Author Archives: yagerbabies

About yagerbabies

I'm as honest a person as your going to get. Like me, hate me; I really don't mind.

A lesson for you, a lesson for me.

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Facts I’ve learned from being a parent.

  1. Hardest thing I will ever do.
  2. Most important thing I’ll ever do.

Two weeks ago now I got up and got my kids ready for school as I do every other weekday. We rushed around, yelled at each other to find socks and hurry up breakfast. We called for stolen underwear and cried over misplaced bus passes. We got shoes mixed up, one all lefts and one all rights.

Then finally Bella declared she was ready. With a quick peck on the cheek she was off.

Half hour later I was buckling aka wrestling, children into car seats and off to the bus stop myself.

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I was in the shower, wrist deep in chemicals scrubbing the tiles when the phone rang. Molly and Buddy were happily playing and allowing me this moment of domestic bliss aka hell, so I let it ring and kept on scrubbing.

It rang again.

FINE.

I stopped and went for the phone but missed it.

I listened to the message that was left and I heard something along the lines of…

“Mrs Yager, this is Mr… from the high school. Please call us immediately, Bella has taken prescription tablets. Call us immediately.”

My heart dropped. I began to shake.

“What the heck?” (or something similar went through my mind.) My child? MY child???

It was panic.

I did not expect this on this ordinary day. Actually….any day.

Ever.

I called. And was informed that a fellow student, a young girl had raided her mum’s medicine cabinet and grabbed what she could and decided to bring it to school, and that Bella and 4 other kids had taken some.

They’d called the poison hotline and were told that what they’d swallowed was an anit-nausea tablet.

(But those kids wouldn’t have known that! It had a big long name on the bottle.)

The part that distressed me the most?

My daughter simply put something in her mouth and swallowed it.

Would she have done the same if offered rat sack or some serious drug by a ‘friend’?

Highly possible.

This is not what I’ve taught her.

This is not AT ALL what I’ve taught her.

She wouldn’t take something from a stranger…(or would she?) but she would from a ‘friend’?

How did this happen???

Bella’s side…

“My friend* showed us the bottle of tablets and said she wanted to get high, I’m not sure what that is…. She asked me and my other friend if we wanted one and we said no. But when the bell rang my friend changed her mind and said she’d try one. I said I’d have one too. I bit the tablet and it tasted gross so I spit it out, but my friend said to have the rest so I put the other half in my mouth and she gave me her fizzy drink to swallow it with so I did.”

Oh god, hard to hear, but I wanted to know what went through her mind.

Not a lot as it appears.

Thankfully another student saw the kids doing this and told a teacher about it. They immediately searched for the bottle, which the ‘owner’ had thrown in the bin and they called all the kids involved into the office to keep an eye on them and call parents and for medical advice.

After meeting with the vice principal and crying like a distraught idiot, thankful I was picking up my child from the high school with a two-day mandatory suspension rather than visiting her in hospital in a coma!

We came home.

An hour or so later I was called from the high school again.

They further informed me that the drink Bella was given to swallow the pill was full of vodka!!!

Bella didn’t even know.

The told me they’d called the poison hotline again and that by now if ‘anything was going to happen it would have by now.’

Pills and alcohol???? 12???

What?!?!

Why?!?!

I’d been so happy for Bella having made new friends, she’d joined the principals award scheme….she wasn’t at all focusing on her education (this was not entirely a surprise with Bella though) but I was confident that once she’d settled with this new group of ‘friends’ she would get into the routine of learning.

To say I was wrong and living in some magical fantasy land is an understatement. Not all things work out, not all things ‘fall into place’ without some persistent guiding.

The 12-year-old girl who’d decided to get ‘high’ that random day and raid her parents alcohol and medicine cabinet for some unknown reason and then involve MY daughter…..and then with a ‘friend’ decided to ‘rough up’ the student who had informed the teacher!

Honestly, if they’d taken something dangerous (or MORE dangerous) they’d be thanking that kid!!!

I had no clue this would happen or be happening….I’m not ignorant and I did stupid things when I was young….but I’d been aiming for ‘difficulties’ of this sort for around year nine…never if I was one of the lucky mums.

I am not proud to admit the fact that in this scenario, I would have been the instigator….I would have been the girl who’d raided the cupboard….I was the ring leader…..I was never one for peer pressure….or to pressure others…I just did whatever I wanted, stupid things or not….Figuring that Glen and I rarely drink let alone have a supply of alcohol in the house and the strongest medication in our house is panadol….I just didn’t think that others would expose my child to these things…………

I figured if Bella was curious she’d talk to me or question me, we’ve had many an awkward and uncomfortable conversation I wished we hadn’t but glad in the end she’s confident to come to me….

But there wasn’t even any forethought…no motive in this split second decision to ‘just do it.’

This was not what I expect from Bella, in the first term of year seven.

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It’s no secret that I am open to home education.

And that is exactly the path we’ve chosen to travel now.

The school snail mailed me a ‘plan’ for Bella’s future involving behavioural tactics and binge drug and alcohol type educating…..

but….

I mean when the principal of a school who didn’t even know your child existed as an individual until something bad has happened holds a piece of paper in front of your face so your child can’t see that reads ‘head lolling to the side’ and ‘eyes rolling back in the head’ are the possible symptoms of the pill she’s taken…….

Well…..

What can I say?

I think I should have a greater say in the ‘plan for Bella’s future.’

I’d decided long ago that home education is the BETTER option for education, especially for Bella as an individual. I know her well. I know that she doesn’t take her education seriously, I know that school is merely a social gathering for her. I know that teachers are over worked and don’t have the excessive amounts of time (or patience) they’d need to get Bella up to speed in every class.

She’s ALWAYS been left behind in school, one of those kids that are difficult to teach and doesn’t learn in the same way a majority of the class does and no one ever makes room for the minority.

As long as the top two thirds of a class passes…..the rest are just labelled ‘slow’ or ‘difficult.’

Her Maths is barely at a year five level, and her spelling is terrible, she’s only now in the last two weeks of home education learnt how to tell the time!

The views of others and the idea that home education is only for ‘religious’ families or ‘weirdos’ was enough to make me settle for a system I don’t care for.

Dear me….peer pressure…DID get to me.

People’s constant ‘oh but what about socialising?’

It just felt easier to do the ‘normal’ thing, to avoid criticism even if I didn’t feel comfortable with it. But you know what?

SCREW THAT!

There have been many incidents where I have been tempted to remove Bella from school. Like being teased and bullied by year ten boys who’d ‘asked her out’ and when she’d called them idiots been bombarded ever since. By girls who make her feel inferior because she doesn’t have the newest of Apple gadgets, kids who make her feel bad about herself because of pimples…(mind you ever second child at that age has them!)

This was the last straw.

Combined with Bella’s lack of comprehension of the gravity of what happened and her lack of thought into it….

This is a slippery slope I’m putting an obstacle in front of.

Enough is enough.

This is our second week of home education and I am so impressed with how she’s working and how well everything is going.

Being a perfectionist I am making sure I don’t miss a thing while still being as relaxed and caring as possible.

I am not aiming for a nazi holding a wooden ruler over her knuckles. I am aiming for a loving environment of inspiration and complete involvement of Bella’s wants and needs where education is more of an absorption rather than a forced feeding.

She’s joined a choir, and drama classes and art lessons which she has chosen. (Hello socialisation with like-minded peers!)

No more messy mosh pit, which there is much time for once she’s developed a healthy dose of maturity and sense of self. I mean this had been a concern of mine too, not having enough time to mingle and be with people, but I was mistaken. She has been able to come to senior citizen morning teas, join groups during school hours….personally I believe she’s had MORE quality socialisation since being removed from school!

She’s enrolled in guitar, piano and photography lessons online.

She’s researching inspirational women who’ve made positive changes in this world for English and reading books which she’d never previously been interested. We’re learning about Australian history and currently in the middle of a project about colonial life, we’re visiting an antique store tomorrow so Bella can test out her new photography skills, taking pictures of items from the 1800′s to create a collage of what life must have been like.

Science, we’re focusing on understanding the human body, how and why it is so amazing in all it’s capabilities and we’ve begun an awesome bug board, collecting insects of all kinds and researching them and adding the information to the board.

Maths we’re simply taking it easy, working on Bella gaining the skills she’d missed out on in school and raising her awareness of the basics like time, money and fractions and from there we will expand once her skills are up to speed.

She’s begun an art journal which we’ve recycled from a beautiful old hardcover book, we’ll be trying out different techniques and making notes and adding it all together to create something she can treasure forever.

