Top Ten Xmas Houses

Every year, families around the globe decorate their homes to reflect their excitement about the Christmas season, and every year the best of such houses are posted on YouTube. I won’t be writing about each individual house, as I think each video speaks for itself.

So sit back, relax, maybe sip some eggnog and enjoy my top ten list of Xmas houses, from ten to one: Continue reading

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Created with clker and paint.net.

Ho, Ho, Ho

  • If your left leg was thanksgiving, and your right leg is Christmas, can I come visit you between the holidays?
  • Remember, children. The best way to get a puppy for Christmas is to beg for a baby brother.
  • Interested in seeing the “North Pole”? (Well, that’s what the Mrs. calls it)
  • The 3 stages of man: He believes in Santa Claus. He doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. He is Santa Claus.
  • What is the best evidence that Microsoft has a monopoly? Santa Claus had to switch from Chimneys to Windows.

Taken from : onelinefun.com

Christmas Checklist

The Christmas season can be loads of fun but, if you aren’t prepared, it can also be very stressful. Here is the ultimate checklist to help you stay on top of things and replace all that stress with relaxation and enjoyment. Continue reading

New Theme for Xmas!

English: Christmas postcard picture with Santa...

Halloween is over and, despite the opinion of Scrooge (aka hubby), that means it is time to go all Christmassy. In the spirit of the season, I have changed my blog theme. There are only two Christmas themes to choose from and I don’t like the other one at all, so this one wins by default. With this theme, the full text of my blogs will be on the front page. Since some of my posts are quite long, I have changed the maximum shown from 15 to 5. Hopefully that will make things a little less daunting and a little more readable. If anybody has any problems with reading or anything, just let me know and I’ll do my best to fix it.

Leaving town

I cannot remember the last time I had a chance to leave town and I have no idea when I will have another. I do know that my last holiday was when I was pregnant with my eldest daughter, Butterfly. I was living in NSW at the time, and I travelled up to Brisbane to visit my mother, brother and sister. Butterfly is nearly fifteen, now. I am hoping to go to Japan with my Mum in 2016. But I’m not sure if it’s going to happen. It seems like every time I begin saving for it, a new financial crisis comes along and, voila, my money is gone. It’s like an evil magic trick – now you see it, now you don’t. If I do get to go, it will have been 19 years since that distant trip to Brisbane.

On TV, it seems like everybody has an annual, or at least a bi-annual holiday – even if it’s only to visit the rellies. But who can afford that in real life? I see my mum once a year only because she visits us. Otherwise I would be limited to a voice on the phone. And I’m quite sure I am not the only one in this situation. Everybody is tight these days.

When was your last holiday? Where did you go and who did you go with?

Boredom

I believe that boredom is a side-effect of the conventional school approach. In school, children are taught not to do what they feel like, and not to act on a sudden creative impulse or idea. Instead they are expected to just sit and listen. Then, on weekends and school vacations, they can feel overwhelmed by the large amount of time suddenly available to spend on things they actually like. They might not even remember what most interested them.

— Nanda Van Gestel in The Unschooling Unmanual

Lest We Forget

Today, on this ANZAC Day, I honour the memories of all those who have fought for our freedom and the freedom of our children and grandchildren. I honour those who have died in battle. I honour those who suffered and survived. I honour those who remain to impart their wisdom to the next generation. May your memories live forever in our hearts!

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Lest we forget

****************************************************************

The Inquisitive Mind of a Child
Author unknown

Why are they selling poppies, Mummy?
Selling poppies in town today.
The poppies, child, are flowers of love.
For the men who marched away.

But why have they chosen a poppy, Mummy?
Why not a beautiful rose?
Because my child, men fought and died
In the fields where the poppies grow.

But why are the poppies so red, Mummy?
Why are the poppies so red?
Red is the colour of blood, my child.
The blood that our soldiers shed.

The heart of the poppy is black, Mummy.
Why does it have to be black?
Black, my child, is the symbol of grief.
For the men who never came back.

But why, Mummy are you crying so?
Your tears are giving you pain.
My tears are my fears for you my child.
For the world is forgetting again.

