Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dodgy birthday cakes, the #9 edition

Amazingly, my biggest girl turned nine on the weekend, how can that be, that I have a NINE year old, who is in year four at school?!

She scored two birthday cakes, one to share with family on the weekend, and one to share with her little mates at school. We are no longer a 10 student school, the population around the lunch table has swelled to seventeen. Which means a fairly sizeable cake for morning tea birthdays!

IMG_2180the first one, a "giant cupcake" I think looked like a giant boob. Perhaps with green icing and the handy smartie scattered over, it might look a little more cupcake like.

The second cake employed the smartie, although not with a lot of thought or artistry.

IMG_2201kids didn't complain, cake, icing and smarties, what else could a mob of kids want to get them a sugar fix?!

IMG_2206And all of a sudden she didn't look so grown up anymore.

On her actual birthday, on the Sunday, we went down to our favourite swimming hole, meeting uncles and aunties and cousins and granma's there for smoko. Granma brought a blow up boat along.

IMG_2188They had a ball trying to row, getting in and falling out.

IMG_2193  Their father claimed that none of them would be getting a call to join a rowing or sculling team any time soon.

Meanwhile, Wally the Dog had his first meeting with his dad, Alfie. It was a typical father and teenage son gathering. Some growling and showing of teeth occurred, and quite a bit of wrassling and rolling about.


   IMG_2197And despite its dogdgi-ness and boob like appearance it was still cake, and was gobbled up. One spoilt big nine year old girl.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

retail therapy, the bargain way

I've had two trips to the city in a very short time frame (each of them an eight hour round trip, and the road didn't get any shorter on the way home the second time) for dental appointments, and I found myself without much on The List**, and time to wander and look.

** The List: when you live far from the shops, like big w and target etc, or any other city sort of retail place that one does not see in regional areas (even truck parts shops and the like for the male shopper) , one keeps a list of things that need to be purchased next time you get there. It could be a long time between visits, so The List can get rather long.

I picked up a few little things at bargain. post Christmas, back to school, sale prices.

IMG_2145Like these glittery christmas decorations for under 30 cents each. I forsee a green theme around the tree this year ;-)

2012-01-22 09.12.03Like these bright tea towels which go well in my blue and cream with a splash of red, kitchen.

2012-01-22 09.15.04 Like these bright and colourful (although without any red) placemats for $3, which didn't seem such a bargain when I got home and realised that the set of 8 was counting the (useless to me) coasters. Our table seats 6, but at least I have enough to set under the plates of the messy eaters in this house!


Like these supremely comfy (although NOT the real deal by any stretch of the imagination) shoes for five bucks which are JUST what I needed to wear around the house and for ducking into town to take the kids for swimming lessons. And let not my puffy post travelling feet put you off, they would probably look quite stunning on a set of legs less fence-postish than mine ;-)!



so with time to kill between appointments, and no where to rush off to, the kids and I had a lovely time poking about and looking at things (scanning items at the price checking stations being GREAT entertainment, not to mention also good for rusty mathematics skills!) The kids each found a small book each that they were allowed to purchase with their pocket money.

Oh, one more thing:

1326945720100A site that is becoming all too familiar.

I do have to say, I really am in no rush to head back to the city shops any time soon, although we already have another appointment booked for three weeks time. Fun times!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the great sock search of twenty twelve

also subtitled, the great jocks search for a boy who doesn't wear them as a rule at home so how could they possibly go missing?!

So, of course all this means that school has started for the year again up here in the north, after a long summer holiday that didn't actually FEEL that long.

I broke the you-don't-need-a-new-lunchbox mandate when I saw these practical bits of cleverness at Target the other day. Of course Kmart, which I visited shortly thereafter, had them in stripes and spots and other lovely patterns but I console myself with the thought that these are ever so more practical at hiding the dirt.

1327186944497what I like about these, is that there is ample room for a sandwhich container, yoghurt, container of biscuits, a WHOLE piece of fruit and room to spare for icepack, poppa or small waterbottle. I have always had issues with trying to fit a whole bit of fruit in a lunchbox.

We also added these to take to school:

2012-01-22 09.07.20I'll let you work out who belongs to which.

So the first day of school they rose bright and early, to the soothing sounds of the generator running.  The power had gone off with a string of wild storms around 8pm the night before, so at daylight we started the generator to keep the fridges and freezers cold. This also meant I could have my coffee and toast, as long as I used each appliance one at a time. The kids were ready for school in record time - I wonder how long that will last?

The obligatory first day photos....

IMG_2130Despite my telling him he was my baby and too little for school (please ignore the un-ironed shorts, I didn't feel like stressing the generator for something so trivial! and the tattoo his sister put on his neck) he was only too happy to scamper off to school with his sisters. I went along too, to fill out the 1001 forms required, and I don't think I even got a 'bye mum' let alone a kiss!


