Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Write On Wednesdays - The Internal Fight

Time for another Write On Wednesday! This week we have a brief from Author Kerri Sackville;
Write On Wednesdays


Write On Wednesdays Exercise 12 - The Fight. Kerri says:  I am a writer of non-fiction (for now, anyway). In my book 'When My Husband Does The Dishes...', I wrote a memoir of marriage and motherhood in as honest way as I knew how. In interviews, I was constantly asked how I felt about revealing so much about myself, and how I knew where to draw the line. I always answered the same way. Every single thing I wrote in that book was 100% true, because without my truth, I had nothing to offer. However, the book didn't represent 100% of the truth, just as my blog doesn't represent 100% of the truth. There are personal details of my life, my husbands life and my kids' lives that I will never reveal, because we all need to to keep something for ourselves. And that's the key to writing good non-fiction - or one of the keys. You have to be honest, because without honesty, your work won't speak to people. You have to be fearless, because restraint in writing can be perceived. But that doesn't mean that you have to bare your entire soul. Choose what you want to share, choose what is relevant to your story. But make sure that what you choose to share is real, and true. 


The exercise today is to write a story from your life. And remember: it has to be 100% true, but it doesn't have to be 100% of the truth. There's a difference. The keywords are: The Fight




When the prompt came up for this week’s WOW I immediately knew what I wanted to write about. The reason why it has taken me a few days to get to the actual exercise is because I’ve been putting it off. Writing about this event in my life is something I’ve wanted to do for ages, but the thought of it makes my heart race and my palms sweaty. I know that to actually convey the emotion of this moment is going to take a rather large toll on me.
So,  here I go, nervous....but ready.

I hear the words as though are coming from far away. They echo around in my head. Meaning nothing...... Meaning everything.  My heart rate accelerates, pounding so loudly I think that at any moment it will jump right through my chest and die agonisingly on the floor. Taking my life with it.  I feel the sweat break out across my forehead. My hands shake, my mouth is dry.
And still the words echo, loudly, refusing to go away. I try to comprehend what it is he said. Trying to understand what this means. To us, to our little world. Safe, secure and idyllic....suddenly shattered....all because of those few words.
I sway on the spot. Dizzy with disbelief and shock. My hands grip the table in front of me so I do not fall. My knuckles are white with the pressure.
For a few moments I feel as though I'm going to explode, as though the emotions are going to come pouring out of me, like a torrent is about to be unleashed.
I quickly recede inside myself, into the warm cocoon of my mind, where his voice cannot reach me. A numbness steals over me, blotting out the hurt and anguish.
But I know I can’t hide in here forever.......floating, momentarily in warm light.........
With deep, steadying breaths. I resurface.
I turn to look at him, my face streaked with tears, my composure regained.
‘Get out’ I whisper, my voice barely audible.
‘Get Out!’




Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dreaming....Aspiring.....Hoping.



I wrote my first story at the age of eight.
It was a lovely, whimsical tale of an adventure in a faraway land. A wicked witch needed to be defeated and a good friend, saved.

My story was loved by my teacher. I remember clearly my pride - mingled with fear - when he singled the story out as the new school play.

My enjoyment of writing was, from that moment on, firmly established. I wrote continually. When I wasn't writing I was reading. I inhaled words. One of my greatest loves, encouraged by my parents and that one supportive teacher, was in full flight.

Then, my hopes and dreams were dashed, destroyed, ruined. In high school I ended up with an English teacher who despised my style of writing. She picked at my work endlessly. My sentence structure was sloppy. My grammar, appalling. My story lines were weak. My humour, forced. Rather than help me to overcome these issues she simply piled on more criticism.

My confidence plummeted. My dreams of writing....of becoming a writer....were dashed.

Although I continued to write in private, I didn't have the bravery to show my work to anyone.

Until now.

I don't know whether it is because I've grown into myself. Whether Motherhood has shaped and changed me. Whether my confidence has grown thanks to the wonderful people in my life. What ever it is, I am no longer scared or ashamed to show my 'work' to others.