At the moment we’re working on her cooking skills and if she decides to move onto sewing, or jewellery making, or wood working, or whatever…. we will.

There’s a lot of learning going on in this house in areas like this anyway, basically we’ve just had to figure out the levels at which she is at and add what society requires of us. Then record and document her progress.

We’ve added world and current affairs which will include learning about the world and people in it and their unique lives and situations, we’ll include volunteer and community work, inventing and implementing fundraisers. I’d like Bella to gain an appreciation of her own life through helping others and understanding how lucky she is, even if she doesn’t have the newest of gadgets. I’d like her to feel useful and worthy and capable of making a difference.

I want to teach her to be a good person.

I want her to learn.

I want her to have friends.

I think she can have both even if it is separate.

So I guess this will be the first of many ‘home education’ posts that is if I get the time. I am still studying myself!

I do not assume it will be easy or always fun, but I do know that it is the very best thing I can do for my own daughter as an individual and if I weren’t prepared to sacrifice, work hard and do all that I possibly could for her then perhaps I should never have become a parent.

So good luck to Bella, good luck to me.

This is just another life lesson to learn and grow from.

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If you’re a home schooling mum I’d love for you to contact me, I’m sure I’ll need advice and encouragement along the way.

I hope all is good in the world you live.

xox

Food Hero

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Originally posted on The Eco Princess:

I am hardly a food hero, but I do know what it is like to not have food.

At the age of 14 I lived on the streets (technically youth housing, but I found roaming the streets at night safer?!) I know what it is like to have no food, no way of buying food or getting food. It leaves you completely helpless, hopeless, vulnerable and afraid.

Things like the 40 hour famine are a good idea to raise money but even if you participate and ‘not eat’ you still have that peace of mind that if you do get too hungry you can simply open your fridge.

Go to www.oxfam.org.au/foodhero and sign up. It is free and there are no obligations except that you help spread the word. Seriously if you CAN’T do that…well…tut, tut.

Poverty and starvation are FACTS in many people’s lives daily.

They are in pain…

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My precious little beings.

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The life of a fairy princess can at times be stressful

The life of a fairy princess can at times be stressful

 

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behind the scenes

behind the scenes

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behind the scenes

behind the scenes

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And…………….I found these gorgeous portraits of Violet and Molly on my sd card taken by Bella! She must have taken them when I ducked inside.

What a nice surprise!

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And to finish…..I tried my hardest to get a shot of all my babies together, but unfortunately Buddy had lost his pants before I could.

Though he kept them on for a full 25 minutes and that’s a bonus!

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Well we’re off now to take our pretties from the line and be busy being princesses and princes!

xox

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Feed your belly & heart & soul.

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For the past 6 weeks we’ve been trialling a new diet in our house, now I must stress that by using the word ‘diet’ I don’t mean we are trying to loss weight and I don’t mean that we are restricting our food so that we’re starving all the time!

I mean diet as in a new set of foods we consume.

I got extremely tired of the guilt I felt at feeding my kids things which in my heart knew were bad for them.

Sugar, fat, chemicals. (and that’s just the shortlist!)

Yuck.

However I didn’t want my kids to feel like they were missing out on anything, I knew if I cut out everything they liked and replaced it with something leafy and green they’d basically hate me for ruining their lives.

1 egg, 1 cup wholemeal flour, 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 banana. (double or triple) Place in a bowl and beat into a batter. Add tablespoons to a hot pan, flip when bubbles arise. Serve with strawberries and drizzle with teaspoon of honey.

1 egg, 1 cup wholemeal flour, 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 banana. (You can easily double or triple this recipe)
Place in a bowl and beat into a batter. Add tablespoons to a hot pan, flip when bubbles arise. Serve with strawberries and drizzle with teaspoon of honey.

 

So, I’ve had to be creative.

I am working on the principal of ‘if it comes from Earth, ie plants and animals it is natural, therefore healthy.’

So we eat fruits, nuts, veggies, eggs, meat, honey. I make exceptions with wholemeal flour and bread and also our overly processed milk.

I make them hot chips, only I bake them. We have air popped pop corn sprinkled with herbs or natural salt as a crunchy salty alternative to chips. We’ve swapped white rice for brown (which is actually yummier) We have a handful of dried fruits or frozen berries instead of lollies. We freeze our own fresh squeezed juices instead of ice cream or icy poles. We have porridge with sultanas or honey for breaky, wholemeal salad wraps for lunch.

Fruit for dessert.

Baked pineapple/capsicum/prawn with brown rice with egg and vegetables.

Baked pineapple/capsicum/prawn with brown rice with egg and vegetables.

There are lots of better choices to make.

We no longer buy sugar instead we used dried fruits or honey as a sweetener and the kids have adjusted without complaint our aim was not so much to cut down on sugar but more to find a natural healthier alternative.

We no longer use butter at all, not for sandwiches or toast or for cooking. It wasn’t a big deal we got over it, though I’ve had a harder time trying to find alternatives for baking purposes, which I must admit has taken a bit of trial and error but I got there.

Fruit, veg and chicken diced, skewered and barbequed.

Fruit, veg and chicken diced, skewered and barbequed.

Making things for the kids lunch boxes has been the hardest part, I’d normally make some muffins or cakes to make up part of their recess but I’ve finally got a small list of recipes and the kids love it.

(Thank goodness.)

ALSO I wanted to add before you say things like “I can’t afford to eat like that!” rethink it. Price is always the biggest thing I face when grocery shopping, considering how much I LOVE food I really dislike spending money on it but like to make sure we have plenty on hand.

Baked vegetables and chicken with home-made cheese (unsalted/unsweetened) on home-made wholemeal tortillas.

Baked vegetables and chicken with home-made cheese (unsalted/unsweetened) on home-made wholemeal tortillas.

It is a little trickier for me to work out simply because I shop fortnightly and there is a whole lot more fresh food to deal with but it is possible. I’ve gotten my ‘shop’ shopping (things like toilet paper, flour, rice and meat) down to $100 a fortnight. I use online shopping instead of going into the shops, it has saved me so much, (not to mention the stress) even if I am tempted by something online I can ‘add it to my trolley’ and at the end I can cull my shopping.

You end up with only the essentials in your trolley before even committing to purchasing it.

It is really rewarding being able to cull your total shopping price from $150 back down to $100 knowing that you probably shouldn’t have added that second packet of busicuts anyway.

Buying 3 prawns per person is affordable (compare specials while shopping online)

Buying 3 prawns per person is affordable (compare specials while shopping online)

(Can you tell I LOVE online grocery shopping?)

Using a dash of water to avoid sticking the pan instead of oils or butter and use the lid during cooking. Yummy, moist meat!

Using a dash of water to avoid sticking the pan instead of oils or butter and use the lid during cooking. Yummy, moist meat!

Meat I refuse to buy anything processed so I choose hormone free meats.

This can get costly so I have decided to halve our meat intake as we eat a lot and don’t need meat every single day. (though you may not have a family of 7 to think about.) I substitute with eggs and other protein filled foods. Instead of pulling 4 chicken breasts from the freezer I only get out too and make it stretch by dicing it and adding to a rice dish or we just have smaller portions and add more veg.

I then have $100 to take with me into the fresh food shop. Who the heck cares if I’m tempted into buying an extra kilogram of plums?! Or that extra head of broccoli?

Just make sure if you choose to shop this way you are prepared to use the fresh food before it goes bad, otherwise its a waste of money no matter how cheap. Be creative, check the fridge to see what NEEDS to be used and jump on google for recipes and try something new. Don’t forget to take a risk here and there recipes don’t HAVE to be followed strictly, if something requires a huge lump of butter, swap it for cooked pumpkin for savory, banana for sweet (or again google alternatives.)

OR you could do the responsible thing and plan out your healthy meals. (I wish I was disciplined enough for that.)

Oh and !!!!FOR GOODNESS SAKES!!!! DO NOT buy drinks!!! Why would you waste money on sugary poison when we have free water coming straight from the taps?!

I don’t get it.

(though I do drink coffee with skim milk AND tea…so I’m a hypocrite I guess. DON’T ADD SUGAR!!!)

Anyway…enough blabbing….

Here’s a recipe for my Mango & Pumpkin cake. (alternatively strawberry & banana)

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  • 1/2 cup cooked and cooled pumpkin cubes (OR 2 bananas)
  • 1 med-large mango (OR I cup chopped strawberries)
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups 100% wholemeal self-raising flour

Now literally add it all to a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Pour into a greased (use a spray oil lightly) cake tin or loaf pan and bake at 180 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown and springy to the touch.

