Storytelling: The ancient art

Stories are powerful, captivating and enable us to transcend our immediate cares, albeit briefly.  I am a story junkie. I always a stack of books on the go at the one time. I am eager to hear the stories of those I meet amidst the pages, trusting them to help me further understand myself, others and the world around me.  Books are one of my great loves,  and I genuinely grieve when I close a book for the last time, feeling torn between wanting to know the end, but wanting it to go on forever.  However, some of the best stories of all are the ones that are a part of us, a part of our own history.


Reminiscing is one of the most beautiful forms of storytelling in my opinion.  Retelling the stories of our childhood, our school years, our courtship, our mistakes and embarrassments keep the memory, the sounds,  the smells, the emotions of these stories alive. Retelling these stories to our children is  a great gift, and one that those who have gone before us knew all too well.  Storytelling is an ancient wisdom, yet sadly, we often rely too heavily upon authors to fill the storytelling craving within us.


Imagination is the author of stories of every kind.  Imagination is not something we should leave behind as a distant memory of our childhood. Imagination can be our constant companion through life, enabling us to live creatively, laugh hysterically and escape reality for snippets of time. Imagination is also one of the most, if not THE most useful tool for parenting.  You would only have to eavesdrop at bedtime to hear the delight and the call for “just one more story Mummy!” to know that a story that comes experience or imagination is pure delight for a child.  I know my children will have fond memories of the characters and places I have told them of before bed.  We like to create stories where one person chooses a character, another a setting, and another an object. Simplicity at its finest, enthralling my sons.


Then there are the real life stories that need to be told. During a visit from my dad, I had the urge to ask a few questions about one of my grandfathers.  My Pop was an Englishman loved by all he knew.  Smiling eyes and bulging muscles, he often reminded me of Popeye.  I remember vividly walking with him, and wherever we went he was warmly greeted by people, old and young alike.  The kids used to call out to say hi to “Mr Bill!” He was a friend to all.

Pop died when I was 7 years old, so I have limited memories, but the ones I have are rich and tangible. However, without the reminiscing and the stories being retold, these memories are in danger of fading, or being lost forever.

When my dad started to tell stories of Pop, his face lit up, the room filled with laughter and we all felt it – we all felt that we touched the mischief and the ebullience that was my Pop.  There was one story in particular that I wish I could tell my own kids, but they will have to wait a few years – we don’t want them testing this one out…

Pop worked at the railway, and was getting sick and tired of his sandwiches being stolen. Going hungry day after day he decided it was time to take action and get the last laugh.  He made some special sandwiches for the lunch box bandit, and spread a layer of dog poo between his bread.  Wrapping them as usual, placing them in the usual spot, he waited for the usual suspect to take their first bite.  Old Pop never did have to worry about his lunch being stolen after that.


Motivated by my own childlike responses to hearing such stories, I  share some more of my childhood memories with my sons often. Their eyes fill with wonder, excitement and shock with these real life “this is what we used to get up to” stories as much (if not more) than they would with the most enthralling picture book by the most popular children’s author.


I want my children to catch a glimpse of me as a child – because they relate to that.  Adult stuff isn’t that interesting to them. They don’t really want to hear about the book I am reading, or that the interest rate just went up again, or that plums are on special this week.  They want to hear adventure, mischief, strife and hilarity – so let’s start telling them the stories that live in our memories, before we forget them.


It’s amazing how much we can remember when we start to tell the story. Keep this ancient art alive. Tell stories, everyday.


The List: School holiday edition

School holidays when I was a child consisted of a whole lot of reading and playing with the neighbourhood kids.  Life is so different now.  Firstly, most of our immediate neighbours were children 200 years ago, so they aren’t exactly suitable playmates for my children.  Secondly, electronic devices when I was a child consisted of vacuum cleaners and toasters, so they weren’t exactly appealing as objects of amusement.

Juggling the use of devices is an ongoing issue, and we are currently trialing a screen time token system.  Our lads don’t have their own personal device, but we do have a Wii and an iPad as well as 2 laptops which we allow them to access with our permission.  The tokens are working really well so far, as the lads are highly motivated to accumulate screen time minutes; therefore chores are done more willingly, and bedtime is no longer such a drawn out process for Middle Son.


However, screen time is only a minimal part of the lads day, so there is a need for other activities to fill our days.  Now with a 14 week old baby in our family (a belated post coming up about this big news!), occupying the bigger boys is a much more pressing issue!  So what does one do when they have a 7 and 8 year old who need to be entertained, but one does not have the same amount of time as in previous school holidays?  Why, you construct a list, of course! I do love lists, and grab any opportunity to pen one. So the arrival of school holidays was a fitting occasion to create a list of potential activities for the lads, so that they had a resource to go back to when the childhood profanity is spoken – “BORED!!!”

After I presented them the list, I requested that they initial any activities that sparked their interest. Here’s what happened…


The list has since mutated, with the addition of science experiments involving water pistols, cloud dough and aluminium foil art.  I will post updates as these are ticked off the list.






We have had a few sheets of black cardboard Matt bought home from school last year that are a bit damaged from being used as backdrops for displays. Tonight as we were looking through a Science experiment book from the Library, we stumbled across this and I remembered the cardboard.
It was the first ever shadow sketch experience for the lads, and we got to turn the lights out and use their Lego man torch, which of course made the whole process so much more fun! They were amazed when we cut their silhouette out. We now have beautiful, frugal, simple art in the play room.

