Saturday, 30 July 2011

Crafty Crochet

I love to crochet. I admit I liked it when it was daggy. The crochet bikinis that sagged when wet and the mission brown vests and groovy caps, that were the height of haute couture in the 1970's. I remember crocheting in my lunch break at work back in 1987 and enduring the scoffs and giggles of the other girls. I didn't care, I enjoyed it. It is relaxing and the joy of creating something beautiful is addictive.





   






Dress and Jumper Twin Set. This was a lot of fun to crochet.


There are lots of cute and quirky things you can create.





















Find your joy and share it with others.


Melanie

Thursday, 28 July 2011

NAIDOC Week

Yesterday, we went to a special assembly at our girls' school it was to commemorate NAIDOC week - National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee. My daughter Hannah and all the other Grade 1's were involved. They were putting on a special aboriginal dance. It was so beautiful to watch, it touched me deeply and brought tears to my eyes.

It coincided with a visit by a group of 15 Japanese students from Kindai Primary School in Osaka, Japan. They are here for just five days. A flying visit to gain some experience of another country and other children in a contrasting primary school. They were all wide eyed and I hoped they enjoyed it too.

There was a former student playing the didgeridoo - very well, and a family doing a traditional dance. It was all very enjoyable and entertaining.

The theme for this year's NAIDOC week was "Change, The next step is ours".


One of the big events of the special week is a poster competition. This year an Indigenous artist from Mackay, Matthew Humphries, won the Competition for 2011.



There was something so moving about the whole thing. Watching the 100 or so students up there all dancing to a beautiful song, with expressive hand gestures and movements was memorable indeed.

I could feel my heart swell with considerable pride, when I watched my little six year old Hannah Noodle dancing so beautifully and taking it all so seriously. I love that little girl so much. :-)

A older woman gave a short speech about her people and her history. She was holding a very small baby girl. She held her up at the end of her talk and showed everyone, saying as she choked back tears, that this was her people's future. Everyone broke out in applause.

There are some moments in life that make you stop. I spend all my life it seems, rushing frantically around, trying to do so much. I love those moments, where I can take stock, put priorities back in their rightful place and this was one such time.  I felt a calmness, a stillness, a peace. It is a very rare occurrence in my life, and one that when it happens, I cherish it.

Do you find time in your busy lives to stop, relax and reflect, even if it is only for a few moments?




Melanie

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Inspirational Quote of the Week


On Sundays I am going to have an
'Inspirational Quote For the Week'.

So hopefully I can start the week with a positive attitude
and get my thoughts and feelings in the right place
to get Monday off to a good start.
I really hope that others can get some benefit too. :-)





Friday, 22 July 2011

Target Toy Sale



With four young children, and not a lot of spending money, buying gifts and toys for them all, can be very daunting. That is why sales are sooo important to us. I can then budget carefully and wait for the sales to come round so that I can get everyone something that they will enjoy.




This year 'Australia's Biggest Toy Sale' catalogue from Target has some wonderful bargains! I love looking through it as much as my kids do! It is my three year old's favourite thing in the whole wide world. It is very cute to see him studying all the toy pictures very carefully. He actually carries it around with him. 




The sale runs from Thursday 21st July to Wednesday 3rd August, 2011. They have extended their trading hours so it is easier for everyone to visit. Of course you can Lay-By in the store but there is an easy new Early Bird Online Lay-By List that Target have this year. I think that I might just have to take advantage of this.




The steps are easy:

  1. Go to target.com.au
  2. Search the toys available.
  3. Register and create your list.
  4. Select your lay-by location (your nearest Target store).
  5. Submit your list * (You will receive an email confirmation including the PDF files)
  6. Print the email confirmation and take to your nominated store to activate your lay-by (10% deposit required) on or before Wednesday 3rd August 2011.

* After submitting your lay-by list, please wait until the following day before activating it in store.




But of course the hard thing for me is just what to choose. Now where is that Target catalogue again...



Product Talk by Nuffnang

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Don't Worry, Be Happy!


Taking a trip down memory lane today I found a note that I wrote when I first found out I was pregnant with Joshua, my youngest. Just thought I would share.

"
Hannah was going to be our last child, so when I became pregnant, while more or less on the pill, we were very surprised and shocked. But Angus came alone and he has fit it very well :-).

Then when I had an early miscarriage last year, we definitely didn't want it to happen again. I was 39, we live in a small shoebox of a house, and because of our financial situation and our car etc, etc, etc. So I decided to have a Mirena inserted. It is similar to the pill but lasts for 5 years and they claim is more successful in stopping pregnancies.

About 1 1/2 weeks ago I started to feel a little sick, went off coffee... a feeling that I know very well ... hmmm.

I went to the doctor, had a pregnancy test, and guess what it showed a faint positive. The doctor then referred me to get an early ultrasound. I went last Friday and there measuring 1.6 cms, with a little heart going at 167 bpm was my little baby, about 8 weeks old with no sign of any Mirena at all.
So here I am... lol, 40 years old and pregnant with my 4th baby. We can’t fit in the house we live in now and we will definitely not fit in our car when this little one is born. My Dad bought me this car in 2007. He thought I was stupid when I fell pregnant with Angus, I hate to think about what he will think of me now.