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It’s simple, its delicious and moist (thank you pumpkin/banana) and there’s nothing in it that I would feel bad about my children eating in a slice of cake.

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It’s been hard to find things that I can bake that are 100% natural but I’m still trying. Feel free to add a link in the comments to any healthy treats you have made.

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There are many health benefits of eating ‘the way nature intended’ we don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything we’re just trading for natural alternatives and using different cooking methods to avoid the added fats and oils.

Our behaviours are calm yet energetic, we’re soaking in the vitamins and minerals! Our skin hair and nails are much healthier and we all just feel good knowing we’re not stock piling unhealthy chemicals and fats inside our precious bodies.

We only get one, so we intend to keep ours happy!

Have a lovely, healthy day!

Life in this moment ~ and our animal friend photos.

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This is quite a random post I know; I know.

I wanted to write about our lovely furry/scaley/feathery friends but I also wanted to give an update on all our exciting family life goings on too.

So I’m doing both. Why not?

Our baby chooks getting bigger. Snuggling onto their favourite mat (?!)

Our baby chooks getting bigger. Snuggling onto their favourite mat (?!)

School has returned and again it reminds me of just how much my little ones aren’t so little anymore. Bella is in high school and so far she loves it. She likes feeling grown up, packing all her rather large high school books in the evenings and making sure she’s gotten herself ready by 7.35am as this is the time she needs to head off on the 10 minute walk to her bus stop.

Needless to say I stressed myself unnecessarily with logistics of having 5 children in 3 different schools. Bella in high school catching a bus from the end of our road (2kms away…) Violet and Sophie in primary catching another bus from 15 minutes drive away from home and then Molly and Buddy needing to be driven 25 minutes away for preschool on Tuesdays.

I figured it out pretty quick and now regret my pointlessly wasted energy. All that matters is that they reach school on time, in a relatively neat and tidy state and also are picked up.

Which they are.

Our new fishies. Princess Sparkles, Dollar and Spodges.

Our new fishies. Princess Sparkles, Dollar and Spodges.

Everything else is just detail.

Sophie turned 7 in January and had her ears pierced, she was so nervous but was so proud of herself when the beautician announced that she was the ‘first little girl she’d heard laughing during the pain.” (perhaps this is a weird mix of emotions she’s inherited from her mother and aunt. I broke my foot and could do nothing but laugh hysterically. Nic badly hurt her ankle in a moped accident requiring skin grafts and surgery…but as she lay in the gutter with bones hanging out all she could do was laugh! Better than crying in agony I guess!)

Sophie’s now in year 2 and LOVES it, she adores her new teacher which she’d already had quite a good relationship with being a small school and all also from being a part of the small schools, big impact concert last year which her teacher choreographed and led.

I think she’s also enjoying NOT sharing a classroom with her little sis Violet.

Violet has been tending to her ‘fairy gardens’ which have popped up. We’re convinced that they like Violet due to her cuteness and pixie like features and have decided to sprout large patches of purple flowering weeds of different varieties around the place, in her honour (actually pretty cool)we circle them with large branches to make them more garden bed like despite their random placement.

Pepper and Tinker bell living the high life.

Pepper and Tinker bell living the high life.

She’s in grade 1 and is still with her amazingly lovely teach from last year and she too is happy that she has the class and her friends to herself with Sophie in a separate classroom. Her reading has picked up over the holidays, I think she just needed that little bit extra maturity and patience.

Molly Moo is still interesting and now has an imaginary friend. Well she’s had her for roughly a year now, as her speaking has gotten better we’ve all become more intrigued by her stories of her friend and take her more seriously when she talks mentions her. Her name is Strawberry and occasionally I’m almost convinced she is real, or maybe a past life Molly herself has had. Molly’s imagination is so vivid and descriptive, she talks about Strawberry as if she has sat back and watched this other individuals life from beginning to end as if it were a movie. She can intimately describe different times in Strawberry’s life. It’s actually pretty cool.

Molly lost her first tooth, which annoyed the heck out of Violet who was yet to lose her first. Molly had been telling me she had a wobbly tooth for a couple of weeks but as Violet hadn’t lost any at the age of 5.5 and Molly only recently turning 4 in Sept last year I figured she was kidding. She often sees something on telly like someone with a broken leg and then hops around saying hers is broke too.

I thought it was one of those cases. Until one night she said “Wobble it mum.” I did and was like “oh my god, you weren’t joking.”

It was hanging on by a string!

She asked me to pull it out.

King blue

King blue

So I did.

She was so overwhelmed and happy, giggling and rambling about the tooth fairy. I was so happy for her and proud too. I told her she should have a look in the mirror, as I mentioned this she beamed a smile….which allowed me to see her new gap AND her mouth full of blood.

I quickly decided her happiness would turn to horror if she saw it so Glen and I distracted her, instead deciding to hurry to bed so the tooth fairy would come.

We put her tooth in a glass of water by her bed.

Bella snapping some pictures of Pooki, our budgie....adopted from my sister Nicole.

Bella snapping some pictures of Pooki, our budgie….adopted from my sister Nicole.

As I said Violet wasn’t happy the tooth fairy visited Molly before her and two days later Violet came home with an envelope from her teacher, it read -

“Dear tooth fairy, enclosed is Violet’s tooth which she lost in class today. Thank you.”

Violet’s first tooth!

The very next day, Molly lost her second tooth!

The tooth fairy was very busy this past week!!! (and hoping for an early night at some point……)

Buddy, my adorable Buddy Robert…he’s gotten so big and besides the occasional accident is totally toilet trained. No more nappies for this mum. (I feel so old and unwanted.)

My lovely Chapman

My lovely Chapman

He will be 3 in June coming and is far too big and heavy for me to even consider him a baby anymore (but I do…and probably always will) he is speaking so well now even though most of the things he says have been picked up from his sisters. To mention a few….

Damn it!

What the?!

I hate you.

Though he does say some very lovely things which melt my heart like….

Tank you Mama….

I lub you Mama.

Peace out man.

Sweet dreams.

Awwww!! I could squish that kid…..

and I don’t care if I sound like a gushing, biased mother because I am one.

He’s just perfect (despite his tantrums and naughtiness.)

King Red

King Red

Glen and I are good too! And decided to make positive changes in our own personal lives to create a stronger, happier life for us all as a family in the long-term.

I have final pin pointed what I would like to do with my life, and thankfully at a convenient time. With Molly in school next year and Buddy beginning in 2017, the timing could not be better. I can almost seamlessly move from stay at home mum, to kids in school mum at work…mum (or whatever they’re called these days.) I have decided to follow my passion, decided to do something I feel naturally inclined to be a part of. Really it is just a continuation of the life I already have in a sense, the furthering of skills and knowledge I am interested in.

This is GrapeSeed, a poor little sugar glider who was tangled in our barbed wire fence.

This is GrapeSeed, a poor little sugar glider who was tangled in our barbed wire fence.

I am going to university to become a midwife.

I begin studying in a week or so.

I am more than excited! I am passionately obsessed.

I have once again quit Facebook and returned inward to create a little quiet, intensely focused bubble….it’s how I get things done. I’ve started reading and researching, I figure a little insider information wouldn’t hurt and I am determined to do this to the best of my humanly capable possibilities!!! (did that even make sense?)

Cheeky Tinker Bell

Cheeky Tinker Bell

Though with it comes massive planning issues for me, like the fact that as of next year I must study on campus, which currently is 2 hours away. So perhaps a relocation is in order. Having to be there 4-5 days a week over 3 years with five children to organise for school which begins promptly at 9 and over at 3…well it will take all my determination, will power, motivation but I am fairly certain I am not the only woman on earth to have managed something similar and I know I can if I really try.

It may be tough but we’re young and adaptable. We will get through this and be better for it.

Anyway…enough about me…

Glen would love to become a policeman one day, he’s mentioned it on more than one occasion, he gets excited about it and finally I said he should “DO IT.”

I guess he married the right person if he was looking for a pushy butt kicker to motivate him.

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And I’d be happy to do it. I’d love for him to be happy and doing something in his life that he’s dreamed of.

Glen’s goal has also motivated me further in mine, because he is currently our money-maker, so I MUST obtain my goals so that we can afford him to take the time off in order to do the training needed to reach his.

I guess for the first time in my life I have a 5 year plan.

WE have a plan! (and admittedly, it kinda feels good.)