IMG_2129IMG_2136and yet another sterling shot for the album, they really were excited even if they didn't show it.

And the first day of school, on their return? Good. What did you do? Stuff.

It might be another year, but some things never change. Like just where are those bloody socks.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

capturing some little memories

so I don't forget, and they are at least documented SOMEWHERE!

This boy interprets things in funny ways.

IMG_1969We were driving home from the city, and came to where a shower of rain had just finished and the smell of the damp earth wafted into the car. He looked up from his book/toy/DS and exclaimed "I can smell muddy muddles!!"

The kids chose a movie to buy at Big W, Beverley Hills Chihuahua. (Hilarious apparently, going by the giggles that came out of them). He can't say, or chooses not to, say chihuahua.  His version? Chick-a-wow-wow.

We were discussing whether we would go water skiing with friends, boy pipes up and wants to know if we would be going ski-ding. (pronounced skee ding)

We have recently been introduced to Angry Birds, the kids are entranced and want to play on my phone all of the time (they have been allowed five minutes each so far, mean aren't I). Angus keeps asking me if he can play Cranky Chickens.

These are just a few of the things I can remember off the top of my head.....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Branding

After our drenching the day before, coming home and stripping off outside (benefit of living in the sticks! no neighbours) and wandering around in the nuddie if you were under 10 or in knickers if not (neighbours do call in ;-) waiting for the water to heat...no mean feat after the fire wood was also soaked (some petroleum assistance may have been liberally applied to the fire) we settled in for the night, resting up for the adventures of the next day. We were lulled to sleep by the constant bellowing of 500 odd cows and their babies - cows in the paddock scant feet from the house, and calves locked up in the yards. One gets used to the noise, like a constant flow of cars past ones door...its when they all stop that the silence is deafening!

After breakfast, then an early first smoko (another smoko being required later on still!) with the arrival of the extra manpower (brother in law) and woman power (school principal with nothing better to do, and we never turn down free labour!) we got started. Even if there was a bit of hands on hips and waiting for the rhythm and routine to get happening.


IMG_2047Children were in charge of finding their own footwear as we left home. Thongs and crocs is what they packed. They spent most of their time, including in the yards, in bare feet. Normally this sort of behaviour is restrained to folk from the Peninsular as those of us residing further south are meant to be a little more civilised. (although I have an uncle famous for his lack of wearing footwear, and only double-plugger thongs to town on special occasions, so perhaps it IS genetic?!)

This lack of protective footwear meant that I was the one in closer proximity to the calves, penning up, clad in a more sturdy running shoes, mostly because they are more mud friendly. The big girl helped move the calves along the race, keeping her feet away from the sharp toes of the calves. Take it from me, I know from recent experience (ie tromping around in the mud in my own crocs the day before, chasing calves) one does not want to have ones bare foot, or close to bare, stomped on by a calf. Just a heads up, should the situation ever arise ;-)

IMG_2052Being away from the action stations and cranky husbands and brother in laws, meant I had a few moments that I could wield camera without getting dirty looks. Miss Mac the teacher got to work up the front, although was asked if she were patting the calves instead of moving them along at one point. Miss Mac, being a teacher, has a speciality in dirty looks of her own, and is not afraid of using them, although impact on fathers of students is not as effective.

IMG_2070This monkey (the boy perfecting the snarly photo look for weekend) and his little cousin kept themselves busy climbing and digging and staying away from any sort of work. Smart thinkers, these two.IMG_2074 Occasional bouts of poly pipe sword fighting with sisters to liven up the morning.

IMG_2078A closer look at the action, without getting too detailed about the gory bits. The calf is restrained whilst it is branded, earmarked and castrated if necessary. All going well the whole process takes about 50 seconds.

IMG_2106And weather wise, I had no need to implement my grand plan of attaching a sprinkler system to the underside of the roof. There was shade, overcast skies and a slight breeze that made the slightly humid conditions quite pleasant.

We were all done by lunchtime and were able to pack up and head home before dark, leaving a few of these little orphans in the yard to collect the next day.

IMG_2084Meet Droopy and I think Daisy. Kids may have been involved in the naming. :-) 

All over til next year....well not really, there are more calves to be born yet as well as a few babies that were too little to brand. But the bulk of them are done...now I just have to look after my five new poddy friends (Ralph the original poddy at home quite pleased to have some mates of his own species!) and keep the little dears out of my garden and the hay shed. All seems a good idea until one gets them home!

Remind me to introduce you to the whole gang - Barry, Harry, Dobby (slight HP influence) Droopy and Daisy.

