track of precious time.  In fact I start to feel agitated after looking at the screen for too long.

I think the www is superb, but I don’t want to sell out my real life, the life with people who I can see, hear and touch, to find the best bargain, the most inspiring blog or the most creative idea on Pinterest.

We are introducing “screen free days” to our home.  Not sure how this will work, but the idea is that we have no TV, no computers and no iPhone games. These will be our most creative days, I am sure.

Rant over.

The Big Rollin’ Eski

We went away for a night in the “Big Rollin’ Eski” last night – that’s the name we have given our old school camper trailer.  A 1975 Chesney pop top:

We stayed in a lovely town called Snug only 45 minutes from home, right by the beach.  It was a beautiful beach despite the weather being bitterly cold.  Of course the lads were not deterred by the weather. We went to the beach four times and only once made it back to the van without the rain pouring on us.  We had purchased an umbrella on the way, but this broke within a few hours.

Fast forward to bed time… Has there ever been a child that has fallen asleep with ease whilst on holiday? How many parents have uttered these words – “That’s it! We are never taking you kids on holiday ever again!!! GET TO SLEEP!!! STOP KICKING EACH OTHER!!  LEAVE YOUR BROTHER ALONE!!!!”

Once they were asleep and the heat of my frustration had left me, I knew the Big Rollin’ Eski was living up to its name – I was trying to sleep in an ice box!!  I was NOT ‘snug as a bug’ in Snug.  When I finally drifted off I woke up to Matt calling me to get Asher who had fallen out of his bed onto the floor (Matt was trapped behind me in our confined sleeping space). This was at a drop of over one metre for Ash, resulting in screams of “Mummy!! Mummy!”   I missed all of that.  I jumped out of bed, still in my sleeping bag feeling around in the dark to pick him up and then slipped in my bag on my butt whilst holding him.  Poor child, rescued by his mother, only to be dropped again.  I handed him up to Matt.  By this stage I realised I needed to pee badly.  I was still mostly asleep, so there was no way I was going out in the wet, freezing weather. I found a bowl and made good use of it. Matt was disturbed and Ash was still crying, so I started searching for him in the dark, stroking his head saying “It’s ok Ash.”  Matt responded by saying, That’s my head”, pushing my hand away.  I think I finally started stroking Asher after the fourth attempt, only because Matt actually placed my hand on the correct head.   Ash stayed in my bed, and I had to get the child back into his sleeping bag every hour or so for the rest of the night. Anyone else hate that sleeping bag material noise?! Grr.  It was seriously freezing and seriously tired.  In the morning when we were packing up we found a leak and a hole – on my side of the camper.  Meanwhile, Matt had Isaac on the other side saying he was hot.  I wish.

Gotta love small spaces with small children, combined with icy weather. This is my theory – holidays with kids are like giving birth. While you are in the moment you vow you will never do it again. Then in the morning, all you can remember is how much fun it’s been so far, and start planning the next one.

Frugal furniture facelift

We foolishly purchased an ivory dining setting before we had children, having no idea how ridiculously messy tiny people could be.  Now we know.  I mean, why use a napkin when you can just wipe your hands all over  the seat?

I have wanted to buy a new setting for a long while now, but decided to put it off until the kids are at an age where they won’t utterly destroy it. I am starting to realise that age never comes for boys.

I pulled a chair apart a few days ago and figured it couldn’t be too hard to reinvent the look. I have never attempted upholstery in my life, in fact I don’t know if I have even said the word out aloud until this week. A staple gun, a screwdriver, some scissors and wine and I’d be set. I went to the op shop to look for vintage dresses or drapes to give the chairs a new look without spending big bucks on new fabric.

This is what I found at the Op Shop.

From this

To this…

Three down, three to go!  Not perfect, but I had loads of fun – no sewing, knitting, crocheting or any of that hard stuff required!!!  Thanks to Matt for the muscles when needed xx