My beautiful Ginger-Blu

My beautiful Ginger-Blu

I am of the mind that anything is possible with encouragement, determination and enough passion to want something so bad. I’ve never had a support network so I have always had to either push myself or do nothing. I’m actually quite grateful to have no one but myself to blame for either my failings or success.

I do it OR I do not do it.

Simple as that.

I mean..my ultimate motivation is death, as morbid as it sounds…it’s true. I feel intense sorrow for those who spend their entire lives in situations they hate. I have seen it too often. I can’t stand people who have no motivation to do something about their circumstances when most things are possible and we are extremely lucky to live in this country.

Not everyone has the opportunities we do.

Take advantage.

Be who you want to be. Do what you want to do. Yeeeeah. (That sounds like an ad of some sort….I can hear the tune in my head….)

Forget your excuses! (And I am the worst for them.)

I think my main goal in life is to end it knowing I’d done what made me happy and perhaps inspired others to do the same. We’re always saying “life’s to short…blah blah blah.”

But who actually LIVES by it?

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I hope that Glen and I can also give our kids some valuable life lessons to. They’ll be right there to see us struggle and succeed, They’ll have a real understanding of what it takes to get to where you want to be, they can join in our progress and I hope that they too, no matter how, where or what they choose to do they; realise that limitations are not real.

They’re just our heads telling us they are.

I hope I can show my children that it doesn’t matter how old you are you can change your path. Life is a changing, moving, progressing thing and it doesn’t have to be done ‘right’ it just has to be done passionately and enthusiastically at every age you ever are.

Life isn’t really a ‘path’ I’ve learnt, but more of a web. We are at the centre and we have 360 degrees of options branching away from us, not just one we must travel with blinders on. It has many strands all of which offer some kind of lesson and it’s totally okay to travel along one thread only to return to your centre, self-asses and chose another instead.

I’ve dabbled and explored, experienced much of what life can offer, been places, done random things, gained stuff and lost stuff, tried things, succeeded and failed and at the end of the day it is what makes me happy that pulls me closer.

Drawing me in toward my ultimate purpose.

And I would like that for Glen and my children too.

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We’re still young. We can still change our minds about who we are and what we want to be when we grow up (and so can you, no matter the number of years you have been here.)

So there you have it.

A new path (opps…I should probably use my terms…) a new strand/thread for our family.

I’m excited though I think I mentioned that.

I hope you enjoyed my animals pics….as random as it was.

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Take care and be good! (what ever your definition of ‘good’ may be.)

xo

Princess vs Goddess ~ Which are you?

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While watching yet another spoilt, blonde celebrity prance around in a fancy dress on television my mind kind of wandered into think about women and our understanding of ourselves.

When it comes to my thoughts about women I am very passionate, firstly because I am one and proud to be, secondly because I feel throughout history we’ve been constantly pushed down. Further and further from the equal position we deserve.

I am passionate about our potential, about our compassion, our love, our natural instincts and the amazing physical abilities we possess.

I think we’re not yet at a point of total understanding of just how wonderful and capable and brilliant we are.

I also think sometimes we devalue ourselves, we do not respect ourselves and occasionally we do not stand up for ourselves.

My mind wandering so far, I decided it would be nice to be a goddess. It would be… wouldn’t it???

To be able to fully know how great we are, to be content within our own skin regardless of it’s colour or shape or size. To be proud to be a woman and to be able to flaunt it in approriatly and naturally feminine ways. It would be nice to embrace all of what it means to be a woman, the mothering, the nurturing, the passion and love, the weaknesses and flaws and simply love it all.

It would be good to be a goddess, because I believe she would be the kind of woman who’d know.

Who’d just KNOW how to do and be all those things. Comfortably, without force, without fake.

So I googled.

How to be a goddess?

Not that I imagined any google site would give me godlike powers or a magical sceptre or anything.

And what I found was astounding.

I found that the desire to BE a goddess in this day and age, isn’t something that only I thought would be nice, there are entire goddess communities and forums out there. And to live like a goddess is rather simple to accomplish…I also I found myself quite pleased by the fact that from what I’d read…I was practically a goddess already!

Are you one too???

Here are some characteristics of a modern goddess.

  1. Be kind and caring. Use soft words and speak from love not anger or hate.
  2. Be natural, light make-up if any at all, let your natural beauty shine through.
  3. Be confident about who you are. You choose sensual over sexy.
  4. Look after nature, animals and your family.
  5. Eat like a goddess, fruits, nuts and vegetables. You don’t see goddesses lounging around eating greasy KFC now do you?
  6. Do not be demanding.
  7. Re-use, recycle.
  8. Be appreciative of all you have and appreciate simplicity.
  9. Respect yourself and others deeply, but never ever let anyone walk all over you.
  10. Relax. Take time to have a bath or a rest in the afternoon sun.
  11. Drink water, it cleanses your skin and body.
  12. Dress neatly, comfortably and casually, there’s no need to dress to impress.
  13. Take pride in your own projects and interests. They make you unique and mysterious.
  14. Your health is important, a healthy inside makes your outside glow.
  15. Share. Be selfless and generous.

Okay so I may not be 100% goddess worthy yet, but I shall try my hardest.

On the other hand a princess is a bit different.

Are you one?….

Here are some princessy traits.

  1. Be selfish, you come first and you know it.
  2. Pout.
  3. Only the best will do for you.
  4. Things with price tags matter.
  5. False things enhance your beauty, think nails, hair extensions, loads of make-up.
  6. Dress to impress. ALWAYS.
  7. Sexy. Being coy is not an option.
  8. Your home is a display of your financial worth.
  9. People are important as long as they have skills and ideas that can benefit you.
  10. You eat what you want, say what you want and do what you want. When you want.
  11. Everything is an accessory.
  12. Things must go your way.
  13. You’re impatient.
  14. The environment hasn’t got anything to do with you.
  15. Your health is important only if something is wrong with it.

Alright so being a princess sounds a little harsh. But there are women out there who choose daily to be more Princess than Goddess.

And that’s entirely their choice and we’re all free to have one.

So which do you think you are????

Which would you like to work towards and how come?

Here’s a couple of recipes for the goddess is you.

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Toasted museli.

You’ll need

  • 2 cups of rolled oats.
  • 1 cup of almonds.
  • 1 cup of walnuts.
  • 1 cup of sunflower kernels.
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut.
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts.
  • 2 tablespoons of natural honey.
  • 1 cup of sultanas.

***You can adjust the amounts in anyway you like, you can add or take away anything thing too. I usually make a HUGE batch and put into an ice cream container so it’s ready to go.***

In a pan or fry pan put all the dry ingredients in on a medium heat and stir occasionally. Keep doing this until you can smell a delicious toasty nutty smell and add your honey. Stir until it is through all your yummy seeds, nuts and oats. Allow to cool and yet!

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We have ours with skim milk as a cereal, we also eat it with our home-made yoghurt which is no sugar no fat. You can use any you like though. And I also LOVE it just as a snack. It’s also yummy sprinkled over a fruit salad for some toasty crunch.

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BBQ rainbow chicken skewers with grilled bananas.

You’ll need

  • 2 chicken breasts (this feeds 7 of us)
  • Capsicum
  • Pineapple
  • peach
  • mango
  • onion
  • tomato
  • mushroom
  • zucchini
  • AND any other fruits or vegetables you like.
  • Bananas.

These are so simple and fun for the whole family to make. Dice your chicken and vegetables and fruits. Skewer 7 (or so) cubes of food onto your sticks. Leaving some with only fruit or veg. Spread the chicken around, only 1 or 2 pieces per skewer. Allowing your kids to make their own lets them chose their favourite foods, or create colourful patterns that they’ll be more likely to eat.

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Cut your bananas in half and then slice those halves in half lengthways.

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Cook skewers on the bbq (or inside…you choose) place bananas flesh side down to get some colour. We squeeze lemon juice over ours for a yummy tangy bite.

Enjoy!

Sour Beans side dish.

This is SOOOO good. we all know how boring beans can be sometimes, this little dressing makes them so moreish even my kids like it!

You’ll need

  • beans…obviously.
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon of honey.
  • dash of tabasco (if you choose)

Bring a small pot of water to the boil and throw in your beans. The water will stop boiling for a little while, one it boils again. Count to 25 and take them out. They’ll be bright green and heated. That’s perfect!SONY DSC

Mix all the remaining liquid ingredients together to make your dressing. Taste it! If it’s too sour, add a tiny more honey. Too sweet? Add a little more sweet chilli…play with it until you get a perfect, tangy sweetness that’s to your liking. Pour over your beans and allow them to sit for a few minutes.

