Ration Sheet

While preparing for my ration challenge, I had a lot of trouble finding a suitable ration book template, so I created my own. It isn’t perfect (and it is 2 sheets rather than a booklet), but it suitable for my needs. Below are word documents for those who wish to use it for themselves. The points tickets are on page 1.

Page 2

Page 1

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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!

30 Day Book Challenge – Day 29

A Book You Hated The list of books that I have hated is surprisingly short. I sometimes cannot get into a book, but disliking it enough to add it to my ‘do not read’ list is rare. Such books do … Continue reading

30 Day Book Challenge – Day 28

Book Cover of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Favourite Quote From A Book I am actually going to include more than one quote here, but I think it should be acceptable because they are all from the same book – The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield: Quote 1: … Continue reading

30 Day Book Challenge Day 16

Portrait of popular author Jodi Picoult

Most Thought-Provoking Book I am not going to choose a book for this category. Rather, I am choosing an author. That author is Jodi Picoult. Jodi Picoult is an excellent author who engages the reader from page one. Her characters … Continue reading

30 Day Book Challenge Day 14:

The Road Cormac McCarthy book cover

A Book That Made You Cry Whether you are talking about books or movies or music, I cry at the drop of a hat. Therefore, there are loads of books that I could use for today’s blog. The book I … Continue reading

30 Day Book Challenge Day 12:

The Enlightenment The Rise of Modern Paganism by Peter Gay book cover

A Book You Wanted to Read for a Long Time But Still Haven’t Wow. There are so many, many books I could use for today’s challenge. At the time of printing, I have 2,667 books on my wishlist, and over … Continue reading

30 Day Book Challenge Day 11:

Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner book cover

Favourite Classic Book I don’t seem to have read a lot of the classic books that others have, though many are on my wishlist. I think it may be because people often make it their mission to read as many … Continue reading

30 Day Book Challenge Day 9:

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence book cover

Most Overrated Book Everybody has their own taste in books. One person’s favourite book is another’s most hated. Sometimes a book comes along that is almost universally loved or loathed and, like people, a book’s reputation is often entirely undeserved. … Continue reading

30 Day Book Challenge Day 8:

Letters of an Indian Judge to an English Gentlewoman book cover

Most Underrated Book In my opinion, one of the most underrated books I have read is a little known book called Letters of an Indian Judge to an English Gentlewoman. First published in 1934, the book takes the form of … Continue reading

30 Day Book Challenge Day 7:

Guilty Pleasures book cover

A Guilty Pleasure Book This is an extremely difficult question for me, because I really don’t have a guilty pleasure book. Having a guilty pleasure book implies that you are ashamed or embarrassed in some way about the book you … Continue reading

30 Day Book Challenge Day 6:

Book You’ve Read the Most Number of Times I am a bit unsure as to the answer for this one, since I am assuming books read over and over (and over and over and over) to my children don’t count. … Continue reading

30 Day Book Challenge Day 3:

The Longest Book You’ve Ever Read Warning: Spoilers! You may find this difficult to believe, considering how much I love books, but I actually have yet to read the most notoriously long books, like War and Peace and so on. … Continue reading

Thirty Day Book Challenge Day 1:

The Changeover: A Supernatural Romance cover by margaret Mahy

A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just end already Warning: Contains Spoilers! This is a difficult one for me because I am generally fairly happy with the length of series’ that … Continue reading

30 Day Book Challenge

I found this challenge at Blogs-Of-A-Bookaholic. Basically, the idea is to post every day for 30 days. But these aren’t random posts – that would be too easy. Instead, every day has a specific book-related theme. Here is the list, … Continue reading


Powerlessness creeps in as a result of setbacks children experience as they strive to feel confident and self-assured. They can’t do things as well as their older siblings or peers, so they feel frustrated. They are criticized and punished and given grades, so they feel judged. They are flooded with messages about how they are supposed to buy, so they feel inadequate. The combined effect of these feelings leads children to retreat to the fortress of powerlessness, either down to the hidden dungeons (passivity) or up to the battlements (agressive pseudo-power).

— Lawrence J. Cohen in Playful Parenting

If I were an animal…

I reckon that if I were put in a position where I had to be an animal, I would want to be a (well cared-for) domestic cat. Think about it. Think about every cat you have ever known. Sure, you have to clean yourself with your tongue, and you have to bury your own crap in a litter box, but so what? You get fed without having to work for it. You can sleep most of the day and play all night. You have a house full of servants (er…people) to clean up after you, cuddle you when you want it and put up with being ignored when you don’t. You pretty much have the run of the house. You are worshiped at home and abroad – practically the entire internet is devoted to you and your brethren. What other animal has it so good?