Forthcoming adventures in our part of the world will include The Dentist and The First Day of School. Hopefully there will not be any other events requiring capitalisation during that time frame!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Drafting

(Part one of a two part series)

On Saturday morning, after I tidied up from the big storm that hit the evening before, rounded up the kids and their hats, found some food and clothing, packed up the dogs and their food, fed every other living creature in our care, hung a load of washing and packed the kids swags, we headed down to the property for the weekend.

Not sure if you could tell, but I was tired before I got there!

I forgot my DSLR, but had my phone, which did a great job photographically, and MUCH lighter to carry around.

We walked the cows down the lane way to the yards, the kids came along on the back of the four wheeler, and then ran along behind the cows. As blue dogs go, they weren't very obedient. Voice somewhat hoarse and blood pressure up a little before they understood the whistles and hand signals.

2012-01-14 11.07.132012-01-14 11.08.06 We ended up giving this little fellow, not long born, a lift to the yards.

2012-01-14 11.54.18  Dad took this photo of mum and the ringers. One of those perfectly charming shots. And you know what? I bought myself a new work hat, a felt akubra "cowboy" hat. It doesn't feel as good as this old floppy $10 number from Kmart. Although it probably would stay on my head better when belting around on the bike.

We drafted the cows from the calves, and the kids entertained themselves....

2012-01-14 13.38.31Evidently exhausting work, entertaining oneself!

1326516685090In the middle of drafting, as the empty yards became full, we stopped, counted out the drafted cows and let them back into the laneway, making more room for their mates to follow. We count them so we know if all of the cows have come in from the paddock, and if we are short we know we have to go back and look at the paddock again.

2012-01-14 12.12.03 After lunch (and reading Where's Wally, a much loved book received at Christmas)  we went back to finish drafting, and big storm came over...thankfully I had left all electronic devices at the house AND taken off my work boots and replaced them with plastic croc like shoes, I must have known something as it poured rain. Wet to the skin...but we soldiered on, dripping around in our wet clothes and finished the job.

Kids thought it was great fun. As they do, anytime getting wet AND muddy is permitted!

Back later with Part Two, The Branding.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

just what I need to do

home from a weekend looking at cows bums and getting dusty, dirty, then more than a little damp and muddy down at the prickle farm, all of which I will share more of soon.

But first I just want to share THIS, which is just the idea I need.

School year papers & memorabilia organization

The full details can be found HERE on Pinterest. Considering my current filing system of artwork and school work consist of one semester of Kate's prep year (she is now about to start year four) going into a binder and the rest tossed in a box, along with all and anything of Georgie's from the past two years, this could well be the perfectly simple solution.

One large plastic file box per child. School photos, reports (photocopied) artwork - that fits in the box and is flat, otherwise is photographed, etc. Easy to set up, easy to store, easy to put away.

And luckily, I just happen to be heading past an officeworks/big w later this week so I can procure at least ONE plastic file box to get me started, while the idea is in my head and enthusiasm reasonably high. You know me, I am normally an ideas woman and not so much on the follow-through-actually-DO-IT sort! ;-)

And slightly digressing, but still on a sort of similar topic, I don't know about you (it may be a conditioned thing for someone raised/living in the bush where rain or lack thereof can make or break?) but whenever we get some decent rain, and a break from the heat, I find myself refreshed and inspired again.

As now I am obviously rambling and tired from the weekends adventures, including The Branding of The Calves, I will leave you and return again, soonish, at which time I hopefully do not ramble, use poor punctuation and grammar, and make some sense! ;-)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

engineering degree optional but advised

the other day, after the kids finally tidied up, I promised to help build a christmas lego gift.

Help isn't really the right word. I did the work, they helped me, and ducked for cover when mum started swearing.

IMG_2014They weren't the only ones that were happy when it was done. How can such a small thing to take so long to put to-bloody-gether?!

IMG_2019and who designs the expressions on their faces?! the one in the cart looks to be very wicked!

one way to while away the hours of a stinking hot afternoon. At least I was in the airconditioning!

Now, off topic: e-readers? what are your thoughts and experiences, dear blog readers?

Friday, January 13, 2012

afternoon excitement

jan 12 storm front

Storm approaching around 5pm caused no little excitement in this house, with lightning, thunder, hail, wind and around 70mm of rain in a very short period of time. And I think we were on the edge of it!

(FYI, that blue colour under the storm on the right hand side, it isn't blue sky. That is rain and hail, and gosh when you see that coming you start taking the clothes off the line, battening down the hatches and getting yourself inside pretty smartly!)

the other day

I made the girl clean their room (again). They can have their room go from reasonably tidy to disaster zone in a very short period, and it had gone beyond that, with all sorts of stuff kicked under beds and stuffed where it shouldn't be.

I dumped it all the middle and told them to sort, put away and purge. If they didn't do it, I would, and my purging is far more stringent than theirs.

