Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sharpest Pencil in the Ice Bucket

For AGES and AGES I have been struggling with the girls craft and drawing, struggling with it being spread from one end of the house to the other, struggling with their individual craft boxes they were given as presents by a well meaning family member. These boxes, while much loved, have finally given up the ghost, with sides ripped and lids lost. Their loss has given me the perfect opportunity to bring some order back into at least the colouring in stuff.

On my last trip into the largest town nearby I popped into the Bag a Bargain $2 shop (you know the ones I mean where you can find anything from feminine hygiene products in brands you've never heard of, to really tacky ashtrays with the Australian Flag plastered all over them) to see what I could find. The pencil tins and pots I had been thinking of were all gaudy with decorations that would quickly fall off and annoy me no end. I then happened upon these lovely 'mini champagne buckets' as they were labelled. They were just what I was looking for and the Muddy Kids love them. So much so, that next time I'm in town I plan on picking up a couple more to further organise the craft area.

The added benefit has been it has kept the Muddy Girls entertained for hours (literally hours) sharpening pencils and sorting crayons, deciding which ice bucket to put them in, and 'Is it sharp enough' as they sharpen them to within an inch of their life. They've been re-inspired to get back into the colouring in, and it has been a daily activity ( several times throughout the day). I'm now looking for new storage ideas for the rest of the craft paraphernalia and am looking for any suggestions as to how you keep order in the chaos of craft.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Baby Kookaburra

We have a friend at home at the moment, a Baby Kookaburra, the Muddy Kids get very excited when they see him. He is however being bullied by the other birds. He finds a nice sunny spot and they flock to him and swoop him and it's not long before he flies away, having had enough of being bullied by the other birds.

Joining in with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May Mayhem - In a Shade of Green

I'm not sure what happens Nine months before May but in our family, whatever it is has resulted in 4 cousins all sharing May for their birthday. This means we've had a few weeks of presents, cake and birthday goodness, all culminating in a big joint birthday party on Saturday. The Dress code was 'A Touch of Green', and because I get carried away when there's a theme, there were green invites and whatever green lollies I could find at the shops, there were grapes and green balloons, green lolly bags and a treasure hunt for green turtles that were bubbles! The dessert was a green (peppermint) ice cream slice and my Muddy Sister-in-law did a stellar job with the Green Turtle Birthday Cake.

Everyone got into the spirit, including the Muddy Great Grandma who came out home for the celebrations, decked out in green attire. I never realised just how many clothes in green the Muddy Kids had until I went to get them dressed on Saturday morning, I even found stripey green socks for Muddy Bubby.

There's something special about the Muddy Kids and their 6 cousins (my Muddy Sister-in-laws have 3 each), they have a very special bond that never wavers, when they see each other each time it's like they've not been apart, there's not the Muddy Kids usual shyness or reluctance to leave my side, they're straight in the swing of things. We live about 2 hours away from each set of cousins and between the 10 cousins there is only 4 years and 9 months that separate them all from oldest to youngest. I'm not sure whether it's this closeness in age that has bonded them so firmly, or whether it's a feeling they get that these people will always have my back, will be by my side. Whatever it is, it is so lovely to see, and to watch them together. I do anticipate though, after watching their antics together on Saturday as thick as thieves, that they will certainly be getting into some mischief together as they get older!

Firm Friends, Muddy Bubby and his cousin, born 3 months apart.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Muddy Bikers

My Muddy Pixie was gifted with a beautiful new bike for her birthday, this meant a move up the chain for my Muddy Puzzler, from the 3 wheel trike to the littlest two wheeler (with training wheels). We've been out and about the house paddock practicing our peddling and getting better and better each day. My Muddy Organiser likes to make a race of it, in her funky gumboots she's like lightning streaking away from the others, practicing her turns as she comes and loops around us all, as we try to catch her.

As we all get better we're riding a bit more each day, a bit further, and a bit further. Our next challenge is the long driveway to the front gate and letterbox. Last time we tried I ended up pushing the Muddy Puzzler and the Muddy Pixie walked 3/4 of the way, bike abandoned at the first bend, while the Muddy Organiser's training wheels kept getting stuck on the rocks, it was a long slow ride. How quickly things change, and things like bike riding remind me that my babies aren't babies any more, they grow and change so quickly, so it's so important to capture these special times on camera, at the same time as being in amongst the fun.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Grateful For Sisters

I am an only child, my mum said 'a smart woman never forgets the pain of childbirth' and decided that one was enough for her. Mum said I only ever asked once for a brother or sister, other than that I was content. Happy to play with close family friends who were like sisters and then I have my BFF who is like my sister from another mother. I never wanted, I had good friends and a loving family.