Admittedly, every time I go to hit the 'publish' button on a blog entry I have a little internal battle with myself.....
What if nobody likes it?
What if it's absolute crap?
What if everyone thinks I'm crazy?

But then, I hit that damn button anyway.
You know why? Because I love it.
I love writing. Crafting my words. putting them together to create some semblance of sense.

And I love that you read it.

Thank you.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Switched Off!

Yesterday I had the overwhelming desire to make cake. This longing is typical of me on a Sunday. I love nothing better than drinking tea and eating cake. Not just any old cake mind you.....Chocolate cake in particular is high on the list of most wanted in this household.

So, out came all the ingredients. As per usual I used my slap-dash method of cooking. Sort of a half hearted measure and in it goes. I know that contradicts all the golden rules of baking, but hey, it works for me.

Once I had chucked all the dry ingredients in one bowl, I then threw the butter and sugar in the other. Then I prepared to get busy with the hand held beater.

Trouble is.....it wouldn't work.

Damn....Bugger....Blast

I undid the whirly thingos and then plugged them back in. I fiddled with the button whatsit on top. I shook it. I whacked it on the kitchen bench. I swore profusely at it.

Crap, crap, crap I muttered in fury. My third damn mixer this year. This is what I get for buying cheap rubbish, I reasoned.  I yelled out to Hubby that if he expected half decent food he was going to have to buy me a kitchen aid for Christmas. It's either that or divorce, I informed him in a temper.

So, 15 minutes of me cursing and yelling and then I finally resigned myself to mixing the darn cake by hand. While I used my puny arm muscles to beat the butter and sugar into oblivion, I had a moment of blinding clarity, one that made me just a bit shameful of the preceding 15 minutes of pure and utter stupidity.

I picked up the beater......and I plugged it into the wall.............!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Mumma Business Card.

Hubby often comes home with his pockets full of a plethora of business cards. I get to peruse these on a regular basis as I usually have to empty them out before they go through the wash and ruin yet another load of washing.

Most of these cards have fairly standard job descriptions; like Dental Surgeon or Solicitor or Plumber. Others are a little more interesting. For instance I recently came across one that said 'Sandwich Artist', there has also been a 'Brain Trainer' (read; Hypnotist) and also one that called themselves a 'Refuse Collection Operative'.....in other words a Garbage Collector.

So, it got me thinking (never a good thing as we all know) about what my job description would be. If I had to come up with a fancy pants business card what would I call myself?

I started with writing a list of all my individual 'jobs' and decided to go from there.

Administrator of Sympathy - eg; Kisses, Cuddles and Kind Words.

Director of Routine - Get up, make your bed, have breakfast, clean your teeth, get dressed, brush your hair..etc...etc.

Nutrition Management - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and all those little snackies in between. Coercing children into eating their greens. Talent at hiding vegetables in pasta sauces. Creative-on your toes-meal artist.

Negotiator of Conflict - 'You've hurt your brother, now say sorry', 'I don't care who had it first', 'No you can't have a chocolate before dinner'

Hygiene Specialist-  'Stop picking your nose', 'Wash you hands after the loo', 'Dirt is not a food group', 'Letting the dog lick your face is disgusting!' Must be able to toilet train small people. Supervision in the bath is a must.

Dental Technician - Supervising the teeth cleaning process. Some members of the family simply like to lick the toothpaste off the toothbrush. Or if you're Miss 8, run the tap and make scrubbing noises without actually putting the toothbrush in your mouth (not realising Mum is watching from the doorway)

Hair Stylist - Gel spikes for the boys, ponytails and braids for the girls. Requires a certain amount of speed and dexterity.

Teacher - Homework, homework and a bit more homework. The joy of school children.

Psychic-  Able to read minds of children and predict what they will need/want next.

Domestic Engineer - I really don't need to explain this one...but I will. Mess...everywhere. Constant vacuuming, dusting, mopping, toilet cleaning (Ugh - boys and toilets...need I say more?) washing (wash, hang out, bring in, fold, put away) Scraping food off surfaces, dishes, making of beds, falling over toys....the list goes on and on.