Eat!!! I have just this for lunch often I like it that much! And you cannot feel bad about having a couple of handfuls of beans for lunch can you?! I also serve it with some baked vegetables or salad an fish.

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AND IT’S GOOD COLD TOO!!!

 

Anyway I’m off to go do some goddess type things…like making my home neat and tidy…and drinking lemon lime water…playing Uno with the kiddies!!!

 

An old Earth

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I spent Sunday night alone in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

I did tell myself before I began this post “Do NOT try to explain yourself or justify your little break to anyone. You deserved it!”

Well so much for that. I felt guilty before I went, and also after but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it! So I’ll allow myself a little justifying and explaining, if not for anyone but myself.

I think I’ve mentioned this before so forgive me if I bore you, but I was told many times as a child and as a young parent by my grandmother that once you have a child, your child must come first and yourself second. If you have 2 children you then become third and so on.

So now with five lovely children AND a husband…Little old mama comes in at the bottom of the food chain in 7th place and to be honest it shows.

I get the ‘ugly’ plate at dinner, I make sure my children and Glen have attractive looking meals on pretty plates, and then by the time I get to mine it’s more of a heap of edible food stuffs…yes on the ugly plate. I’m kind of over caring about presentation with the 7th serving of the 3rd meal of the day.

I also get to sit last.

I get to sleep last, I get to do everything last.

OH…well I do get to wake first however.

The school holidays have been long and I really wanted a touch of time out. I wanted to be first for something, I wanted to just put on my shoes and go for a walk….not spend an hour searching for 6 pairs of shoes another half applying sunscreen, making sure I had water bottles….etc.

I just wanted to pop on the kettle and pick up a spoon, make myself a simple coffee…WITHOUT having to make 6 additional mugs of milo to everyone’s particular specifications.

I wanted just one night in bed ALONE, without bodies crushed against me. And on me….and trying to weasel under me…or simply pushing me out of my own bed.

I wanted to read like a WHOLE page of one book without having to get someone a drink or break up a punch up.

I wanted to go for a little relaxing swim without freaking out that someone was going to drown on my watch.

So I did.

While I love everything that comes with parenting and motherhood, I’ve never said it was easy. (And anyone who does is one of those weirdos who thinks their small fluffy dog is the equivalent of a child!)

It’s hard. And while I know when I look back on life I will be very pleased with the way I’ve chosen to spend it, I also would like to look back and remember that I too was important. I too was valuable.

So I left Glen and the kids to fend for themselves….when I do so, my ONLY wish is that upon my return they all have a heart beat. And really that’s all that matters. (That is what I tell myself when I see the mess I’m left to deal with anyway!)

Okay back to my story!

I left and went into town first, thinking I’d get myself a big floppy had. You know those adorable glamorous ones??

I had some lunch alone and wandered the shops browsing, quietly just looking around probably like a dazed creep.

I then headed off out into the bush.

Glen had asked me to asked the owners of the place I was staying if the road was suitable for his little Suzuki and he said that it was fine.

Oh my god!

Once out-of-town I had to drive on an almost 30 kilometre road of just dirt and rocks. Now his car is not designed for roads as such. It was bumpy and terrible and I think I had my teeth grit the entire time. I didn’t get out of second gear…couldn’t…..and I never went any faster than 30kms.

In any especially bumpy area all I could picture was stuff falling off the car and thinking over and over “glen is going to kill me. Glen is really going to kill me.”

But I’d come so far! I couldn’t go back now.

I’m glad I didn’t.

Finally I arrived at the gorge.

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I stopped on the road out to take this. Pictures don’t do the beautiful scenery justice.

I was shown to ‘the shack’ where I’d spend the night and left to my own devices. I made a coffee and sat in the silence in the cool breeze over looking the most spectacular view.

The green grassy slope dropped away before me quite a way and then flattened out onto a wide pebbly beach. Sparkling clear waters danced as lightly as I felt on the inside. On the far side the earth swooped back up reaching to the sky in a massive mountain. Huge trees stepped up all the way to the thickest at the top.

Ahhh heaven.

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Beautiful big cows wandered by just centimetres from where I sat trying to soak it all in. And we all know just how much I LOVE cattle!

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It was still very hot so I decided to paint before I went for a walk.

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I had this idea I’d wanted to paint for ages, a set of the five elements earth, air, fire, water and spirit but in the form of women. I hadn’t bothered trying at home, being holidays and kids needing my almost undivided attention. I knew I’d get frustrated and quit entirely.

But I completed them and they turned out far more beautiful than I’d hoped.

Perhaps it was the surroundings, or the silence, or the fact that I could just complete them without interruption…I don’t know, but they’re done and I feel as though I accomplished something I’d wanted to for a long time.

I then went for my walk. I packed some water bottles, and also my plants…I forgot to mention those. I decided that I may get bored and so I wanted to do something to kind of symbolize my time away with something soothing I could bring home so I’d bought with my two little potted flowers and a pretty blue pot to transplant them into.

So I took my plants for a walk.

My glamorous hat? IT TOTALLY SUCKED! It flopped in my eyes and I couldn’t see, the sides rustled by my ears and I couldn’t hear. I had to remove it and deal with the hot sun on my head. I was missing everything!

The sounds, the sights…

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I found a huge old fig tree and sat in the shade beneath it. I potted my plants and sat for a while, watching the brumbies walk on by toward the water. Cows in the distance bellowed to their babies.

Okay now this is when I describe to you my completely appropriate attire…..

I wore an ankle length red dress, I had a leopard print singlet tied into a knot at my waist with my gold sequined flats.

Add…my lime green floppy hat, which I now had to wear because my hands were full carrying a brilliant blue pot of pretty little flowers.

I kind of hoped I wasn’t spotted.

I am aware of my occasionally eccentric fashion sense, but taking a plant for a walk?…I’d reached that point of complete weird.

Any who….I soon tired of trying to navigate the rocky beach without being able to see with the hat dangling about in my eyesight, carrying a plant and returned back to the shack.

I lay in bed and read….I actually read.

I think I read for an hour, maybe more and it was great!

I waited until it was almost 7pm and much cooler, the light was so nice, like it was bouncing around between the walls of the massive gorge trying to stay just a bit longer.

This time I ditched the leopard prints and the sequins. Just me in my red dress and went down to the water, I walked the edge of the water picking up shells and pretty rocks trying to find somewhere as secluded as possibly. I’d convinced myself that I ‘hadn’t lived’ unless I’d skinny dipped that day. (I guess now I know why I was never tempted by peer pressure…I probably WAS the peer pressure!)

But when I finally found a good spot I chickened out!

Instead I dunked myself, dress and all, I consoled myself with the removal of underwear….too much info? Apologies.

I just wanted to feel free and relaxed and totally alone to do as I wanted.

I sat in the water watching the cows on the opposite shore moving on in a line to their night spot, and finally I decided to do the same.

I hoped into bed and read again until the lines blurred. I turned out the light and tried to sleep. BUT COULDN’T! I slept so restlessly and finally when light began to creep up I decided I’d go to the toilet, get some water and hop back into bed…it’s not like I had to ‘open kitchen’ this morning and take orders.

But when I took a quick glance outside I saw a beautiful skyline, the mountains ever so gently being kissed by a champagne sky and I decided to watch the sunrise instead.

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I never get to do that ever either I decided.

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So I made tea and talked to the cows who’d made camp outside my bedroom window waiting for the first warm rays too.

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I am so thankful I did. It was magical. There were cattle in the gorge, their bellows echoed deeply. Mother’s calling to calves. The sound was so prehistoric and primitive it gave me goose bumps. I’ve decided it is my favourite sound.

Pre-dawn bellows echoing. It was the sound of an old Earth, an old place. A place where souls lived and died. I can’t even begin to describe the way the deep rumbling, but kind of screeching desperate tone just struck an instinctive cord inside. Like it made me remember the connection to our place on Earth and everything on it. A place no matter how hard we try to disconnect from with technology and belongings we will just never be separate.

It was a special place.

I sat with my tea and my camera and made friends with the most adorable Brahman. I could have scooped him up and taken him home…if he didn’t weigh so much. (And if stealing was allowed.)

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I totally thought I’d go back to bed after I saw the sun peek over the mountain. Turns out the mountain was that huge it took longer than it normally would.

I slept restlessly, but I actually felt very rested within.

Not tired at all.