Eggs, Eggs and more Eggs…

A Cute Little Bunny With Some Eggs

A Cute Little Bunny With Some Eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Easter. Chocolate. Bunnies. Bilbies. Children. Hunting. Yawns. Laughter.

That’s right. It is Easter once again, folks. And what a wonderful Easter it has been for my children. I, like most parents, am exhausted.

Last night (being Easter Eve), I had to wait up till midnight in order to help the Easter Bunny distribute eggs. Sneaking about the place, trying to find good hiding spots – not too easy, not to hard – shhh. Might wake the kids. No, not there, the cats might eat it. Ooh…here’s a good spot. Frozen – was that a noise from Annie’s room? Better wait a bit before we go in there. Eventually all the eggs were out, so it was off to bed, where hubby kept me awake for another hour talking. In the end, I got to sleep at around two-ish.

Morning. Whispers. Rustling. Running children. Muffled squeals. Moan. I want to sleep some more. Laying in bed drifting in and out of sleep, waking with each fresh find of chocolate. I give up. Up. Showered. Dressed. Morning everyone! Happy Easter!

“Mum, mum, look! Look what the Easter bunny brought us!”

“Mum, I found an egg here and…”

“Hey Mum, there were eggs all over the yard!”

“Oooh…I wanted to tell her that.”

“Mum, there was an egg in your kitchen witch!”

“Mum, guess what? Most of the eggs are big!”

“I got a Humpty Dumpty and a train and a bilby and..”

“Mum, there was an egg on top of the gas bottle and it was melted. I drank it!”

After the cacophony died down, we all settled down for some morning cartoons and Hot Cross Buns. Something or other Network of Kids. Ruby Gloom (I love that show!). Avengers. Then it was time for the TV to be turned off so we could the children our eggs. Count Chocula for Annie. A Peter Rabbit book for Yasmine, a Peter Rabbit tin for Storm. Chocolate truffles for Butterfly. All with eggs included of course.

However we saved the best for last. Asking the children to close their eyes, Earth and I fetched their gifts from Grandma. Such round eyes when they opened them to see their huge chocolate eggs plus extras!

The rest of the day, the children spent playing together and using the computer for longer than their usual allotted time, finishing with a delicious meal of Satay Chicken and some Miss Marple (yes, it was my turn to choose lol.)

Today’s funniest moment was watching Yasmine struggle to take the first bite of her chocolate teddy bear. It was so cute, she just couldn’t bear to eat it at first. LOL

Now, the day is winding down. Rellies have been called. Dishes have been done. Younger children are in bed. I have finally taken possession of the computer.

Happy Easter everybody. I hope you had as good a day as I.

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?

Christmas #1

Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As some of my readers will know, we are a pagan family and don’t usually celebrate Christmas. Well, that has just changed. We (like many Christian families, I’d imagine) have found that the kids have been concentrating on the gift giving aspect of our holidays to the exclusion of the spirituality. Therefore, we decided to celebrate our holidays solely as spiritual affairs and exchange our gifts on the Christian holidays.

We are kicking this off this year with a bang by having two Christmases. My mother is coming to visit early in January, so we decided to have one Christmas on Christmas Day & another when Mum is here.

We got rid of all our decorations when we moved and, rather than buying more this year, we decided to make our own. The kids did most of this and they had a ton of fun. They did a great job to – I’m willing to bet that this is the best our tree has ever looked!

After much busy-ness and anticipation, Christmas Eve finally rolled around. With great excitement, the children placed their stockings around the tree and prepared a plate with homemade cookies for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer along with a glass of milk. Then it was off to bed.

Next morning, they had us up at the crack of dawn to show us all the wonderful treats Santa left in their stockings. Then, after brekky, we opened the gifts Santa left under the tree as well as those from friends and my mother-in-law. The pressies we are giving each other are staying under the tree until our second Christmas and Mum’s pressies are yet to arrive.

After the presents were all opened, we had some phone calls to make. First we called my MIL and we each spoke to her individually. Then we skyped with my Mum, brother and sister down in Adelaide. It was nice to see their faces. After that, I called my cousin in Sydney, which was good.

Then it was lunch time. Nothing special, just an ordinary lunch. We are saving the feast to have with Mum. The afternoon was spent relaxing and enjoying our gifts before settling down to a delicious meal of ribs and baked veg.