Safety Expert - Jumping out of the bath onto the tiles is not safe (the cause of Mr 5's latest bump) nor is; scaling the screen door, riding a skateboard down our very steep driveway, pushing your little sister off Mum & Dad's bed, Wrestling on the coffee table, Eating dog food or throwing a matchbox car at your brothers head.

Imagination Stimulator - Creating ideas for games, providing paints, crayons, textas and paper. Encouraging the wacky, crazy and zany. 'Yes, let's pretend to fly to the moon in a spaceship made of egg cartons'

Medical Specialist- dealing with scrapes, bruises, grazes, cuts, scratches, puke, poo, fevers, snot, blood. A calm head is always required.

Chauffeur- School, Shops, Sport, Friends...be prepared to spend half your life in a car.

Governor of Chaos - Exceptional organisation skills. Able to do limitless things all at the same time. Be prepared to survive on minimal sleep and copious amounts of coffee and tea. Must be aware of the idiosyncrasies of each child and react accordingly.

So, there you have it. I may have left a few things out, but I think that will do for now.
Admittedly it may be a little difficult to fit this all onto a business card....I probably need a business brochure or a business essay to do the job.

But then I thought of the perfect job title.......one that fits all of my roles perfectly............


                             Carlene......
                 Mother to;
               Mr 11
                 Miss 8
                   Mr 5
                Miss 2






I think that suits me perfectly....don't you?
If you had to create your own business card, what would it say?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Grateful for......A Quiet Saturday.







Miss 8 is off visiting Grandma. Mr 5 is happily colouring in at the dining table. Miss Tornado Two is playing quietly with her dolls (!?) Mr 11 is at his Mum's and won't be making an appearance until later this afternoon.

The house is virtually silent.

I'm writing uninterrupted, sipping a leisurely and still hot cup of tea.

Which is unheard of. It's almost unnerving. It's eerie and weird.

Saturdays are usually a debacle. We rush off to Hockey at the crack of dawn. I have to bundle half asleep little people (admittedly often still in their PJ's) into the car. Breakfast is on the hop. Miss 8 puts on her shin pads, socks and shoes on the way.

When we eventually get there, (45 minutes later) I quickly dress the PJ clad monsters and then we're off to the hockey field to cheer on Miss 8.

Of course it's enjoyable watching the children participate in sport. Of course I love that Miss 8 adores it so much.
This week, there is no sport, the hockey season has finally drawn to a close.

 So, this morning I lay in bed much longer than usual and savoured my coffee. The children climbed all over me, requesting cuddles and kisses. I even managed to have a conversation with Hubby before he rushed off to work.

This week, I'm grateful for quiet Saturdays. The rush will be back on next year when sport starts all over again. But for now, it's relative peace and quiet (and housework....when I can be bothered!)

Admittedly this is my first 'grateful' post in a while due to the madness that was my Saturday. Hopefully I can participate a bit more now that I'm blissfully free!

Check out more 'grateful' posts over at Maxabella Loves.........


Friday, August 26, 2011

Incentive for Toddlers.......

Ahhhh....bribery....Oops, I mean incentive.
image credit


Today, as I trooped through the supermarket with Miss Tornado Two in tow. I found myself (when not stressed out of my brain trying to stop the little darling from casing the joint) contemplating the difference between shopping with baby #4 to shopping when the first two babies were small.


Now, I'm not saying the first two were perfectly behaved. They weren't. But maybe I handled them better. Maybe I still viewed the weekly shop with optimism rather than stone, cold dread. I just seemed to get through with my sanity intact and a much calmer demeanour. Nowadays I leave the place sweating and silently cursing the sweet faced child before me.

With child #1, I would pack a little lunchbox filled with organic snacks for my cherub to munch on. My distraction methods seemed to work, she seemed genuinely interested in where eggs come from and how milk is made. Miss TT however, couldn't give two hoots. She wonders what the milk would look like all over the floor. What happens when you throw a carton of eggs in the trolley? 'I helping Mumma' she says as she pulls a glass container of coffee off the shelf.

When strapped into the trolley where all  good toddlers  in supermarkets should be, she kicks and screams 'I get out! she hollers 'I get out!'

