These are a few of our favourite things…

It’s been raining a lot, so it’s been a slower than usual day. I’m not one to scoff at a hibernation day, so we enjoyed some of our favourite simple activities.

Bilibos are a wonderful toy, limited only by our imaginations. We take ours to the snow, the beach and the pool. We play with cars in them, play catch with them or balance on them. We wear them as hats, roll things under them or play marbles in them. But our favourite thing to do is sit inside and SPIN!!

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Rory’s Story Cubes provide endless fun. Roll and spin your story! I also utilise these in my toolkit for working with young people. They are a great conversation starter, and could be a great counselling tool.
I’m going to use them as art prompts for the lads sometime soon. I think that’d be grand,

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Imaginets could quite possibly be the funkiest magnetic set around. Complete with pattern cards and whiteboard surfaces, the possibilities are endless.

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Under the carport we enjoyed a game of hopscotch. I loved this as a young girl.

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I was reminded today of an older post you can find here as we enjoyed our simple, slow and creative play. It’s a good skill for our children to know how to rest, slow down and play games that are tactile, not electronic! Creativity really can thrive when the busy noise subsides.

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I will leave you with this Leunig cartoon. Let us ever be drawn to the real things.
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Cloud Gazing

The sun was shining, as I took to the deck with my book. I only read a few pages before I was distracted by the clouds above. I saw a dinosaur, a crazy bird face and a goat. I was reminded of how often I used to cloud gaze as a little girl, and how infrequently I do this as an adult. Generally when I do, it’s with the lads. But today it was just me, a hammock and the sky.

Isaac wandered out later and asked me what I was doing. Then he pointed out an Ankylosaurus and a Stegosaurs, instantly.

Just a few moments of cloud gazing was food for the soul.

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Scrabble Tile Files #2

As arranged by Isaac, our virtue for this week is HELPFULNESS.

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The point of this virtues “game” for our family is not about simply teaching the lads how to become more considerate or helpful. It’s about Matt and I recognising that we model these traits and we can always find room for growth in our own lives. Be the change and all that! (See my first post explaining our Scrabble Tile challenge here)

We want to grow and change, and a beautiful consequence may well be that our lads become more aware of such virtues in their own lives.

So my focus this week is to find opportunities to be helpful in the home and the community. Opportunities will be endless: tidy a shelf that is messy when we visit the library, help someone with their groceries, pick up litter I see at the park or clean up my cafe table before I leave. Through my own mindfulness, my children will become more aware of the countless opportunities to be helpful in everyday life.

I also want to verbalise as I see acts of helpfulness in our family. I want to encourage and cheer the family on as we pursue ways in which we can make life a bit easier for others, whether we know them or not.

Have a very helpful week 🙂

Australia Day Long Weekend

Fires ravaged parts of our beautiful state three weeks ago. Yesterday we returned to our favourite fish and chip market for lunch, in the devastated town of Dunalley. The townsfolk are nothing short of inspiring as they face incredible adversity with huge Aussie grins and true mate ship.

The lads barely spoke a word as we took the same road to Dunalley that we took three weeks ago, the day before the fires. It was an experience they will never forget, as they saw firsthand how much work is yet to be done before these people will once again have their own roof over their heads.

The rest of the pictures tell the story of a relaxing weekend in the sun, celebrating some of the simple things we love in our beautiful country – cricket, barbecues, beaches, bikes, fun and friends.

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Oh my darling, lemon time!

Cupcakes are fun, don’t you think? I decided I wanted to bake today. I had a bowl of lemons from my Dad’s tree, so the winner is…..
lemon cupcakes!

I wish I could tell you that I pulled out the family recipe book that has been handed down through the generations, but there is no such thing. (I could blog about the flavours of my childhood, but that may traumatise you.) I did the next best thing and grabbed the iPad, googled “lemon cupcakes” and clicked on this:
Lemon Cupcakes

I’m gluten free, so I just substitute the flour with GF.

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We sat down with my late Grandmother’s tea set and munched our yummy treat. I made a pot of Earl Grey and forced Matt to sip it out of a tea cup he could barely hold onto. He’s not that into drinking from quaint tea cups, so that was fun to watch. I’m a big believer in making an event of the simple things, like a cup of tea.

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With the leftover lemons I made a batch of old fashioned lemonade. I used 4 lemons, 5 cups water and 1/2 cup of sugar and stirred. We added a few apple mint leaves from the garden, and enjoyed sipping in the sunshine.