IMG_2002Yep, what an awful mess. And what was bugging me was that outstanding and classy little drawer stand there on the back wall, with its lovely pine colour (don't look at the cupboard, a far bigger project than I am willing to undertake right now). While they took aggggessss to tidy that mess there on the floor, I decided to give that bit of furniture a makeover.

I regretted the impulse the second I opened the paint tin, the paint going on it worth more than the bit of furniture. But like all things it had to get worse before it got better, and thankfully paint was drying in just minutes in our awful heat.

IMG_2003  IMG_2004



It was the quickest job and not one that was done with 100 percent enthusiasm, but now, after a few coats on the important bits, looks much better and hopefully might wear a little better too.

IMG_2010It houses all sorts of (sorted and organised of course) treasure, and two wooden boxes that they mosiac'ed at  school which also hold various girly treasures.(some of which you and I might call CRAP, but I digress)

So now I am reasonably pleased that I DID paint it, even though I remembered as soon as I opened the tin and painted my first stroke of paint on the thing that I don't really like painting!

The girls managed to have their room tidy by around 3pm that day. It took them the best part of the day, even though it should have only taken an hour or so. Hopefully they will remember the pain and not let it get so messy again...but I am not holding my breath!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

reality bites

Its just been a little bit normal crazy around here, the normal sort of crazy that means dealing with animals of all sorts, unexpected trips to the city, the realisation that yet again the school holidays have simply slipped away and school starts in just 12 short days, and with suddenly quite a bit to do between now and then.

And I haven't picked my camera up at all since my last post. In days, maybe a week or more. In fact I've had to think about where it my camera even was for a few seconds! So much for that little plan.

The past few days included a four hour trip to the city in a NON airconditioned car, to take the boy to the dentist. Apparently cleaning his teeth means look at the toothbrush, wave it around a bit, but certainly not doing anything like clean ones teeth with it. (Teeth brushing time is now strongly supervised, when it is normally a time that one might sit in the corner, thanking the lord that they will be in bed a few short minutes) Several dental visits lie in our future.

Thankfully our return from the city was in an airconditioned car. Expensively repaired, although once the initial aghast-ness subdued, very much worth its icy goodness. And my hair is thankful too, no long arriving at our destination with not so much as a windblown look, as electrified and rather scary looking.

The next twelve days will bring mustering and branding calves, during the hottest few days that I think we've had for a long time. The state of my hair will not be an issue, although any chance to enjoy the car airconditioning will be savoured. On the bright side I may sweat out a couple of the Christmas kilos that may have snuck on over the holidays. I'm blaming the rum balls myself.

In the middle of all of the bovine activity will be another dental city trip, a much scarier one for the boy (or perhaps his mother) Have not told him about the needle and whizzy tools that will be used. Pre dentist trip bribery purchase of toy helicopter/car/truck/tractor may be made as incentive to remain in the chair and be brave!

And then the school year for twenty-twelve will begin. And the start of my childfree time between 830am and 230pm. (well, on and off for a bit, our prep days build up gradually, the benefit of a small school).

Are you ready for school to start? Have you bought new lunchboxes? There has been a ban of any further tupperware-like purchases in this household (oh, I love my plastic like I love my shoes!) and even I can see there is nothing wrong with last years lunchboxes. Oh, the pain of making lunches every morning, no more lingering over that cup of coffee and toast.

So much for lazy summer days...what are your plans for the last lingering few lunchbox-free days?  

Friday, January 6, 2012

I should do this

in light of the new year, fresh start etc etc?

wanna join in? I know its the 6th today, but it shouldn't be too hard to catch up! would make a great little photo book when done, or scrapbook page layout, or even just to blog as you go.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

perhaps I should stop trying...


my girls had an exciting day in this case, cleaning out their room. And I forsee some exciting times ahead for myself when I build up the intestinal fortitude and motivation to clean out my wardrobe(s).

Would be even more exciting would be to find that some of the discoveries still fitted however given that we have been soldiering through a whole left over trifle from New Years Eve, not to mention the odd rum ball or ten, that is highly unlikely!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

another year over

and a new one begun...and although I have the new diary out, more out of necessity than feeling like a page has turned, it pretty much feels like just the same old same old.

Except I have realised, with despair, that we have only three short weeks left of our school holidays. I think we've been robbed, where has the time gone?!

But in an attempt to give myself a recap of the year that was and look forward with bright eyes and a refreshed mind (note to self: resolution: go to bed earlier!) here follows a no so little slideshow of 2011....warning - it goes for 9:57 - either I take too many photos or it really was a whopper of a year.

Here we go....

and if that doesn't work, you might be able to see it directly on you tube (the only way I know how to get a movie on here) HERE.

Tomorrow brings a funeral for us, sad but also a celebration of a life well lived, and something to to inspire and aspire to.

Happy New Year everyone, may 2012 be inspiring and wonderful for you all.

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