So I do it....I reach into my handbag and I pull out the old standby, the fail-proof, the reliable.....my good friend the lollipop.


With my older children I wouldn't have dreamt of it. They would munch away on their sugar-free, organic rice crackers with gusto. Miss TT takes one look at 'rabbit food' and lets her distaste be made abundantly clear to anyone in the vicinity.

Some may call it bribery....I prefer incentive....incentive to sit down, be quiet, and let your poor Mother do the shopping in peace.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Write On Wednesdays - Walking in the rain.

 
 
Write On Wednesdays Exercise 11 - Take a Walk"Come back home and write what you encountered. Try to write so that your sentences feel the way the walking felt." Let's toss the 5 minute sprint aside this week and instead take a lingering stroll through our exercise. Participants are encouraged to write a first draft (the point being to get it out on the page), then to go through and edit their piece before posting. We're aiming to get from one place to another, taking the reader with us - economically, gracefully, elegantly. 

Perhaps start with the usual stream of consciousness exercise if you are having trouble getting started. But then stop and take a look. Edit your sentences and try to get them "feeling" the way your walk felt.
 


This weeks exercise for Write On Wednesdays was definitely a bit of a challenge. I am in no way an educated writer. I write how I speak, which is not necessarily a good thing! So, focusing on perfect sentences proved to be a bit difficult for me. Still, I gave it a shot. Hopefully it reads easier than it was to write!

image from weheartit.com

 
 
 
 
High up on the hill, the coastline stretched out before me, I walk. Slowly, languidly, savouring the silence.
 
The sun, finally shining, dazzles my eyes. It seems as though it smiles upon the whole world. I smile back. She is my companion on this otherwise solitary ramble. I seek comfort from her warmth.
 
The dark, heavy clouds of the past few days are a long, lost memory. All there is, at the moment, is me, the sun and our walk. Winding along the country lane, gravel crunching under my sneakers, a shoelace trailing behind me, dragging in the mud.
 
My mind wanders, as minds often do. Back to the children, warm  and safe at home, bickering over homework, or who stared at who. Probably driving their Father crazy.
 
And then, the sun vanishes. Hidden behind a dark, ominous cloud. A drop of rain falls and lands on my upturned face. More follow. I hide under the sanctuary that is my umbrella. My daydreams are halted by the blanket of rain, falling, to smother me.
 
I turn to head back home, through the damp, the suffocating downpour. To warmth, light.....and noise.
 
 
Write On Wednesdays

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Snickerdoodles!

Mouth-sized pieces of perfection!


There is something about the name of this biscuit that sends me spiralling into an Enid Blyton book. I feel that I should be sitting alongside Moon-Face and Silky eating toffee shocks, pop-biscuits and Snickerdoodles. The name conjures up flights of fancy, whimsy and imagination...or that could just be me, with my head firmly planted in the clouds.

My children find the title hilarious..'We're eating Snickerdoodles!' They giggle, 'Snickerdoodles!' It's often a competition to see who can yell it the loudest....joy!

The biscuit lives up to it's fantastic name, it is really quite delicious. Perfect for popping into your mouth. They have a thin, crunchy, exterior with a cake-like crumbly centre.....mmmmm!

Ingredients;
3/4 cup of butter (some recipes call for shortening, but I'm a butter fan through & through)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups of plain flour
2 tsps cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

1/2 cup of caster sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon, combined on a plate for rolling the dough balls into.

Preheat oven to 200C.
Line 2x biscuit trays with baking paper.

Using a handheld mixer ( or a kitchen aid if you are lucky enough to own one.....soooo jealous!) beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each one.
Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt and mix until combined.
Roll the dough into small balls, then roll into the sugar mixture. Space out evenly on biscuit trays.
Bake in the preheated oven for 7-8 minutes for a fairly soft biscuit (which is how I like them - almost like cake) or a few minutes longer for a firmer biscuit.

Now see if you can try not to eat them in one go....I have to say, I failed miserably.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Arrival....

Each Saturday is a day of joyful anticipation in our house.

The hours tick by slowly. The children plead and beg. They question and cajole. It probably should drive me completely batty....but it doesn't, because I feel it too.
It's an excitement almost as palpable as when the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus comes to visit. Though it's more important. Much, much more important.