My 1980s stencil quest

I am reminiscing tonight about the things I used to do as a child, brought on by the sheer dismay I feel whenever I go searching for gifts for children- especially my own! Asher turns 6 next week, which is altogether confronting to me. That is another blog. We won’t go there tonight.

I hate just getting run-of-the-mill gifts. Lego is a must of course, but beyond that, I really struggle. I love to foster their imagination and creativity with their gifts. I search online and go to the “different” toy stores in pursuit of the ultimate play thing! But you know what, at the end of the day, it is not about the stuff. I know this, yet I still search.

I found an article online tonight that made me smile. I came across it whilst I was hunting for a retro set of Disney stencils that I used to adore when I was a little girl. Stencilling was great fun, was it not? I don’t mean the straightforward stencils, you find these days, but the progressive ones, where you had to line things up and move the stencil along to complete your picture. I really want to get some great quality, age appropriate stencils for the lads, and struggling to find them. But I digress… back to the article!

Old school activities for kids:

Hopscotch – we love this. We play under the carport every now and then, and tonight, Asher actually asked me to make hopscotch pudding for dessert. How could I refuse? That is just too cute!!!

Four square – I lived and breathed this game as a kid! We grew up playing the neighbourhood kids most nights after school and on weekends. We were very serious and competitive, but what a ball we had! (No pun intended).

Stencils – I have said enough, but seriously, if you know the Disney stencils from the 1980s I am referring to, please let me know!!! We share a bond!!!!!

Tea parties – These don’t happen too often around here, but MasterChef sessions do. Matt’s mum made the boys a whole range of knitted foods and Ash still enjoys these on his mini wooden kitchen.

There are more listed in the link, and I will share some more of my fave old school activities soon. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you about your favourite childhood games/activities or the things you have reinvented with your own children!




The sound of silence

As I sit here on a Monday morning, gearing myself up for another day of study, I am reminded of how quiet my life is all of a sudden. And I am not happy about it.

I remember with gushy fondness the noise that once filled this house for what seemed like every moment of everyday. The big noise of little boys feet running around the house, the squabbles, the squeals of joy, the tears of tiredness. This was the hustle and bustle that was my life with two small lads. These lads are now at school. Every freaking day. And I miss them more than I could even try to describe. I miss the silly fun we used to have. I miss the snuggles before I put them down for a nap. I miss the happy sounds of them waking up. I miss the cute ways they used to say things. I miss the morning teas, the afternoon teas. I miss the mess. I miss them.

But I must remind myself, I still have them. While I cannot possibly remember every moment of their infant years, I feel the moments, even the ones that I cannot recall. I feel the closeness, I feel the dependency they once had. It is different now. Different will be my constant companion, because this is what raising kids is all about; being with them as they change and as they grow. They may not be here making noise, but no doubt they are filling the air with their delicious noise at school.

The little one we said goodbye to in October only 4 weeks after that line appeared is in my heart, and the baby that we hope to have is on my mind. If we are blessed to bring an extra one to our family one day, I am certain there will be moments that I will wish for silence like this again. But I am sure that I will also remind myself that those kinds of noises are the most beautiful sounds in the world, and that one day I will miss them.

Miracle ladybug

This afternoon as I was hanging out the washing, Asher informed me that he had a new pet in his school pants pocket…the very ones that went through the washing machine!! We went to the clothesline and opened his wet pocket to remove the unfortunate creature, only to find the ladybug was still alive! A slightly damaged wing but alive! We found a nice leaf and hope he has a feast and feels much better after his thrill ride in a front loader. Lucky for the ladybug I only selected a 15 minute quick wash! I think it’s name is Lazarus the Ladybug.

Asher has learnt a lesson today about appropriate care of itty bitty’s.

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Lego Frenzy

We love Lego. Who doesn’t?! I’ve yet to meet anyone who admits they are Lego haters.
A lazy Saturday at home, avoiding my pile of study, I did some cruising on Pinterest and found this. The boys had a wow of a time creating their own minifigs. We had to keep printing more sheets to keep up with them!

Another great find was this Lego reward chart.

We made some Lego art for the lads bedrooms. They each chose some minifigs and attached to a plate in an old, broken photo frame. They can change them around as often as they like.

Finally, we have these ready to go for a rainy day activity.
Thank you to those creative souls who so generously share their ideas with us!


School Blues

Tomorrow is the last day. After that, things are different. I’m not happy about this change. I adore my children being home with me. School messes with my system. Not only that, this is the first year both lads will be in full time school. There, I said it.

So today I asked the lads to give me suggestions as to what I can do after I drop them off at school on Monday:
Asher told me I could jump on the trampoline, go to work and high five myself. He then demonstrated how I would high five myself. The kid obviously has no faith in my ability to high five myself, much to our amusement. Isaac tapped into the fact that I’m emotional and feeling sad about the upcoming event. He put on his counselling hat and suggested I “swing in the hammock and think about good things…like eating pizza.”

You know what? I think I will take their advice, except for the going to work bit.
High fives coming my way.

Summer Lovin’

It has been a few months between blogs, so I will share some pics to tell the story of our summer break!

Isaac is learning guitar.


Cafe times.


A spontaneous trip to Melbourne. Isaac still had his head in a book! 🙂


Hot days=ice cream. Ice cream is a full body experience for Asher!


Fishing with friends at White Beach, the day before the fires ravaged parts of our beautiful state.



Helping out at the Evacuation Centre after the devastating fires. What a humbling experience.


Ten Pin Bowling.


Cafe wisdom in Ballarat, Victoria.


Panning for gold at Sovereign Hill, Ballarat.