We really have tried. It is not like we haven’t taken care. I am 40 I am not supposed to be so fertile. But what to do.
This past week I have experienced the full range of emotions. I have been so depressed and spent about 3 days straight crying, but that is past, thank goodness. I apologise for being a bit out of it lately. I have had a lot on my mind. I feel ok now. All I know is looking at that little jellybean with its' little heart beating away so fast... I fell in love :-). We will cope I guess...
"














Having read this again, I realised that things do have a habit of working out. Joshua is 18 months old now and I cannot imagine life without him. We live in a bigger house, I now have a Kia Carnival, a people mover, that we all fit into nicely (even room for one more! hmm...). That is thanks to my Dad too.

I tend to worry about anything and everything. It is something that I really need to work on. I know that worry accomplishes absolutely nothing. It just makes me physically sick, immobilises me and stops me from either fixing the problem or just letting it go.

What are some things that you do to help you relax and stop worrying about things?


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

My Thoughts on School Bullying



I am very pleased to say that bullying isn't a huge problem at my girls' school. They are quick to take action and they seem to take claims seriously. This is so necessary. All too often reports of bullying are ignored or the victim is too scared to come forward to tell someone in authority about it. If the latter is true it takes an astute adult to pick up the warning signs.

1. Physical - bruises, torn clothes, damaged books, bed wetting,
2. Emotional - becoming withdrawn, crying easily, nervousness, quick to anger or depressed and unhappy.
3. Academic - Marked change in school behaviour or school work, not participating in activities, sitting alone at school break times.

So what can a parent do if they suspect bullying?

Trying to get a child to open up is hard. Try to ask open ended questions like; What did you do at school today? Who did you play with? Do you like the kids in your class? Do you like school? Try to stay calm and positive. Let them know that you understand and that you are pleased that they have opened up to you. Tell them that you promise to do all you can to stop it.

Parents should always play a large part in their children's life. Get involved with the school. Make yourself accessible to your child, to their teachers, to the Principal.

Teach children how to cope when being bullied. Try not to take over, but help them learn coping strategies and assertiveness.

Help them get a strong group of good friends. This in turn will lead to confidence and assertiveness.

Never let them think that they are at fault in any way. Let them know that it is the bully that is in the wrong and needs to change their behaviour and not them.

Talk to your child's teacher and work together to fix the problem.

Never underestimate the power and effect that bullying can have on sensitive children. There are all to many sad stories of suicides as a direct result of being bullied.

Take a stand to fight this. We owe it to our kids.


Melanie


Sunday, 17 July 2011

Cleaning Fairies to Number 7 please!

Rent Inspection!! - Those two simple words are enough to strike fear into my very soul. Well no, maybe that is a bit too melodramatic, but I hate and loathe rent inspections. I hate being forced to try and make my family home, which is usually cleanish but can look like a bomb has dropped very lived in ;) lol, look like a picture out of a design magazine.

I am somewhat of a perfectionist but my perfectionism is an all or nothing affair. If I can't make it perfect I would rather not even try. So there! :P. I clean the kitchen and within a few hours it looks as if I haven't touched it in about a month. Really.

My rent inspection is in two days time and trying to get this place tidy while being bombarded on all sides by hordes of four kids who I believe are deliberately trying to sabotage my efforts, is a battle that I am losing at the moment  <big sigh>.

Anyway, when faced with a very frustrating situation, I find humour is always good. I found these very funny notes to landlords while I was browsing the internet (instead of cleaning my house which I should be doing... ) hehe! I will start after I finish this post... I promise :D
  • The toilet is blocked and we cannot bathe the children until it is clear.
    •  
  • I want some repairs done to my stove as it has backfired and burnt my knob off. 
  • This is to let you know that there is a smell coming from the man next door. 
  • The toilet seat is cracked: where do I stand? 
  • I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is running away from the wall. 
  • Will you please send someone to mend our cracked sidewalk. Yesterday my wife tripped on it and is now pregnant.  
  • Our kitchen floor is very damp, we have two children and would like a third, so will you please send someone to do something about it.
  • Will you please send a man to look at my water, it is a funny color and not fit to drink.  
  • Would you please send a man to repair my downspout. I am an old age pensioner and need it straight away. 
  • Could you please send someone to fix our bath tap. My wife got her toe stuck in it and it is very uncomfortable for us.  
Now back to cleaning...  ;)


Melanie

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Let's Boost our Self Esteem

Self Esteem is something that I need to work on constantly. It is fairly low at the best of times, but it can hit rock bottom and I have feelings of worthlessness and inferiority. I think that we all need a bit of a boost in this area. So let's do it (and you just have to say that with an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice).

I have attended quite a few confidence building and self esteem workshops in my time. Yes I know, here I am still without a shred of confidence to my name. But I think the courses tried their hardest, really. I think I am now an expert in the 'theory' of confidence. But the practise.... Hmm I am a tough nut to crack!. I found that I was helping everyone else in the class to feel better about themselves and forgot about helping me. But if I helped them along the way, and they are now living confident, worthy lives then bonus! It definitely wasn't a waste of my time.