By 8am I was still outside sitting with the cows, watching calves play.

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Giving calves lectures on how they’d ruin their teeth if the continued to chew the hard nuts that had fallen from a palm tree. Telling another how Glen would not be happy to know he’d been licking his headlights. sympathizing with a lovely golden cow being harassed by a magnificent pepper coloured bull trying to woo her…well it was something like that!

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I saw a small frog escape a small snake, I found a little old tree spirit, I found feathers and shells.

Can you see the wise old woman trapped inside?

I found me…out there too.

I’d been so determined to stay until at least mid day but I couldn’t. I missed my annoying family so terribly!

My family who never ever puts me first or thinks I am important besides when food is involved. My family who I know takes me for granted and never really appreciates the utter devotion I have given them and will always give them.

But they do love me.

In their own way.

And I know one day they’ll see me in new eyes, perhaps when they’re older and have their own families.

I know they’ll come to me and ask for a helping hand, or for a break.

They’ll complain about sleepless nights and fighting kids. They’ll feel unimportant and perhaps even a little taken for granted.

And when they call me to say such things, I shall tell them from the bottom of my heart “you are loved my dear and if you weren’t there for your family, trust me…they’d know they need you. You are so important, and valuable. Don’t worry, take a breath and it will be okay.”

I would then hang up the phone and to myself say.

“Ha! Pay backs a bitch. Suck it!”

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I DO love my family.

And I promised them next time I go to ‘the shack’ they’re all coming with me! It may not be as peaceful but it will be just as magical.

Plus I promised I’d introduce this little guy!

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Take a break mums. We deserve it!

xo

Shoes not allowed ~ Anti-shoe movement.

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It is no secret that I am anti-shoe.

I honestly believe that shoes cut our connection with the Earth and I honestly believe that being bare footed is essential to a happy life.

I can’t stand to see babies wearing shoes. Especially those who are just learning to walk this world and they can’t even feel it. Their brand new feet are constricted and not bending and learning in the way nature intended.

I know shoes are needed sometimes, but let them learn first!

I personally think forcing a child to learn to walk flat footed and awkwardly in a shoe is the cause of some ankle, back, knee and possibly spine problems later in life. Not to mention all the mental disconnecting that may result.

At least allow a child to learn to walk naturally before distorting that experience and hindering the bodies fluid movements!

I feel my way through life…literally…barefooted means you must tread carefully also with purpose, you cannot be afraid of every step you take.  I feel I am grounded to the Earth and can feel its energy through myself, I haven’t cut the connection so there is a balanced flow.

Some consider being bare-footed to be a form of meditation, when walking in nature you must be fully aware of where your steps fall and when your mind is cleared of almost everything else, breathing becomes regular and slowed. Your mind eases and stress falls away.

Concentrating on your footsteps, your breathing while outside in the fresh air? Best form of meditation I can think of.

Not to mention that the Earth has a natural vibration, we humans are made up of water…up to 70% so. We all know what a little vibration can do to a glass of water. So in my theory for us to be connected to the Earth, as if plugged in and switched on…we hum.

Don’t you always feel good when at the beach? In the bush? Nature my dear, it is US, we have to reconnect with it.

We buzz, we hum.

We therefore spread our own vibrational frequency to others, just by being alive and going about our business.

Bare-foot.

Good for the mind, body and soul.

Reflexology comes into it too, there are many delicate pressure points on the very soles of our feet that should be connecting with grass(it is an ancient belief in some cultures that walking barefooted on grass helps induce a full night sleep), stone, dirt, mud, sand and water everyday. Not the over heated, moulded “for your comfort’, bacteria infested, constricting thing that is a shoe.

I mean just think if you wore mittens everyday.

You immediately lose connection to all your touch sensations, imagine trying portray love toward your child, husband…through a mitten?! The stroking of an eyebrow, holding hands….and I feel that our toes, the soles of our feet are just as important as the palms of our hands we just haven’t ‘studied’ enough to know it yet.

There are already many studies out there that have been done on the importance of touch in development and none specifically looks at touch being anything to do with ones feet, more so to do with the hands.

The studies show that a child developing without ‘touch,’ experience developmental delay when deprived of sensory stimulation. And sensory stimulation is defined as “sensory stimulation refers to having activities that challenge or make use of the five body senses. The five senses are; taste, smell, touch, listening and sight. Sensory stimulation affect the emotional and social growth of a child.” I took this straight from Google.

In my mind, feet are also used to touch.

They touch MORE than our hands do.

So, what could cutting the connection of our feet to the bare Earth do to a person? A society?

An entire world?

Could it potentially stop us from fully developing an entire awareness of our surroundings and environment?

Think of the globe, the entire world’s population. Who wears shoes? Who does not? Who is polluting the Earth without a care? Who is working the land and protecting it with all their heart?

Wow…shoes versus no shoes….it has made a difference has it not?

It would be very easy for me to state that since the first recorded “shoe” was found in 1938 in Oregon, US which looks to be around 7 to 8 thousand years old, that our care for the environment and disconnection for the damage we are doing it began.

I could also state that as people we have become more and more stressed and depressed as a whole since then too….and technically I wouldn’t be wrong. However early shoes were made of wood and leather (natural things) and only worn for short periods, perhaps during hunting so as speed and agility were not hindered by rocky terrain.

The moment shoes became a status symbol and a fashion trend things went downhill. They began making them from strange materials and in weird ways that bent the foot into painful positions. Just saying it makes me feel restricted. They were used to show that one particular person was ‘better than’ someone else, or that they were wealthier, while those without were seen as poor and beggars.

Okay, I will stop talking about pointless things and give you facts.

Walking barefoot strengthens tendons and muscles and ligaments that are often unused when wearing shoes. Strengthening these leads to less knee, ankle and hip injury. The best part? Being barefoot naturally strengthens your core.

Walking barefoot increases endorphins and is proven to decrease depression and anxiety by 62%.

“Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, which is great for conducting electricity. The earth has a negative ionic charge. Going barefoot grounds our bodies to that charge. Negative Ions have been proven to detoxify, calm, reduce inflammation, synchronise your internal clocks, hormonal cycles and physiological rhythms. The best places to get some negative ions through your feet are by the water. Everyone knows how good it feels to be barefoot on the beach – now we know why!” (This paragraph I took from mindbodygreen.com because I want to seriously stress that we’re MEANT to be bare foot for a reason.)

Some ways to adjust your tender feet.

  • Don’t wear shoes indoors.
  • Don’t wear shoes on your lawn at home.
  • ACTUALLY…just don’t wear shoes in or around your home at all. Warning; avoid Lego minefields.
  • Do not wear shoes to the beach.
  • Don’t wear shoes while driving (if I ever crash it will be because I’m wearing shoes! I don’t know how people do it!)
  • Get used to taking your shoes off! If you wear them for work, take them off in your break, let your feet breath and tough the ground naked. Take them off as soon as your home. Take them off when at a friend’s house. Once settled in an appointment, meeting…anywhere you must sit for long periods, take them off, wiggle your toes. It will also keep you focused.
  • Get used to taking them off when you get to the playground, beach, park, garden.

Remember your feet won’t be tender forever. In a kindness toward your child, allow them to build up a toughness while young so they can run free, climbing trees, climbing rocks and exploring their natural world without having to be hindered by wearing shoes.

If your worried about glass and all the other dangerous sharps out there, take them somewhere safe. The reason they have parents is to keep an eye out FOR them, to help them to watch over them to guide them…NOT to restrict them, hinder them, hold them back from being the free wild spirit that they are.

I don’t actually know how people/children don’t get hurt more often from simply wearing shoes! I can’t do anything with them on, I feel as though I cannot grip to where I am standing, I feel unstable and I can’t ‘feel’ where I am.

I guess that is how our babies feel when we try to curb and cover the wonderful gift that nature has given us.

Clumsy. Detached. Awkward. Unnatural.

I prefer………

A connection.

An understanding.

And having something more to love than only what I can touch with my fingertips.

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Just think about it.

An almost free life.

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The only thing I am really happy about spending money on is food for our family and keeping a roof over our heads. Everything else to me seems unnecessary. I don’t like to support massive multi-million dollar companies with their foreign sweat shops filled with people living in poverty. I don’t like to buy things that have been mass-produced in heartless, un-inspiring ways. I am an individual and I like to be one and I love that our home is beginning to reflect that.

My aim is to own only 2nd hand (which are unique and full of character in my opinion) or items I have handmade, revamped, recycled or found.

