Category Archives: Wine and Coffee

Fuck You Book Week and other stories.

Wally Hat

Wally Hat

I love book week. What a brilliant concept, educating the masses that reading is fun and giving all the little people who are at school a chance to dress up as their favourite characters. I have even been the volunteer who sits in a shop and reads to the gorgeous ones as they do a tour of the street, showing off their costumes on one special day.

This year I did my best to be ready for book week well before the eve of said dress up day. But being prepared reared up it’s ugly head and bit me in the arse.

Firstly, let’s go back to March when I tried to buy outfits in Bali, what a time and place to shop the costume store. There were many a silky princess dress to be found. Alas, we did not purchase a princess dress, because miss pooh head wants to be Holly O’Hair (Rapunzel’s daughter in the Ever After High series) and none of the dresses were quite (let’s say) purple enough. I left the gorgeous (cheap) shop with a pirate outfit thinking that master good child could go as Tough Boris, and a knowledge that come August I will be wishing I had just sneaked a purplish dress into the shopping and pulled it out in surprise at a later date.

But good children often turn to shit, and now that the time is here, he hates Tough Boris and LOVES Where’s Wally. So Saturday I left our little town to shop the shit out of the next bigger city where Spotlight, Kmart and Big W are found. I knew in my heart I was going to be making a skirt for a princess, and creating an outfit for an adventurer so off we set to find the perfect costume pieces.

In Big W I could be heard yelling across the toy section to focus on the job at hand. I could not give two fucks what toys you guys ‘want’, I can barely find the floor in three rooms of the house as it is. Where the hell are the dress ups? We did three laps of the store, including two toilet stops within 10 minutes of each other, looking for something Wallyish, at least Wally Watcherish. I had several discussions with other parents, all on the same mission, apparently Kmart only have small sized outfits left, there’s not much variety here and the costumes are over that way. I walked over that way, and just as I was about to give up, asked a store attendant where are the fucking costumes? Just down the aisle with the coke at the end, with the party stuff. Right, of course, that’s logical (not). Nothing ready made was what my cherubs were after and I couldn’t even find a pair of Wally glasses. As we walked out with our new shoes, toys and other crap, I finally found a ladies t-shirt of the red and white striped variety. Plan B was found.

Holly's Skirt

Holly’s Skirt

Next stop Spotlight to find some floral fabric for this skirt. Not too painful. She chose reasonably quickly, but I couldn’t help but notice the madness that this costume shopping had created. Parents everywhere were looking harried. They had a rep to uphold as the crafty parent who had this costume shit covered. Staff were dressed as characters from Alice, the cool Cheshire Cat cut us some not floral fabric and binding and sent us on our way. As we browsed our way out the potential princess muttered something I couldn’t hear and would not repeat the statement, based on how I wouldn’t get it anyway. Blood pressure climbing I bit my tongue as I waited not very patiently in line at the checkout were the lollies were at eye level and I had to continually say no. No, not that one either. What part of no don’t you understand?

 

As we drove to Kmart for the one toy that could not be purchased anywhere else, I made the rules. We go in, look exactly where it should be and then leave if we can’t find it. I need lunch.

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Wally

A quick trip back to Big W where I flew in and purchased the t-shirt I should have bought two hours ago and an executive decision is made. I choose where we eat.

We went to a nice hotel for lunch. Somewhere they sell wine and delicious offerings. I ordered a pasta to level my mood and a glass of Sauv Blanc to compliment it. Both offspring managed to eat, drink and behave beautifully, and the result was a calmer mum who loves book week again.

A bit of fun with the sewing machine and making a pompom on Sunday and I am all ready for Thursday’s parade. I even found nerd glasses for Wally in the junk shop. My offspring are grateful for the time I spent and are kind of surprised how clever I am. We had lots of cuddles Sunday night and watched a movie together as I was too tired to read them a book.

 

 

 

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How to Keep Your Shit Together

Do you ever get asked how you do it? These are a few of my tried and true tips which enable me to keep my shit together well enough to survive at times and thrive on the good days.

Washing!