My ever expanding wishlist

Novels in a Polish bookstore

Novels in a Polish bookstore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As of the date of this post, my wishlist is 2,628 books and it is constantly expanding. Every time I hear of a good book I might like to read, on to my wishlist it goes. Honestly, my wishlist is getting so long, I doubt I’ll put a serious dent in it before I die. It seems like every time I read a book off my wishlist, I hear of another book I’d like to read. Some are newly released, others are old books that I just hadn’t heard of before (in fact, sometimes it seems like everybody but me has heard of them). So where do I (eventually) find out about all these wonderful books?

My main source of information is www.bookcrossing.com and, by extension, the BookCrossing Australia group on LibraryThing. On the BookCrossing site itself, there are several forums where people either discuss books or offer them up as gifts or bookrings. The BookCrossing group on LibraryThing is where those of us who utilise both sites discuss the books we have recently read – what they were, what we thought of them, how they compare to other books, the usual drill. If I see a book mentioned or discussed that seems like it could be interesting, on to my wishlist it goes. LibraryThing is also useful in another way. Every month they have a service called Early Reviewers, where authors and publishers offer free copies of new books in exchange for an honest book review. They also have a section for member giveaways, where members can give away their newly published or pre-loved books. This is an excellent way to find new books to read (with an opportunity to obtain a free copy).

Another way to find out about good books to read is by browsing bookstores – an activity I engage in at every opportunity. Most of the time I don’t actually have any money to spend, but I carry a little notebook to list any book that catches my interest. Bookstores are good, in that they have their books divided into different categories, and they usually have a shelf devoted to new releases. It is also a great place to find out if your favourite author has released anything new recently. Libraries are also a great place to browse the shelves, especially if you like older or out-of-print books.

When combined, magazines and Amazon are a great source of inspiration for non-fiction reads. For example, when I see a book mentioned in a magazine, I will look it up on Amazon. If the blurb on Amazon sounds interesting, I will add the book to my wishlist. Then I will scroll to the section called ‘Customers who bought this item also bought’, and check out the suggestions there. If something seems of interest, I click on it, read the blurb and perhaps add it to my wishlist. I then repeat the process until I run out of books that interest me, or time, whichever comes first. It can be interesting to see how different the subject you finish up on is from the one you originally searched.

My final source of good books is the oldest source of all time – word of mouth. Recommendations from friends and family comprise the smallest percentage of my wishlist books. However, they generally turn out to be the most reliable – probably because they know my taste in books as well as I do myself. Or maybe they just share my taste. Maybe both?

In any case, if you are stuck for something to read, or are simply looking for something outside your usual genre, why not give one of the above methods a try? You just might find yourself pleasantly surprised. As for me, I’m off to work on my goal of reducing my wishlist by at least 5% before I die. Wish me luck – I’m going to need it!

The Bushman’s Farewell to Queensland

Queensland, thou art a land of pests;
Fo flies and fleas one never rests.
E’en now mosquitos round me revel —
In fact they are the very devil.
Sandflies and hornets just as bad —
They nearly drive a fellow mad;
With scorpion and centipede
And stinging ants of every breed;
Fever and ague, with the shakes,
Tarantulas and poisonous snakes;
Iguanas, lizards, cockatoos,
Bushrangers and jackeroos;
Bandicoots and swarms of rats,
Bulldog ants and native cats;
Stunted timber, thirsty plains,
Parched-up deserts, scanty rains;
There’s rivers here you can’t sail ships on
There’s native women without shifts on;
There’s humpies, huts, and wooden houses,
And native men who don’t wear trousers;
There’s Barcoo rot and sandy-blight,
There’s dingoes howling all the night;
There’s curlew’s wail, and croaking frogs,
There’s savage blacks and native dogs;
There’s scentless flowers and stinging trees,
There’s poisonous grass and darling peas
Which drive the cattle raving mad,
Make sheep and horses just as bad;
And then it never rains in reason —
There’s drought one year and flood next season,
Which sweep the squatters’ sheep away
And then there is the devil to pay.
To stay in thee, O land of mutton,
I would not give a single button,
But bid thee now a long farewell,
Thou scorching, sunburnt land of hell!

— Anon. taken from Bill Wannan’s Come in Spinner