Then I married into a large family (well large by my only child standards), Muddy Hubby has 2 sisters and 1 brother. Just before I got married my 2 sister-in-laws gifted me with a lovely photo frame with the heading 'Sisters' on it, they made it quite clear that they didn't wanted to be treated as 'sister-in-laws' they wanted to be 'sisters'. I have never forgotten and it has always been that way, we have talked and fought and cried and laughed together.

Last year my Muddy brother-in-law got married, he married the most wonderful girl and we enveloped her into our family fold as another 'sister' despite the fact that she already had two sisters of her own. This week I am so grateful for all of my sisters. I was in desperate need of a babysitter so I could go to Boot camp this week and one of my sisters stepped in. We're throwing a big party here today and surprisingly it has so far been stress free. We have divided up the tasks amongst ourselves, cake with one sister, lunch with another and venue, dessert and lolly bags with me. All sorted thanks to my wonderful sisters.

It is only in the last few years as my parents begin to age a little and I have had children of my own that I have had a real yearning for my own sister, someone to share the load with and confide in. My sister-in-laws have been so wonderful in stepping in to fill this void that I only get an occasional pang for a sister of my own blood. For now though I am very grateful for my BFF (sister from another mother) and my 'Sisters' and their helpfulness that gets me through a week with a little less stress and some time for boot camp.

My Hen's night when I look soooo young and was gifted with two 'Sisters'

October 2011 where we got an updated photo for my 'Sisters' frame.
Photo Courtesy Pink Bug Photography

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Birthday Fun

Four Years ago today I gave birth to my Muddy Pixie. Happy Birthday Beautiful Girl!

Four Years of Birthday and Cake Fun!

Yesterday we had a Birthday Morning Tea (a day early)

The 'Princess Cake' as requested

Linking up with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Block

I will be the first one to tell you I haven't been coping some days while Muddy Hubby has been away up north. The Muddy Kis have been largely good, but it's the whiney voices when they're tired and the bickering between them that I really struggle with. We have been spending most of our days outside, drinking in the autumn sunshine and warmth, rather than be inside in the cold house going stir crazy.

While it has been so lovely to enjoy the outside time and some old favourites of bikes, the sandpit and my washing, it has not staved off 'happy hour' come dinner and bed time. No matter how I work my day it still ends in fights and tears. We are at the point where the Muddy Kids are all in bed by 6-6:30pm as by then we've all had enough of each other and they'll be up in 12 hours to start it all over again. I have moved everything forward, the animals are done either before I pick the Muddy Organiser up from the bus or as soon as we get back. We have swapped dinner and bath time around to see if that makes a difference - it hasn't. Day sleeps make no impact, it's still a battle, I still end up doing my 'block' at least once before they fall into blissful slumber. I am hoping things settle down a little when Muddy Hubby returns, as I really hate doing my block before bedtime, I feel bad all night and don't sleep well at all.

The benefit of such an early bed time though is that I have time to run around and get my jobs done before 'The Block' starts. I have become a little addicted I must admit, surprising as I was a little put off the last two seasons, but there's something about this season that has drawn me in, Muddy Hubby too, he's been asking for updates via phone as he sits on the tractor at night!

Today we have again spent the morning outside and tomorrow will bring some Day Care respite and funnily enough I'll be eagerly waiting to pick them all up and bring them home right on 'Happy Hour'.

How do you manage 'Happy Hour' at your place, I'm in need of some ideas and inspiration!
Are you addicted to 'The Block' too?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Show Time

There's something about the local show that makes you feel a little like you've walked back in time. It reminds me of when I was a kid and went to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, back when it was at Moore Park, it was a bit dingy, a bit old fashioned, smelly, loud and so much fun. Our showground in town is old, I don't think it's moved in the 96 years we've had the show, the pavilions are the same, some with a coat of paint and some repair work, but still original buildings. The animal yards are probably not as old, but still are not modern by any standard, and the competition categories are still largely unchanged, including pieces of hand embroidery and hand sewn pieces of children's clothing, fruit and veggie growing and my personal favourite for the kids 'decorated fruit or vegetable'.

Muddy Girls with Muddy Pa's Prize Winning Sheep

Checking out the Wool Pavilion
The Muddy Girls had been talking about going to the show for days, we'd put our entries in and they were so very excited to see what had transpired. I am so very pleased to say we had some winners! I had limited the girls to 3 entries, they each got to put in 6 brown hen eggs, 6 iced and decorated arrowroot biscuits and one drawing. Lucky for me the prize winning was spread around.

My Muddy Organiser won a Second Place for her 6 Iced and Decorated Arrowroot Biscuits.