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Now to clean up my creative mess…

Ukulele Lady

I can only blame Jack Johnson for my desire to play the ukulele.
We have two at home, orange and yellow, that we gave the lads a few Christmases ago. Until I prove to myself that I have the self discipline to practice, I’m using these. They need tuning frequently, but they will do the trick for now. The deal is, if I stick at it, I get to choose one of my own for my birthday.

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I’m watching YouTube clips and have ordered a book from the library. It’s such a fun instrument!

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In other musical news, Isaac is learning guitar! I’ve taught him a few chords and he’s spot on with those. We will add a few more next week. He will start lessons hen school goes back.

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Asher is determined to play the banjo. Hmmmm. Mumford and Sons are his inspiration! In the meantime, he’s having a great old time blowing the cobwebs out of Matt’s saxophone.

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Rock on!

Enoughism

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

Epicurus

The trap of our time and our society is the desire for more. More money, more opportunities, more clothes, more travel, more, more, MORE!

A perfect example of this modern ill is the frequency of the donation of our “stuff” to charity. Of course the donating to charity part is good. But remember when those things that we now want OUT of our lives were things that we desperately felt we needed IN our lives? That top for a wedding, that book we simply had to own rather than borrow from the library, the toy that was going to assist in our quest to create a child genius. Now these things sit in a box waiting to be dropped off to the nearest charity bin because they crowd our lives too much.

I’m determined to continue on my quest for less. Enoughism is a concept that resonates with me.

“Enoughism is the theory that there is a point where consumers possess everything they need, and by buying more it actually makes their life worse off. Enoughism emphasizes less spending and more restraint in buying behaviour of consumers. Unlike Consumerism which Mirriam-Webster defines as “the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable”, Enoughism is an antonym to consumerism.” John Naish.

I know that my own childhood, which was one of poverty, has caused me to have urges to give my children more “stuff” than they need. Mostly these little treasures are found in thrift stores, but even so, my challenge this year is to resist these urge to bring more stuff into our home. Whenever I have that inner compulsion to buy my lads a surprise gift, I will go deeper and ask myself a few questions. What do they really need? More stuff or more of me? I will question my urge to buy them a material gift, and no doubt I will find something within me that I can give; an idea for a creative activity or game, an extra long story time before bed, a special family dinner for no reason at all. These are the real treasures I can gift my children. Material gifts are easy to give. Creative, intentional and loving parenting is the real gift, the one that remains with them, and in them forever.

Take a look around you. What do you see? When I look around I see a beautiful family, a lovely, albeit compact family home and evidence of fun, love and learning (aka mess!) These things I now have were once only in my imagination. These are enough.

Book store crush and all things vintage.

I love books. I’m compelled to look in second hand bookstores whenever I pass one. I love it when one jumps out and surprises you. The ones you don’t expect are delightful.

We found this gem in Ballarat, Victoria last week.

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Here, I was surrounded by titles from my childhood, enthralled. Books are one of my great loves in life, and now my sons share that love. I know I’m a lucky woman, when my 7 and 5 year old sons will stay in a book store, happily, for a long time. No tantrums or screams of boredom. Just pure enchantment.

Some bookstores cause you to feel like you’ve entered a new world. These are the ones that are hard to come by.

In Cygnet, Tasmania, we found our second “other world” in a week! Vintage toys for children to pass the time were a nice touch, not that my book worm bambinos need such distraction!

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Up the road, a cafe by the name of “The Red Velvet Lounge.” The coffee was great, the food delish, but the icing on the cake, the classy old school tunes that filled the air.
Matt indulged in an “Elvis Jaffle” which was filled with bacon, banana, peanut butter and jam.

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On our way home we stopped to explore a vintage warehouse. My goodness, I could settle in for an entire day uncovering all kinds of treasures! I tried on some 1960s dresses, or should I say frocks?
The boys were not as easily tamed in this environment, so guess where I will go alone later this week? Rummaging through history is my idea of fun!

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Hammock time

Lazy Sunday’s really are one of life’s great and simple pleasures. Today, the sun was shining and our new hammock beckoned me. Of course, I obliged.

I indulged in a coffee and book on the deck, in the sunshine, swinging lazily, eventually, sleepily. I didn’t even have to share with the lads, as they were too busy practicing their newfound chess knowledge.

I sit here on the couch tonight, content as can be after enjoying some of my favourite things, all bundled up in one lazy Sunday. Lucky me!

solitude
reading
coffee
sunshine
family beach walk
pear cider

What is your idea of an indulgent, lazy Sunday?

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