Because Saturday's are when Mr 11 arrives at our house.

Early in the morning it will start....
'Is today Saturday?' Miss 8 and Mr 5 will ask. When I reply in the affirmative they jump around like a pair of Mexican jumping beans, so great is their excitement.
'When will he be here?' They demand.....'How long until he comes?' They question. Unfortunately I can never give them a straight answer because Hubby picks him on the way home from work and Hubby is never accurate with his time management......which is an entirely different post for another day.

So the countdown is on. They plan the games they will play when Mr 11 finally makes his appearance. They draw pictures for him, they plan his favourite dinner for that night.

Then, when he arrives, he is greeted at the door with shouts and laughter. The poor boy is smothered, hen-pecked, idolised. He is put on pedestal, the much loved and adored big brother.

Of course, the magic doesn't always last. Before long they will be fighting, bickering and whinging.....but for a few, short wonderful moments it's like a cheesy commercial of the 'perfect' family.

Yesterday was a cause for even greater excitement. Because yesterday was Mr 11's birthday. The presents were wrapped, homemade cards prepared, the cake was baked and his requested dinner was cooked. Hubby was (of course) late with picking him up.
But when he arrived home none of it mattered,the hours of waiting were forgotten, the magic lasted just a fraction longer.

Because yesterday was a special day, a day of celebration.

Happy Birthday Mr 11!








Friday, August 19, 2011

A Fractured Fairytale......






 Once upon a time there was a little girl. This little girl dreamt of fairy tales and princesses. She dreamt of a handsome prince and a beautiful castle. She dreamt of getting married in a beautiful dress and of living happily ever after.

When that little girl began to grow up the dream continued. Her head was always in the clouds. Her perfect life was just around the corner.....she could feel it. Her vision of happy had changed just slightly. A quaint house with a picket fence, several angelic children and, of course, that handsome prince.

One day she met who she thought could be her prince, and she was shortly married, in that flowing white dress. She felt and looked like a princess. She had her first child and that happy ending was near....so near....she could almost touch it.

But sometimes, the best laid plans become unravelled. Sometimes princes turn into frogs.

For a while the dream dissolved and reality beckoned.

Then, it reshaped, reformed and became a new dream.

This, new, flawed girl met her flawed prince. She wasn't looking for him, he just appeared. They went on to have more children, not quite angelic, more like ragamuffins, but much more endearing. She realised that happiness can be found where you least expect it. That it takes more than a handsome prince, a picket fence and angelic children to be happy.

The girl knew that happily ever after is possible.....you just have to look inside yourself.




image credit

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Write on Wednesdays - The Hurricane.



Write On Wednesdays Exercise 10 - A Gift of Serendipity... Take Felicity's Word of the Week. Write it at the top of your page. Set your timer for 5 minutes. Write the first words that come into your head after the Word of the Week. Stop writing when the buzzer rings. 

Felicity's Word of the Week is...

Piqued:
A state of vexation caused by a perceived slight or indignity; a feeling of wounded pride.tr.v. piqued, piqu·ing, piques
1. To cause to feel resentment or indignation.
2. To provoke; arouse: The portrait piqued her curiosity.
3. To pride (oneself): He piqued himself on his stylish attire.
 
 
 
This week I shied away from my friend Suzie. Not for any particular reason, simply because the word 'piqued' (which I love, by the way) sent a brand new story rushing and rambling inside my head. Once again I feature a tumultuous female, maybe because I am one.....
 
 
Tumblr_lp219kdigw1qkacm4o1_500_large
image from weheartit.com
 
 
She piqued his interest the moment she entered the room. Not for her beauty or elegance...because in reality she was really quite plain. But for her sheer presence. She radiated brilliance, gaiety, an effortless air of vivacity. He was later to discover that it masked the turmoil within.
 
That day she had entered his life like a hurricane. Moving, churning, tumbling, falling. In and out, up and down. He never knew what was to happen next. Her unpredictability made his life disturbing, difficult, incredible.
 
