New Clothes & First Dogwash

HydroDogOnly two things of note happened today. First, Dad took the kids shopping for clothes. Given that they rarely get brand new clothing and that they love spending time with their Grandad, you can imagine just how pleased the children were with this activity.

Dad gave them each between $100 & $200 depending on age and it was interesting to see just how differently they spent their money. Storm bought mainly winter clothing. Annie bought a couple of pretty dresses (one of them brings to mind the tunics the Ancient Greeks used to wear) some practical clothes and a few pairs of summer PJs. Yasmine bought 2 swimsuits, leggings, T- shirts, a dress and some socks. Butterfly bought a couple of beautiful peasant tops and a dress from Tree of Life as well as a fifties-style dress from Myers (and she still has some money left over). However, all were equally excited to show off their acquisitions.

Even Jack got a treat today. Instead of his usual backyard bath, he enjoyed his very first professional clean. For just $45, he was treated to a nail clipping, shampoo, rinse, blow-dry, brush and spray of doggy cologne. He was a little nervous at first, but it didn’t take him long to relax into it. Even Cass, the groomer, was impressed.

A good day all round!



annie storm beachEverybody woke bright and early today, anxiously checking the weather. Sunny, no clouds, definitely no rain. Relief! Quickly shovel breakfast down our gullets, then it’s into the shower, one by one, quick wash and out, dried and dressed. We’d better take along some cossies and towels just in case we go swimming. And bring an apple in case you get hungry in the car!

Ready too soon. Damn! I hate waiting when I’m dressed and raring to go! Oh well, Facebook will distract me and a bit of Voltaire to lighten the mood.

Ten o’clock and Dad arrives in a rented van. Everybody ready? All used the loo? OK, everybody pile into the van.

What kind of music would you like to hear, Dad?

Anything from the sixties or seventies would be great.

How about Dr. Hook?

Sounds good…

Driving, chatting, singing along – ooh, what’s that? A roadside vendor. Time to stop and buy some cherries and strawberries. Yum!

More driving, more chatting, more singing – Cat Stevens!

Here we are guys – just have to find a park. Ok, here we go, let’s have a look at the cannons. Check out those seagulls, showing off trying to con a bite out of the tourists. How about we walk down to the beach?

Right-o, we’ll sit here. Go on up there and change, then you can go for a swim.

Chatting, filming, enjoying the sun – yes, that is an awesome rock sweetie. Why don’t you leave it here to dry then you can put it in your bag?

Look at all that seaweed. Great sand teddy Annie. Are you having fun Storm? Yasmine, too far, come back, please!

That smoke is getting close. We’d better get inside – don’t want Annie’s asthma flaring up. Go on up and get dried and dressed.

Where’s Annie? Comb your hair Storm. What’s wrong Yasmine? I’m sure your belt is somewhere. Here, use this instead. Oh, you’ve found it – good.

Alright everyone? Ok, let’s go get some grub. What’s that Yasmine? I don’t know if you can have it. Ask Grandad – he’s paying. Wow – look at the size of those meals! No way I can eat all that! Looks like you’ll have plenty of leftover salad for lunch tomorrow Butterfly.

Everyone done? OK. Time to go.

Oh dear. Don’t worry mate, we’ll get you cleaned up. Guess you shouldn’t have pigged out on lunch, eh? Why don’t you sit next to a window the rest of the way home?

More driving, chatting, MJ in the background. Finally home.

Everyone said goodbye to Grandad? Thanks for taking us out Dad. I’ve had a wonderful time. We’ll have to organise a get together with Sophie as well.

Damn, I’m burnt. Ooh, it hurts! Where’s the Aloe Vera gel?

Anybody hungry for dinner? A small burger pack each then?

Resting, munching, watching Fruits Basket – time for quiet play now, guys!

Ok Kids, off to bed. I know, but you’ve had a big day. You can play again tomorrow. Goodnight, sleep tight, Love you, see you in the morning.

Aah. Peace at last!

Annie’s Naruto Sketches

Sasuke Uchiha

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Annie’s end of year school report 2011

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As expected, Annie did very well in violin. Next year she needs to work on putting as much effort into her other subjects.

Crazy Joker

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

Candles spell out the traditional English birthday greeting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We celebrated Annie’s tenth birthday yesterday. We don’t have a party every year, just on the important birthdays – 5, 10, 13, 16, 18, 21 – and Annie wanted it to be special. She requested to have her party at the Crazy Joker. I pointed out that I would be unable to pay for a Crazy Joker party in time for her birthday. She said she was happy to wait. So we had her party a month after her birthday, but she got her Crazy Joker party.

We woke up early and did the whole morning routine (you know, breakfast, grooming and so forth) then caught a bus into Stockland and took a cab from there to the Crazy Joker. We got there a little early but that’s OK. It just gave the kids more time for playing. The kids played for a while as guests slowly arrived. After a while everyone was called into the party room for lunch and face painting. Those who finished early got more playtime while waiting for the others.

Once everyone was finished, the party host held various games for the kids until it was time for the cake. Since we were in the Ocean Room, I chose to have a shark cake. It was huge! Then Annie opened her gifts. Finally it was more playtime while parents gradually arrived to collect their kids. Everyone had loads of fun, and it was really quite economical. Just $290 for ten kids, which included unlimited playtime, a party room, a host, a reserved table for the adults, all the party food, drinks (including one complimentary drink for mum), invitations, cake, lolly bags, games (including a pass the parcel game) – basically all we had to provide was the presents!