Ways to help boost your self esteem (I think we all know these but isn't it good to be reminded of them sometimes?)

1. Take full responsibility for your life. Stop blaming others for the way you are and the way you feel. You have the power to change the way you think. Nobody else!

2. Tell that little voice that we all have in our head, to shut up. Avoid self put downs and self criticisms.

3. Try to keep your thoughts in the present. Don't live in the past and don't worry (too much) about tomorrow.

4. The odd positive affirmation is helpful. Generate positive thoughts and feelings of self love and self acceptance. Say 5 times out loud "I am beautiful and lovable just the way I am!" Go on. I dare ya. :)

5. Be a participant in life. Get out and live! Don't hang back and watch from the sidelines.

6. Be willing to laugh at yourself. Don't take yourself too seriously.

7. Schedule some me time. Have a nice, warm bubble bath and relax and reflect on all the blessings that you have in life.

8. Do not compare yourself to others. There is no one who is just like you.

9. Treat yourself well. Wear clothes you feel good in. If you are happy then it will shine out of your eyes and people will be drawn to you.

10. Acknowledge others frequently. Tell them what you admire and appreciate about them. Think of others and give of your time and energy helping out if you can.

Last one, I could go on... and on... hehe!

11. Have a loving heart. Tell people you love them. Give it away and it will return to you in abundance. Remember love generates love.

I love the Desiderata poem. Go placidly amid the noise and haste...  I think if we are able to do half the things in that poem, then we are doing well.

I do feel better after that and I hope that you do too? Now I would love some tips please. What helps you to feel more confident? What do you do when that little voice starts talking?



Sunday, 10 July 2011

Happiness Is

"If you want happiness for an hour? Take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day? Go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year? Inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime? Help someone else."
Chinese Proverb 

As I sit here typing I am listening to the happy (read 'loud') sounds of my four children thundering up and down on the balcony outside. I spare a small thought for my poor neighbours ... then I think, no, people who think that the happy sounds of children laughing is bad noise are rather sad, small people in my humble opinion. ;)

There has been a lot of laughter in our house these school holidays. I am fortunate that my kids do all get on quite well together. That may well change in a few years with Angus and Joshua but hey! for the moment I will enjoy it :) I have felt kind of sad that we haven't gone out much. I would love to take them all to a theme park. But for our large family it would be a major financial undertaking. Something that needs planning and saving for maybe a year or more! One day we will get them there and that is a promise ;)

It got me thinking what makes a happy family?

Is it being able to afford the latest gadgets, to go on holidays, to go to theme parks and movies? Yes kids love these things and if you can afford this then it is great to spend time together doing the stuff that money can buy. But I have a feeling it is not the money being spent on them but the time being spent with them that children love so much.



All children want to feel valued, to feel that their contribution to the household is important and worthwhile. To know that parents love them and want to spend time with them, to talk with them about their interests and activities. In our household I try to give some one-on-one time with each of my children at some time during the day.  What do you do with your family that doesn't involve spending money? I would love to know.



Melanie

Saturday, 9 July 2011

If wishes were horses....

I have spent a lot of time contemplating, musing, toying with the idea of writing a blog. What could I write about? What would someone who meandered across my blog want to read? What would make someone want to come back? I will first tell you a little about me. My first blog can be an informative one. I will try to lay bare my soul so that you can understand me a little better maybe. I would love you to comment or email me telling me a little about yourself too. Firstly, I was born in 1969 in Liberia, West Africa. My mum and dad are both English.


My dad is from the beautiful New Forest in the south of England, my mum is from Southampton. My dad worked on the big mining trucks and at Mt Nimba, in northern Liberia there was a big iron ore mine and that is how I came to be born there.



I am part Romani gypsy. What people may not know is that Mother Theresa, Elvis Presley, Charlie Chaplin, Michael Cain, David Essex, Yul Brunner and a lot of other well known people can also lay claim to having a gypsy heritage. Words that everyone uses like dad, posh, bamboozle, corker (lie), mockers (jinx), pal and rogue are all Romani gypsy words. I have always liked the fact that I am a gypsy. But I realise that it has made me quite introverted and given to reflection. That and the fact that I am totally deaf in my left ear and cannot hear very well in a noisy, crowded room have made me shy and timid.

I have four incredible gifts. They are my wonderful children. Bethany (8), Hannah (6), Angus (3) and Joshua (18 months). Stories about them will take up a lot of my writing.





They are my life, my world, my raison d'etre. What I don't tell a lot of people is that I have suffered from clinical depression for nearly 20 years now. My kids are what keep me going, and make me get up in the morning and face another day.

I love to crochet and read. I love animals with a passion. I enjoy cooking and I love expressing myself in writing. My posts would consist of children, animals, children, cooking, children, crafts, children and books. Oh and some more children for good measure. I would love you to return and travel lifes' journey with me some more. O manusha khelevan tut, this literally means the people make you dance. Said if a place is nice and welcoming.


Melanie
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