He was the calm and she was the storm madly crashing around him. He was the earth and she was the sea; changing, fluctuating, volatile.
 
Write On Wednesdays
 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Charlotte's Web



image from weheartit.com

As someone who loves writing I guess it's a given that I should be obsessed with reading as well. I love books. I have a bookshelves filled with them. Books occupy most of my evenings. When I pass a bookstore I am inexplicably drawn in.

Some of my most favourite books would have to be the stories directed at children. They usually have an important message, a make-believe storyline, a happy ending. These are the reasons I love them so much. These are the reasons why I tend to regularly pilfer books from my children's bookshelves; so I can abandon myself in the fantastical, the whimsical, the extraordinary

One of my earliest forays into reading a full length book was when I was around seven or eight years of age and I settled myself down with my Mother's dog eared and much loved version of Charlotte's Web. I adored this story. I still do. I have re-read it countless times over the past twenty-five years. I've read it to my stepson and my daughter. They loved it too.

What's not to adore? A talking pig. A talented and loyal spider. Animals who have personalities. A message of friendship, life and death. There is joy and sadness. And an ending that has me- as a grown woman with four children- sobbing my little heart out. It elicits the same emotions in me now that it did when I was a little girl.


'It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.'
Quote from Charlotte's Web.

And that is reason in itself for me to keep on reading and to keep on sharing this wonderful story.

What stories did you adore as a child? Do you still read them now?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Little People.

Two mornings a week I volunteer at Mr 5's Prep class. It's always a lovely experience. I help the children with their readers and teach them and test them on sight words. The most rewarding aspect of this little activity isn't the focus on learning however, it is the funny conversations I have with these little people. They are a mix of the vivacious, polite, shy, cheeky and brutally honest.

For instance; one little cherub informed me that "I smell just like Daddy", probably because I had to borrow Hubby's deodorant that morning after having run out of my own. Another informed me that I have 'big teeth', ummmmm, yes, yes I do, thanks for noticing. One likes to correct me. Another acts as though reading to me is the greatest torment of their little life.

Some are bursting at the seams to tell me every tiny nuance of their day. 'I ate breakfast this morning, I cleaned my teeth, the dog ran away, we had to chase it, I put my shoes on all by myself'. I love this. I love how the simplest things, the most mundane, come to life in a child's eyes. The excitement of just 'being' is infectious.

They show me their wobbly teeth, their grazed knees, the bruised apple in their lunch box, their love letter to the teacher. It's all beautiful, amazing, incredible. The joy on their little faces when they accomplish something new. The pride when you give them the accolades they so deserve.

The other day I received my own love letter from a little person in my son's class;


It now has pride of place on my fridge alongside the million other pieces of love from my own children.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thank goodness for little girls!


When most people discover that I have two boys and two girls they usually jump to the same conclusion;
'You'll have your hands full with those boys' They assume. 'I bet the boys really wear you out' They observe.

Actually, to be perfectly honest the boys don't really exhaust me at all.....I guess they do have their moments...all children do, but the boys are rarely the main cause of my continuous tiredness.

The girls  are a different story. Parents of other little girls make speak of how sweet, placid and well-behaved their little darlings are. I'm perfectly sure all of it is true. My girls however appear to be a contradiction of the general 'sugar and spice and all things nice' rule. They seem to have ended up with not so much sugar...and a whole lot of spice.

If there is trouble, chaos and mayhem in our household I can promise you there will be a sweet, angelic girl right in the middle of it all. If there are death-defying stunts to be had the girls are the ones who are participating...while the boys watch on, apprehensive, wary and just a little bit scared (of the girls that is)

Sparky and vivacious, cheeky and wild, silly and determined. These words sum up my darling daughters aptly. Hopefully these attributes will serve them well as they grow older and they'll venture out into the world taking all their verve and joie de vivre with them.

Thank goodness for little girls I say, they make my world a crazy, mad, wild and sunny place.







Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kids in the Kitchen.



Cooking is a huge part of my life. I can devote endless hours to this favourite passtime. Occasionally I will spend an entire day in the kitchen pottering around, making, creating, tasting. Then the family will gather around, pots of tea, biscuits brownies, cakes and then a big home cooked meal in the evening. My idea of heaven.