Favourite Moments?
Annie: Getting to sit on a throne while everyone else sat on bench seats and the big slides and the twisty slide.
Storm: Playing with Sophie (a girl he met at the Crazy Joker) and the big slides.
Yasmine: The big slides.
Nurture: Being able to sit and chat with Melissa (one of the parents) while the kids had fun.
Earth: Value for money and not having to worry about supervision or cleaning up afterwards.

For anyone living local to Rockhampton – I totally recommend the Crazy Joker as a party venue!

My Thoughts on Valentine’s Day

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909.

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Valentines Day. You know it’s coming. The stores are scattered with chocolates, jewellery, hearts and roses. Retailers are trying to persuade you to show you care by buying your love the perfect present. Young men are screwing up the courage to ask out a pretty girl, or propose to their love. Relationships are moving to the next level – or falling apart altogether. In the immortal words of Tom Jones ‘Love is in the air…’. But what is Valentines day really? What does it really mean? What does it mean to you?

I can tell you what it means to me. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. We don’t celebrate this day – haven’t for a long time. Why?

Well, to begin with, I don’t need Valentines Day to tell how much I am loved. Earth and I have been together a long time – sixteen years this coming March. We live with each other day in day out. We are comfortable in each others company. We have four beautiful children together. I know from the bottom of my heart that my husband loves me – he shows it every single day in a thousand different ways. I don’t demand chocolates or roses or diamonds as proof.

Secondly, it is simply one more expense that we do not need. Even Xmas and Easter are really only celebrated for the children. Tucked in between Xmas/Back to School and Annie’s Birthday/Easter/Butterfly’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day simply doesn’t make it onto the list of what is important to me – we surely have better things to spend our money on.

So, how do I feel about Valentine’s Day? Like many other holidays, it has become just another attempt to satiate corporate greed. Any true meaning is long gone.

What do you think?

Sonlight Language Arts on the Way

English: A typical FedEx Ground truck. Photogr...

English: A typical FedEx Ground truck. Photographed in Mountain View, on August 26, 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you read my previous post, you will know that I have been considering buying a curriculum for Yasmine and Storm (Annie has chosen to give school another try). Well, last night I took the plunge. I can’t afford a full curriculum yet (postage to Australia is a killer), but I have ordered the Sonlight Language Arts K.

Surprisingly, it has already been shipped and, according to the Fedex tracking site, it should be here by Tuesday. That is way sooner than I expected. I’m impressed!

I’m looking forward to receiving it so we can get started as soon as possible. I think the munchkins may find some of the work easy, but I ordered the K level because I wanted to be sure there are no gaps in their education. So far, I’ve been pretty much making things up as I go along, so I felt it was best to play it safe. Besides, it never hurts to do a bit of a review of knowledge learned.

It will be interesting to see how they take to having a schedule after nearly a year of unschooling. Also interesting that I am chafing at such a small delay when it is faster than expected and my forbears would have had to wait months!


Oliver Herford illustrated the fairy godmother...

Oliver Herford illustrated the fairy godmother inspired from the Perrault version (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ha, ha, ha! Annie has a friend over this weekend for her birthday. They were dressing up in each others clothes when they spontaneously decided to put on a play for us. They dressed up Yasmine and Storm and proceeded to perform Cinderella. The play was so spontaneous, in fact, that they didn’t even practice. They just figured it out as they went. They all performed very well. It was hilarious! Earth recorded it on the computer. We will send a copy to V’s parents. I will also be seeking permission to share it on my blog. I understand if they don’t want to, of course, but I hope they say yes. It’s just too good not to share!

Mum’s Visit

The long-awaited visit by my Mum finally arrived! We all looked forward to it for quite some time. It had been years since I saw Mum. Annie was a baby, Butterfly a tot and Yasmine & Storm weren’t even born.

Earth picked Mum up on Sunday 08 November. This was a pleasant surprise for her, as she expected to be catching a cab. When she arrived at the house, I held back knowing she would be swamped by kids. I finally got a chance to hug her though!

Sunday was all about relaxing and chatting and catching up.

Monday, while the kids were at school, Earth, Mum and I went for a nice drive out to Emu Park, then Mum and I had lunch at Nandos and had a browse through the Shopping Fair.

Tuesday night, Mum baby-sat while Earth and I went to toastmasters.

Wednesday, Mum window-shopped while Earth and I attended an appointment.

Thursday, Butterfly stayed home from school and she, Mum and I saw 2012, before lunching at Hungry Jacks and grocery shopping.

Friday, we all went for drive up Mt Archer and out to Marmor. Good fun!

Saturday was my favourite though, because Mum and I got some serious fun time away from the kids. In the morning, I showed Mum how to bake bread, then we high-tailed it down to the pub and got ourselves tipsy while blowing cash on the pokies. It was nice to let my hair down for a change!

Sunday, was another relaxing day. We started the day with brekky at Sizzler, before Annie entertained us all with a recital, and the kids enjoyed their final day with Grandma.

Eventually, all good things must come to an end, even Mum’s visit. On Monday 16 November she left us 😦 It was a pupil free day at school, so the children were all able to see Grandma off at the airport. Earth drove me and Mum first, and came back for the children. This allowed us to have a last few minutes alone together.

When the others arrived, we all shared a final drink of chocolate milk before Mum had to go through security. Of course, we waited round so the kids could watch the plane take off.

We were all very sad to see her go, and we miss her immensely!

Camp Out and Water Wise

Pukkelpop 2006 tent camp.

Pukkelpop 2006 tent camp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, the kids are home and they are full of news about their day. Annelise had her year two camp out on the oval today. She tells me she was in the biggest tent and they had damper and a sausage sizzle.

The girls also had their Water Wise performance today. Annelise told me they got to touch a real skull and Butterfly says they got to touch some crocodile skin.

They both seem to have been happy with their day!