Wash it when there is a load. That’s right, don’t wait until there are 5 loads and then tell the world via social media how you spent all day doing the washing. Take it in turns of  bed days or towell days, probably on a day when you don’t have a big enough load to fill the machine with clothes. Then hang it out using your nut. Hang the clothes in sections of what belongs to whom, then when you bring it in fold that shit straight off the line and into the basket. Walk inside and put it away. Put it away? Yes, you heard me, put it away, you already folded it, no need to dump a huge pile of clothes on a couch or a bed it’s ready to go, just put it there. Next step, go to the next bedroom and do it again. There you go, it’s done.

Housework.

Who made up the rules that you need to spend a whole day, once a week doing housework. Yes it is nice when it is all squeaky clean, but do you seriously have the energy? Just do a bit each day and keep it clean and tidy. Maybe once a month do a big all day clean, but only if you are feeling the need.

Bookwork.

Bills come and they go. Depending on what you do this can be a bit different. If you are a normal household, get yourself a bill folder and have the one that needs to be paid on top, when payday comes, check what has to be paid in that billing period and pay it. Done, not a problem except if the money and the bills don’t match, and this post has naught to do about budgeting. If you run a small home based business spend 10 minutes before you go home (or inside the home) to fill in those pesky journal entries, much more fun that a couple of days at the end of the quarter when the BAS is due.

Shopping.

Make a list. Stick to the list. Read the catalogues and buy your staples if they are really cheap, you don’t need washing powder this week, but you will after you have done those five loads of washing. Allow yourself chocolate as life is too short to not have treats. Don’t take the kids to the supermarket if you can avoid it. If you can’t say no to extras or make them choose a treat according to budget. Never take my husband shopping, he is worse than children, your significant other may be better behaved. Look after the small business, use the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker (OK, I know we don’t need candles every week any more, but I couldn’t help it). My local baker does a loaf of sliced bread and two litres of milk for $5, cheaper than walking through the lolly aisle with the kids to get to the milk at the back of the shop. Buy your mince and sausages in bulk and freeze the extras.

Kids.

This is my biggest failure. My ideas are good, but executing them can be somewhat of a trial because unlike the other things we now have to take into consideration personalities, moods and the position of the moon. My most successful tool is bribery. In the morning. You may play games on your tablet before school and kinder once you have eaten, gotten dressed, your hair is done and teeth are clean. This works most days find your bribe and stick to it. Stay consistent, as soon as you decide you can’t be bothered putting them to bed, so stay up a bit late and watch a movie, those little nutters will cut loose with the most annoying of behaviour making me instantly regret my laziness.

Cooking.

You can go and spend more than I spent on my first car on the most lavish of appliances these days. Personally I love chopping and preparing, it makes my wine taste better, and the love in the food shines on the plate. I love cooking, so I have no advise to those of you who don’t. The slow cooker trend puzzles me somewhat. You still have to prepare it, then leave and appliance on all day, often while at work. Sorry Dudettes and Dudes, this freaks me out as much as leaving the iron on.

Check your emails every two days.

Make sure there are no bills and unsubscribe to all the time wasters you accidentally subscribed to in the first place. Don’t attach your social media to your email, that’s just another way of getting you to log on and waste a few hours reading shit you already knew, like the content of this post.

But the one thing I have had to come to terms with is that I am not a superhero. I like the thought of it. I wish I was one. But I am not. There are days when all this organisation still gets me down. I used to get stressed. Now I just accept that the floor will still be dirty tomorrow when I feel more like doing it (I used to have to do that on Wednesday or my whole world would end), the family will survive on toasted sangas for dinner if I am not feeling the cooking love, there are plenty more clothes in the cupboard, the kids will not die if I don’t….the list is to long for this one. Keep your expectations of yourself real peeps, balance the life and keep your shit together xx

Seafood and Chocolate (oh, and wine of course)

When I have picked Miss 4 up from pre school the last two weeks she has been sporting all sorts of bunnies, painted eggs, paintings of eggs, hats with ears…and you get the picture.

So I asked her “Did they tell you why we have Easter?”. “Ummm..” she replies “because after Christmas comes Easter.” Then I ask “What does Easter mean to you?”. You guessed it. “Going hunting for Easter eggs”. Of course it does, isn’t that what Easter means to every child? That is what it meant to me.

I loved this post from a friend on Facebook

With the holidays upon us, I think it’s important to reflect on the true meaning of Easter…

CHOCOLATE AND BUNNIES.

Oh and time off from work. These are the important things.