Something that has always been hugely important to me is getting the children involved in the kitchen. I know a lot of people balk at the idea.....there is mess and a lot of it. But they begin to understand and learn so many things. Ingredients and how they work. Measurements, Weight, Nutrition, Flavours, Safety, Hygiene. Every time they cook with me they are learning these life skills and mostly importantly they are learning that food is something to be enjoyed. It is bonding, life giving. It brings families together.

My fondest memories are of gathering around the large island in the middle of the kitchen and helping and watching my Mother to cook. The food she created was (and still is) legendary. I always felt honoured when she would take me under her wing and teach me something. One of the first things I ever made was a white sauce. I was probably around eight years old. It was a proud, defining moment when Dad licked it off the spoon and declared it 'Delicious!'

So encouraging my children in the kitchen has become second nature with me. Mr 10 and Miss 8 can cook meals entirely on their own ( with just a teeny bit of supervision) Mr 5 chops up ingredients, mixes things together and loves measuring. He is an eggspert (sorry, that is terrible, couldn't help myself) at cracking eggs. Miss Two has just started learning the family 'trade'. On the weekend she cooked her first batch if biscuits - with a whole lot of help mind you. She is particularly talented at licking the spoon.

They make a HUGE amount of mess, which I might add is completely hereditary. They get that wonderful ability from me. Hubby is of course, chief taster.....and chief cleaner-upper.

My children may not be Scholars, Athletes or Rocket Scientists. But I tell you what, they will know how to cook......And that's fine by me.


The best part of cooking is tasting!

A night off for Mum!

mmmmmmm!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Write On Wednesdays - Another Perspective.

Over the past couple of weeks I've featured several different characters in my writing. Some I feel I can link into the one story. Others have only had one post dedicated to them. The character I decided to feature today is one of my favourites, simply because of her vivacity. I hope I can do her justice.
Write On Wednesdays Exercise 9 - Think with Character. Choose a character from your writing posts. You can still do this exercise if you are new to WoW - select a character from another piece of your writing or simply work through the exercise from scratch.   Now, think about the character in regards to their: gender, age, occupation, physical appearance and mood at this moment. Is your character in the city, the country, inside or outside? Do they live in rich or poor surroundings? Alone or with others? Answer all, some or one of these questions. Now, set your timer for 5 minutes and write the first words about your character that come into your head. Stop when the buzzer rings. This may be one week where you feel you need to throw the timer and take your time. Do whatever works for you. You may also like to consider: Complexion, Style of dress, Hair colour/style, Speaking voice and likely vocabulary, Strengths/Weaknesses, Mannerisms
The house has once again been thrown into chaos due to the impulsiveness of Miss Suzie. I am in peril as how to deal with my charge. Her wild ways will lead her into trouble, there is no doubt.
She is a flagrant hater of rules and authority. She pushes the boundaries at every opportunity given. Each day, she disappears right after her lessons and reappears again as the sun is going down. I ponder the activities that she is engaged in. When asked where she has been, she shrugs and redirects the conversation. She ignores her Mother, teases her sister, hides from her Father.
But deep down, I know beats a heart of solid gold. Her kindness and goodness is endearing. I feel that deep inside she is full of insecurities and doubts. The shield she puts up is to cover the sadness she feels. Thanks to a Father that prefers the son. A Mother who incessantly nags her, is constantly pettifogging, is obsessed with physical appearance and fails to see the beauty within.
If you can look beyond the dishevelled exterior, it is apparent that the child is growing into a rare and exquisite young lady. Her hair; when not tangled and matted with the remnants of her adventures is a silken sheet the colour of corn. Her eyes; a clear, sky blue. Her skin; ivory white but coloured to an unsightly brown due to over-exposure to the sun and covered in all those hideous scratches and bruises. And those freckles! Scattered quite unnaturally over that long, straight nose. She is tall, fine-boned and carries the hallmarks of fine breeding. Such a pity that she seems destined for a tumultuous future.
I despair over the child as I am sure that her parents have washed their hands entirely of her.
One more misdemeanour and I worry that she will be sent away for good.
Maybe, with my love and guidance I can turn this wild creature into a lady of refinement.