After a big day (and a very early morning lol), we were all exhausted, so none of us was up very late. It was worth it, though. We had a great day!

Now we get to do it all over again when Mum is here.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Cinderella

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

Nando's logo

Nando’s logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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!

Disrespecting Diggers

An Australian military veteran on ANZAC Day 2007.

An Australian military veteran on ANZAC Day 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am disgusted by the amount of stories coming out about commerce on ANZAC day. Locally the Orchid Society will be having a fete from 9AM onwards. There is also a psychic expo which periodically graces our town – they are also open tomorrow. In NSW, horse-racing clubs will be holding races before 1PM and major retailers have applied to trade in the morning. Now I read that a pub in Adelaide will be holding a ‘boys night out’ on ANZAC day.

I am saddened – nay, angered – by this lack of respect. ANZAC morning is a time to mourn and remember those who have died in service to our country and to give thanks to those who have fought and, in many cases, are still fighting for the freedoms we all enjoy. It is not a time for any but essential commerce to take place.

Even in today’s climate, if the loss of half a days trade is going to send your business broke, then it wasn’t going to survive anyway. And if people can’t go one morning without races or boobies, then they are obviously addicts and need help.

My grandparents fought, and suffered in the second world war. Both were lucky enough to survive, but Pa spent time in a Japanese POW camp. Seeing this kind of subtle disrespect is almost worse than the blatant protests. It hurts me deeply because it is not even motivated by hatred, but greed and apathy.

Please, if you see a non-essential business open before 1pm tomorrow, refrain from handing them your money. Don’t encourage them. And don’t forget to give a thought to our servicemen, both living and dead.

Lest We Forget.

Happy Birthday Storm!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our home was filled with squeals of delight tonight, as our new four year old opened his birthday gifts. Each new gift brought a fresh squeal. His face was bright with happiness and his eyes sparkling.

Storm has been looking forward to this day for weeks and it wasn’t a disappointment. He’s so proud to be four years old! He gave out toy cars instead of cupcakes at Kindy today, and the teacher actually popped down the road and bought him a cake, so he essentially got two parties – lucky kid!

Happy Birthday Stormboy! I love you!

Happy Mothers Day

English: A SUBWAY Club 6" sandwich.

English: A SUBWAY Club 6″ sandwich. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy mother’s day to all you Multiply Mums. I hope you all had a wonderful day.

My day was the best! It started out with a sleep-in. I woke at around 10ish. When I woke up, Stormy brought me a beautiful flower made from a cut up dish sponge and scented with musk. After I got dressed, I got to sit there while being showered with gifts.

Earth gave me some beautiful Frangipani scented body mist. Butterfly gave me a scented sachet for my wardrobe and a collage that she obviously put a lot of effort into. Annelise gave me a coaster with a teabag, some coathangers, a handmade card and a christmas decoration (she made it last year and it’s one of her most prized possessions, so I’m very touched). Yasmine gave me a calendar made with her artwork and a pillowcase. Stormy gave me the aforementioned flower and a calendar made with his artwork. I also got a box of German chocolates (shaped like mice and packaged in a cheese-wedge shaped box) from the whole family.

After receiving my gifts (I’ll post pics tomorrow), I sat and read until lunch time. After the kids ate their lunch, the littlies lay down for a nap and the older girls disappeared to draw in the bedroom. At this point, Earth went for a ride to buy me some Subway. Yuuum!

After lunch and nap time, Butterfly looked after the littlies while Earth and I enjoyed some…err…personal time, then cuddled up for an afternoon nap. We wound up sleeping all afternoon and didn’t wake till dinner time.

While I took a shower, Earth cooked Sausage cacciatore (that’s chicken cacciatore using chopped up sausage instead of chicken…lol), then we all settled down to eat dinner and watch Big Brother.

After Yasmine and Storm went to bed, I consumed my chocolates – they were delicious! I gave one to Earth and half each to Butterfly and Annelise, keeping the remaining six for myself. Greedy, I know, but they were so yummy – much better than our Aussie choccies!

But the best part was that my kids barely argued .

I hope everyone else’s day went as well as mine!