I am not sure what to say to Miss 4, I am still answering questions about what happened when kitty died 18 months ago. She thinks he is heaven, she buried him with some smarties for the trip, I think he has most probably decomposed in the ground under one of Grandma’s oleander bushes, never to be seen again. But a bit of spirituality never hurt anyone.

What does Easter mean to me? Well I love a good bible story, I like all stories.

Easter for me is hot cross buns for breakfast and a lovely seafood lunch with family on Good Friday. This year I found a bakery that still have orange peel in their buns, I cannot begin to describe my excitement!  This is a small part of our lunch feast. Note the very nice bubbly to go with it. Not exactly poor man’s food these days, but I still partake in the fish and wine (forget the bread though, it might fill me up and I wont be able to fit in any scallops).

Photo: Only the cold component of our lunch. Add seared scallops, thai prawns and lemon pepper calamari, needless to say I am stuffed full and can't fit any flourless orange cake in.

Saturday is spent slothing about as I am still recovery from committing gluttony the day before.

Easter Sunday is the day of the hunt. Now that I am a mother it is almost as exciting for me as the children. The children are allowed to gorge themselves silly on chocolate in the morning then run it off for the rest of the day. It also marks the first game of Australian rules football for our local league, which means the man of the house leaves at noon and returns whenever he and his mates have enjoyed enough of each others company and beer. This is the beginning of  a wonderful and relaxing winter, where we mutually enjoy our time away from each other each week.

Most of all I love the opportunity to see family and friends, I love the joy on my kids faces (especially Master 2 this year) and I love spending lots of time with my husband who has an extended Easter break every year.

Hoppy Easter to all 🙂

e-ddiction

You know you really have a problem with social networking when, without even realising it, you have turned on your computer and automatically opened facebook.

How? When? Why? has this happened to me?

Ironically I was the kind of person who shunned social media. Two years ago I went to visit my best friend interstate. To avoid travelling too far with miss 18 months, we stayed with my aunt the night before our flight. She took me to the computer and showed me how she had been playing Scrabble with friends on facebook. She and my dad had long ago been great rivals at Scrabble and she was encouraging me to teach him how to play her. While online she showed me how a cousin (who was housesitting and catsitting for us) was also online and they proceeded to chat. I was still not converted.

When we arrived at my besties I realised she was hooked. She would pop off for a few minutes and continue building whatever civilisation she was into at the time, chat to people and show me all the friends she had caught up with since we had been at school. I found it a bit antisocial seeing as I had travelled the width of the country, husband and child in tow, to spend time with her. I was still not converted.

One day I attended a PD day at the TAFE I was working for. A guest speaker on the day praised the benefits of facebook and twitter to the training community. It was a way to communicate with Gen Y and he spoke of setting up groups to encourage collaboration and networking amongst the students. He himself spent his train journey home in the evening tweeting from his phone. reluctantly I went home and set up my facebook account. I was still not converted.

Within a couple of days I was inundated with friend requests. I was selective and only chose to friend people I would sit down and have a coffee or a wine with in person. I started to understand the buzz Gen Y must get from collecting as many friends as they can. Not much had changed since I left school, life is still a popularity contest, no matter how we try to pretend it isn’t. My inbox was full of notifications, every time I checked my email I ended up back on facebook. I posted some snippets, wow,all these friends choose to like or comment on my posts(again feeling somewhat popular). I was converted.

Next I began my e-learning journey. Number 2 baby was 3 months old, number 1 almost 3 years. I was encouraged to experiment with Twitter, I took some time to warm to it, but before I knew it I was tweeting, retweeting and favouriting a a range of things. I liked how I knew the news as it happened, I could link to all sorts of blogs, and websites.  Now most days I have a quick look in the morning. Again, I was converted.

Today I have my facebook account, twitter (https://twitter.com/shaunaflee), google +, eleaders4hume ning, ynhservices ning, LinkedIn, I am writing this blog on wordpress and probably more I have joined and can’t even remember.

All this networking is great, but it doesn’t detract from my face to face relationships. This week I have had some long time friends around for drinks, I have spoken to a couple of my nearest and dearest on the phone, and today had  a dear friend drop in, without needing to phone/message/inbox, to just catch up for a gossip a coffee and a laugh. This was the best form of social networking I have experienced this month.