My Muddy Pixie won a Highly Commended for her 6 Iced and Decorated Arrowroot Biscuits.

My Muddy Puzzler kept up the Prize Winning Eggs, gaining a Second Place for her 6 Brown Hen Eggs, not bad given there were 18 other entries.

I limited them to two rides and one game and no showbags, my theory is if I let them start too much this young I've got nowhere to go as they get older. We shared one bag of fairy floss and their Muddy Grandma treated them to an ice cream. I did my bit by manning the Preschool Animal Farm for a stint and we finished off our outing with some hot chips, which Muddy Bubby was most excited about, even trying to steal as many as he could from his sisters. It was such a lovely afternoon, and the Muddy Girls were so excited to call Muddy Hubby to tell him all about their afternoon and their big wins!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Grateful For A Wednesday

Since the start of Term One I've been doing Bootcamp on a Wednesday afternoon. I love this time, it's not something I ever thought I'd fit into my schedule, but somehow it works, around dancing lessons, day care pick ups and Muddy Bubby it all fits in.

It's all thanks to Muddy Hubby, each Wednesday afternoon he takes Muddy Bubby with him to work, on the tractor, in the ute, up the paddock, whatever he's doing he takes his little man with him. It's turned into a lovely part of our family routine. Some quality time for both of them. Muddy Bubby gets his little legs kicking when he sees Muddy Hubby coming and his face lights up with excitement. For us it's been a win win situation. I get some precious time to focus on me, and the men in my life get their time together, to get to know each other and for Muddy Hubby to start passing on all his farming love and knowledge.

Even last week when Muddy Hubby was flat out trying to get sowing and spraying done, he strapped the car seat into the tractor and away they went. I am so grateful for this time and for the great bond my husband is building with his son and am linking up with Maxabella at Village Voices for 52 Weeks of Grateful.

We're all exhausted by the end of Wednesday, asleep in his highchair.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Drafting the Rams out

Sunday afternoon after a lovely Mother's Day lunch at the local pub we came home and drafted the Rams out of a mob of Ewes. We can expect babies about July/August!
A sad Ram to be leaving his ladies

Heading up the drafting race, Rmas to the left, Ewes to the right.

Some colour in the sheep yards with my Muddy Pixie and Puzzler
Linking up for Wordless Wednesday (not quite wordless this week) with Trish at

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Feeling the Pressure

Wednesday is Show Day! A very exciting time in our town. We get a local show day public holiday, and it's a fantastic chance to catch up with friends you don't see very often as we wander around the show checking out all the exhibits, machinery, animals and competitions.

I am starting to feel the pressure though. Ever since my Muddy Organiser was born we've been entering 6 Hen Eggs either brown or white in the Egg category, and every year we've been a prize winner, first prize at that! That's four consecutive years, that's a lot of pressure! We've been avoiding using eggs for the past two weeks, as we gather a bigger pool from which to pick six winners. Then today we will sort them out and pick the ones for the show. It honestly doesn't bother me if we don't win, but it's the comments from everyone else that are putting the pressure on 'got your eggs ready yet Nat?','hope you've got some good ones because we're putting some winners in'.

To try and distract ourselves the girls and I have been looking at what else we can enter. They have grand plans of decorated arrowroot biscuits, a packet chocolate cake, a drawing, pet rocks, decorated fruit and vegetables, a decorated saucer, the list goes on. Somehow I think time will get the better of us, but it is so lovely to see their joy and excitement in getting ready for the show and participating in a real community event.

Last Year's Production Line for Arrowroot Biscuit Decorating
Muddy Organiser Collecting Eggs, back when it all began.

Just so you know, in case you were planning on entering an egg competition anytime soon, the judges like consistency, they don't have to be the biggest but consistent in colour, size and shape.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sowing Love

There's something about Sowing Time, the promise of possibilities, the team work to get it sown, the machinery and the way it needs to all work together, with just the right amount of rain, not too much, not too little. As much as it frustrates me I love it.

When my Muddy Brother-in-law stopped to shift paddocks and fill up the other day I snapped a quick couple of shots on the phone. I really do love this time of year. Once it's over in a couple of weeks we will hope for rain and watch the seeds shoot and grow. Then we can focus on Shearing and after that work towards Harvest, the never ending cycle for our farming life.

Muddy Hubby and Muddy Brother-in-law making a plan (not sure how they hear each other over the sound of the augers).
The Air Seeder all folded up, ready to move, while Muddy Hubby and Muddy Brother-in-law fill up the Seed Bins with Wheat and Fertiliser.

One Wing of the Air Seeder Upright for transport

The disc and tine, the disc makes the furrow in the paddock and the tine plants the seed behind it