However I am a female and I am drawn to pretty things so I have learned some tricks to keeping our family clothed and our home pretty for very little, in a humane way and also in a way that is sustainable, which I’d like to share.

These ideas are good for those on tight budgets but want to feel like ‘they aren’t missing out on having stuff.’ I am also trying to inspire those who can afford pointless things to rethink their life choices, who are you supporting when you buy things? Look deeper into where items come from, how they are produced, if they are biodegradable, and to rethink better more fulfilling ways of using their finances, and also to avoid debt (which sadly some people have nothing to show for it anyway.)

Anywho…I shall zip it and just give you some weird and quirky ideas for you to alter and play with and hopefully have fun with.

xo

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One of my favourite things to do is to decorate my old stuff so I feel like it’s new and exciting again. You could do this with second-hand items or pick up things during those council collection times or accept random things from friends and family who are moving house.

This stool I painted a pattern on and wrapped wool around the bottom part to add colour. I like using things which I consider ‘still good’ even though they have chips or cracks like my collection on top does. I won’t throw anything out until it’s totally destroyed.

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This was a $30 tv cabinet I picked up 2nd hand a few years ago, it was so boring I decided to make it different. I used paint and a black sharpie and I did buy brand new handles from bunnings $2 ea.

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It took some time, but I totally think it was worth it.

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Now this I love. Glen and I bought this when we first met. It is actually a dvd cabinet which originally stood the opposite way and had a glass door. We never ever used it, it was one of those pointless things sitting in the corner, gathering random things. I asked Glen to remove the door and I took out the plastic dvd track things and turned it on its side.

Now it’s used for all the kids nature toys. Which we made with sanded wood we cut at different lengths, some we painted on the flat ends and others I oiled to make them shiny. We also used felt tip pens to draw pictures on smooth rocks, some of people and cars, others of flowers and trees. They’re great for imaginative play, they build house with the wood and use the stones as people. We collected a whole heap of pretty leaves and laminated them, kids use them for money or in their games as paths and roads. I also cut some into love hearts and put the alphabet on them.

I like our nature spot, if I find anything interesting on a bush walk I add it to the collection.

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We also made mobiles and hanging things with our laminated leaves.

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An interesting branch and a few origami cranes is an interesting addition to Buddy’s room. (you can find instructions easily for many different origami thingys.)

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Fresh flowers are always amazing. Go for a drive down a country road and I’m sure you’ll find tonnes….like we do. (Vases….50 cents ea in a 2nd hand shop.)

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And remember a pretty and interesting bouquet doesn’t have to have flowers if you can’t find any. Weeds and greens look cool and fresh too.

Oh and the jars? Sauce bottles. Seriously, we buy cups and glasses all the time and yet we’re throwing away the ones we buy in our food shopping. Keep them! Decorate them! Use bottles as vases and jars as cups! I used to think it was taking the whole ‘being frugal’ thing to far…but if you walk into any ‘cool’ café` these days….you’re going to get a jar!!!

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Plus…..with kids, if they break…you know they’ll be replaced when the Vegemite runs out!

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I picked up this chair for free about 8 years ago! It’s never been in good shape, just hung around to be used in interesting situations here and there. I just love its personality. I just used weird logs and branches, tin cans and relocated plants to make our entrance quirky and cute. I also used a branch and tied lengths of fabric with knots at the bottoms  (which you can see to the right) to make colourful decorations that look pretty in the afternoon breeze.

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This is one of my favourite things. My little mini garden. I got the inspiration from pinterest and made it right away, it took 6 eggs (a couple of yummy omelette) and an egg carton. I pulled the dirt from the very ground where it naturally belongs and added mosses and little plants that I found.

I now have 3 decorating different areas around the house. Cutest, most manageable garden I’ve ever had!

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My best bit of advice is to USE EVERYTHING…..my mum gave me this set when she sold her house. I looked at it thinking it would be something that would sit in my cupboard never being used and I don’t like things being hidden away un-used. So instead of buying some pots to bring in some plants, I used her set. I also used some old lace to put into the old photo frame they’re sitting on.

Weird, cool, free.

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Here is another lace photo frame….I like it, might be addicted. Colour and texture are amazing.

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All that left over wool from the crochet blankets I make in autumn?….Yarn bombing! Makes things instantly cool and colourful!

Use everything.

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Use everything! Remember that free piano I scored earlier last year? It’s my favourite place to decorate. I found this lovely mossy branch ages ago and it now lives on top. I swap and change my random jars and bottles and 2nd hand glass wear often. I add greenery plucked from the garden or fresh flowers I come across. The top of my piano is almost always a direct reflection of my personality.

Nature is seriously the ultimate in free decor. I’m one of those people who goes “That’s a nice tree….” I love the shapes, the twisted nature of well nature….it’s interesting…take a look…

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Glen and I teamed up to make this tree house for Buddy. Just a stump which had a convenient hole, a forked branch and two second-hand timber fruit bowls turned upside down and nailed in place. I drilled a hole so I could stick in some fresh green branches. I made the bridge using branches cut to similar lengths and drilling holes in both sides and stringing them onto some rope and tying on.

Simple really….AND FREE!

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This was one of those ‘that’s a nice branch’ moments. As soon as I saw it, I recalled a pin I pinned on pinterest. And voila. I used two clear sticky hooks on the ceiling and used fishing line to hang the branch. Once hanging I used some of our old Christmas baubles to hang from it.

I am in love!

Glad I ran out of hooks because I would have trees hanging everywhere!

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Hard to photograph.

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Painted rocks. Fun activity, cool decorations/toys!

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Now I’m not sure if you want to go this far but literally making stuff is fun! I made this chair for Buddy with some logs and branches, some nails and some serious brain power. I’ve never ever made anything like this before but glad I tried! I want to make an actual single bed frame next!

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He likes it!

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Just a branch and torn fabric….adds interest. Using our own art to decorate our walls is a much more personal touch than those massed produced, not to mention expensive prints.

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I made these candle holders super quick. I hand sawed round slices of wood and then cut branches so as they had at least 3 forks to make them stand evenly. I then nailed in place. (little glasses set of 6 $1!!!)

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I made this yesterday. The 3 spoons and wooden platter thing cost me $1.50 second hand. I took 3 eggs ad drew small circles on them, I then used a pin to prick it around the circle. Once I had the hole I drained out the egg and put in dirt and a little succulent. I used blu-tack to keep them still on the spoons and I guess the rest is self-explanatory.

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Toys cost a lot of money and I like most parents has that terrible desire to spoil our kids with a random gift or toy, even if it isn’t Christmas or birthdays. To avoid paying for material objects that my kiddies will -like they always do- tire of quickly, I make them things.

You can do this together or surprise them with it. You don’t even have to be able to draw well. Think stick people with different expressions, simple trees or houses. I coloured and laminated mine and added magnets, but you could just let your kids cut and colour your doodles and just use blu-tack….

It’s new and fun and you won’t feel guilty about spending cash on stuff.

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This is Blue. He is Buddy’s favourite toy and sleeps with him every night (which I adore) he is just made from a baby sock. That oval shape where his nose is…is the heel. You can see that all I did was sew a line up the centre from the toe and two smaller lines a tad further up. Sew on button features if you want (or not and add a bell inside for a baby.) Stuff and sew the top.

New toy. No cost. Made with love. And IS very loved.

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In fact I made all my kiddies lots of gifts for Christmas.

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Sadly, all my VERY hard and time-consuming work was over shadowed by ‘shop’ bought presents.

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My babies will get a small shock next Christmas as Santa will only be brining one ‘shop’ bought gift and that will purely to keep the whole Santa thing alive.

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I know what you’re thinking, I don’t have time, or it will cost heaps in materials….well no.

It won’t.

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I buy fabric from second-hand shops. Think bed sheets…that’s a heap of fabric, usually around 1-2 dollars and you can get all kinds of pretty and ‘vintage’ styles. Jars of buttons, or even cut them from old clothes. Hand stitching can take time but use your hands will watching tv at night, you’ll feel far more productive!

We have Google now people. You can literally learn how to do anything and find free patterns for everything!!!!

I don’t get why we aren’t all taking advantage!

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A little tip on buying clothes. If you do…which yes I do buy new things sometimes. Make them last as long as possible!

This was an adorable little dress, but Sophie got it caught in the chain on her bike and it tore. Instead of throwing it out, I cut a split up both sides and tied it into a knot. Now it’s one of her fave tops.