Write On Wednesdays

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Slow Down.


image from weheartit.com


Driving home from my morning errands is usually a time for quiet reflection. Miss Two inevitably falls asleep in the car and I either listen to my favourite music or sit in silence. Contemplating, pondering, writing stories in my head. The scenery back up to where we live is breathtaking, the views are endless. This is the part I love the most...the slow meander into the hills and far away from everything.

Before I hit this little slice of tranquility however I have to survive the chaos of peak hour work and school traffic. People pushing, shoving, rushing. Tyres screech, horns honk. It's a pulsating, throbbing mass of barely concealed hysteria.

Usually I find myself detached from the whole scene. Basically because I don't really care. But today I do. Life is a fleeting, beautiful time of love and discovery. We rush through it. Jumping from one thing to the next. Always wanting more and more. Not appreciating each and every moment. The beauty of just being us. The beauty of just being alive.

Most days I ground myself. By looking at the scenery, by watching the clouds, by listening to the laughter of children. Today I am annoyed. My mind is occupied by other things; the to-do list, the scariness of bringing up children in today's world, my friend in need, the pressure of just getting by.

So, when I drove up and away from the craziness, I finally felt like I could breathe and take in my surroundings.

At home there is silence. Miss Two remains asleep and I listen to the bird song. I have a million things to do but right now there is just peace.

Today I'm going to take things gently. I'm going to appreciate what I have. I'm going to slow down.

What do you do to help slow down and appreciate life?


Monday, August 8, 2011

Meet My Monsters!


Mr Endearing Eleven -
Sensitive, Responsible, Super-Smart, Math-Whiz, Caring, Loving, Tidy, Insightful

Miss Enthusiastic Eight-
Busy, Silly, Excitable, Talkative, Book-Mad, Cuddly, Humorous, Messy, Joyful

Mr Funny Five-
Kind-Hearted, Snuggle-Bum, Funny, Grumpy, Organised, Sweet, Perceptive, Tender

Miss Tornado Two-
Mischievous, Cheeky, Lovely, Trouble, Sparky, Determined, Quick, Hilarious, Social

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Caught Out!

Today I was caught out....discovered......dobbed in.......and all by a two year old.
You see, I have a system. A secret plan. One that only two people were privy to. Me and Miss Tornado Two had an understanding, an agreement if you will.

Every time Little Miss deposited something 'unsavoury' in her nappy we would put our little plan into action.

She would come up to me, point to her nappy and say 'Poopy'.
'That's lovely darling' I would whisper conspirationally, 'Now go and tell Dadda'
Off she would waddle with a significant 'bulge' around her bottom to find the unsuspecting 'Dadda'.

And Hubby, with no clue whatsoever about being set up, would change our beloved toddler's nappy.

It has always been unfortunate that Miss Tornado Two does the most vile poos imaginable. Considering her diet consists of strawberries, yogurt, peas and cheese, the stuff emanating from her bottom is, to put it mildly, freaking disgusting.

So, I would always feel (slightly) guilty whenever Hubby was 'lumped' with bum clean up duty....for about a minute anyway.

Hubby could never quite fathom that whenever he was home he seemed to change an inordinate amount of poop.

Until....my plan fell flat on it's face...and all thanks to my partner in crime.

Little Miss had just produced yet another enormous and incredibly stinky offering, and as per usual I had sounded her out to go and find her poor, long suffering Father.
I stood around the corner so I hear Hubby's curses and mutterings as he tackled the diabolical thing and I could giggle accordingly (sadistic, I know)

Then it all backfired.

'Dadda' piped that sweet and innocent little voice 'Mumma said change poopy'.

'Mumma said!' What's with the 'Mumma said?!'

Dadda, whoops I mean Hubby, was not impressed. "Mumma said did she!' I could hear him bellow. He rounded the corner to find me red-faced, ashamed and nearly doubled over with laughter.

So, I ended up changing the damn thing. And there is only one way to describe that experience.....Absolutely repulsive.