Also again…..basic kids clothes are so simple to sew together! I know it is tempting to buy new things, I mean nowadays it is easy, quick and the prices of some kids clothes are ridiculously cheap but remember that’s because they’re made in massive over heated, over crowded sweat shops with terribly poor working conditions for employees.

While it is tempting to take advantage, because it’s like an out of sight out of mind situation, it can be really fulfilling to make things yourself and have your kids proud of you AND the things you have specifically created for them.

Again….forget expensive and fancy fabrics in the shops…..buying second hand is seriously the most cost-effective way. One double bed sheet can make up to 5 simple play dresses OR 10 pairs of shorts!!! A large jumper or mens shirt can make vests, jackets….endless possibilities!

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I love cheeses. I enjoy making cheese platters to share with my family. It’s indulgent and glamorous and what woman doesn’t love both of those things?

Well I can’t justify buying and expensive cheese. I basically think of money in a way that reflects wants/needs….I can see the cost of one thing and instantly equate that to how much milk I could buy my family or how much fresh fruit it would equal.

So when buying something souly for myself I feel bad that it doesn’t benefit more of us.

So I now make my own cheese.

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And it is stupidly easy!

Here’s how!

You will need one litre of milk to 1/3 cup of lemon juice. So you can double or triple if you like. So that would be 3 litres of milk to one cup of lemon juice. Now I mean REAL lemon juice freshly squeezed. I have also used grapefruit and orange. The end result doesn’t actually taste like the juice…it is purely for the reaction caused by the citric acid. I also use UHT milk as I buy it in bulk for $1 a litre, it works totally fine.

Put your milk into a large pot and allow to heat up almost to boiling. Once you get those small foaming bubbles around the side pour in your juice.

It will begin to curdle immediately. Stir while still heating but don’t boil for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit in the pot for about 40 minutes.

Get your strainer ready. Place cheesecloth or something similar…(I have used a piece of thin cotton and also and old muslin baby wrap I had in the cupboard. The point of all of this is to be creative and not rush out to buy something…think about it…what could you use without purchasing something new?)

After it has sat, pour into your fabric lined strainer and allow excess fluid to run off. We only want the curds. You can ball it up and twist to drain off the liquid.

You can drain it lots and add salt to taste and it will be like a crumbly feta cheese( which you can put onto salads, lasagna, spag bol.) I like to leave mine a little softer when making cheese for platters. When you’re happy with how it is holding together add your flavours. I add salt for a savoury cheese and honey for a sweet cheese.

The 1st pictured is an apricot and almond cheese.

2nd is mango and walnut and this last one is simple drizzled with sweet chilli sauce.

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doesn’t it just make you feel fancy thinking about it!?

Simple, YUM and cheap!!!

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Speaking of food, I just thought I’d add this….all these are is a home brand packet of biscuits, coated in melted chocolate and sprinkled with flaked almonds.

Cost around the same as one little packet of tim tams to make and you get around 3 times many. (Plus people think your super cool if you whip them out!)

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Finally bought some new mugs! 25 cents each! And they’re oh so pretty!

A few extra tips….

  • Buy deoderants, perfumes and bathroom stuff that you AND your partner can both use. It’s so expensive.
  • Fill birthdays and special occasions with family to avoid the added up costs of extra food and gift bags etc.
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  • Find patterns on the net for things like hats, scarves, purses and those wanted but sometimes unneccesary accessories.
  • Make gifts for friends and family.
  • Drink water! Free and it’s good for you.
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I know it’s hard to get used to not paying for things every single day. Life has become such a commercialised thing, everything we see or do is geared in such a way that makes us think we need to spend money!

And it is wrong.

We throw away perfectly good things all the time, we’re teaching our kids that things are disposable, disireable….desperately so and then yet at the end of the day just chuck it out….?!

I feel we’re becoming so focused on what we and what others have that we are no longer focused on what really matters.

Plus wouldn’t it be nice to go for a walk on a beautiful day, find a pretty shell and feel just as good as if you’d indulged in retail therapy?!

WITHOUT paying a fortune you can not justify?

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The whole point to this long, exhausting post is that to live a frugal or almost free life, doesn’t mean you’re poor, scabby or any of those negative things we’ve all come to believe.

It actually means your life is so much deeper and richer because it is filled with so much more thought, much heart, much more soul……

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……..and with lots of love.

Feel free to give me any tips you may have, I’m always looking for more and also go here if you’d like to follow me on pinterest. http://www.pinterest.com/yagerbabies/pins/ (or click the button up there somewhere on the right.)

Give them the magic.

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All mum’s know that there is nothing better than the look of happiness and wonder on their child’s face.

Think….

Christmas.

Easter.

Birthdays.

But I ask you why must it only be these times they experience magic and excitement?

Not to mention that each of those occasions also teaches them to expect some kind of ‘thing’ in order to make them feel those feelings, but that’s another story. I am here merely to open eyes to the possibility of MORE wonder, more magic and how freaking easy (and fun) it is.

Buddy had the chance to have his little 2.5 year old dreams come true when we all took a trip to our local fire station with his preschool friends.

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He LOVES fire trucks and fire men, he’s just in awe of the whole concept.

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So I was one of those shameful gushing mums when he broke away from all his little classmates to stand right there with the fireman as he demonstrated his equipment. So proud and so happy for him I was.

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His little face, his stance…the way I could just tell he was looking at the trucks and men as if nothing else in his world mattered in that moment.

He was thunderstruck and I as his mum was over the moon….simply because he was happy.

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It got me thinking that this was something I’d like my children to experience more of.

Making a child’s dreams come true is relatively simple.

In their minds, things always appear far more realistic and wonderful, which works perfectly in our favour as parents.

Little things count, simple concepts work.

So I decided for my girls we’d be mermaids.

(okay…now this may also be a tiny bit of my own childhood dream coming true -FINE! I admit it, I wouldn’t mind being an adult mermaid either.-)

Here are my lovely fish. I shall share how afterwards.

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Now Molly LOVED this. At the time she was just happy to have her make-up done and get a couple of snaps. The moment she saw the pictures she just about died with happiness. She looked at me with her mouth wide open and said “I’m a mermaid mum!!!”

I am thinking canvas prints are in order.

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She made an adorable little mermaid.

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Violet as always giggled her way through the pictures.

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Besides the tail, this little child is about as close as you could get to a real mermaid. Swims like a fish.

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Sophie turned out to be an expert mermaid. Posing and flicking her long, long locks about. She loves the chance for make-up and dress-ups.

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My gorgeous scaly baby.

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Now I must admit, I think Bella’s mermaid pictures are my favourite. Simply because she can still allow herself to be a child. She’s heading off to high school in a couple of weeks and to be having fun, playing make-belive at 12 years old? To me that’s amazing. I’m happy that she can cling to her childhood and the magic of it just a bit longer.

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Plus she made quite a beautiful mermaid!

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And you can’t have mermaid babies without a mermaid mother! Don’t ask my about the physical aspects of that idea….I just don’t want to think about it.

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Alrighty…how did we get the look?

Easy.

First of all choose your colours.

Second of all find something suitable for creating scales. I used a thin piece of cardboard (about the size of toast with no crust) that has small holes in it, about the thickness of an ordinary pencil. You could use a piece of paper and using a hole punch put holes in it. I did also see on pinterest that you could use something similar to fish net stocking but I don’t think the scales would be as clearly defined.

But anyway, press the thing with holes in it against the skin of the area you’d like to begin at and using a pale coloured eye shadow brush the colour over it, trying not to move it.

Next peel it back carefully and place in the same area only slightly different and brush with a darker eye shadow to highlight. You can do this again for a third time if you like. I used 3 colours on Violet and it looked good.

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Best places I thought were around the brow and temple, a little on the nose, cheek bone and chin. We also did some down our upper arms.

once you have your scales apply some eye shadow and eyeliner in any way you choose. We also used mascara.

We fluffed up our hair.

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Put on some amazing earrings and ta da.

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Then we took an old torn up lacey curtain (you could literally use anything! An old bed sheet, scrap fabric….ANYTHING…as long as it is big enough to wrap around yours….or your child’s legs and long enough to shape into a tail at the bottom.)

Then we found a pretty spot and played. We stopped to get pictures when we looked most mermaid….

You could do it by your pool, sitting on the edge of your bath tub…OR you could even get dramatic and take pictures next to a dried up puddle or watering can…..let your imagination go nuts. Now that you know how simple it is…go for it!

Why not like Yager Babies on Facebook so you can post your pictures!?

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No one is ever too old or too young to be a mermaid for the day!

Get your fish on!

:)