Thursday, March 31, 2011

My March of Kindness-with a signed Dayna Martin book giveaway!

March of Kindness

I decided to join Code Name Mama on her March of Kindness back at the beginning of the month. I have been doing little random acts of kindness all through the month. I haven't blogged about it but it has been happening.

And I'm coming in on the very last day with a book to give away! Woot!

The book is "Radical Unschooling. A Revolution Has Begun" by Dayna Martin-and it's signed!

It is a lovely book all about the radical unschooling philosophy and how her family puts it into practice.
Worth a read to those both new and old to the concepts of this way of life.

The competition is open to Australian readers only and will be drawn-name out of a hat style-this Sunday afternoon. That gives you a few days to leave a comment (make sure to include your email address) telling me an act of kindness you performed to your children.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Some days it's all too tiring...


I'm joining in with My Little Drummer Boys for Aussie Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We Play! Giant drawings

We Play

We shared this activity with a couple of friends yesterday.

1-get a piece of butchers paper and lie it flat on the ground. Get the child to lie on it.

2-trace around the child. In the case of the kids we had here the size of the paper allowed us to trace the torso and head with part of the arms.


3-give the child something to draw the details in. Textas work well with butchers paper.

4-let them go wild! Don't interfere and tell them what they "should" be drawing. Wait and see


5-once they are done you can ask all sorts of questions about the picture or just hang them up


6-clean up all the textas from the tiles :-/

We are playing along with Childhood 101's WE PLAY. Check it out for lots of great play ideas and maybe even link up your own.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy second birthday Harper!!

This time 2 years ago I had just thrown my 39 week pregnant body out of bed and onto the tiles as my waters went *pop*. Labor would not start for another 12 hours but then it would only take a couple of ouchy hours before you would be in my arms.


I won't lie, you are not called the H-bomb for nothing! You are equal parts fun, love and frustration and you sure know how to bust my chops..


I know that being the third born in quick succession comes with challenges but it doesn't seem to phase you and you always get your needs met and love being with your sisters and the older kids.


You have broken my nose, worried me sick and frustrated me no end.


But if having an easier time with you meant changing your personality one bit I wouldn't have it-because it's all part of who you are, and you are one amazing child. Strong, confident, charismatic, funny, clever, fearless, hot headed, affectionate and wild.

We wouldn't have you any other way my love.

Happy second birthday!

Playing with her new train set

Loving on her new Buzz Lightyear

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I used to be the Food Police. I was obsessed with every morsel that went into my children's mouths. I admit it, I was a pain in the ass and I was very strict to the point of my kids gorging themselves whenever they had a chance on the "forbidden" food.

The thing is I did it because of fear.

I was SO scared that eating anything less than organic whole foods was going to lead to a demise in health and cause illness. It made me very anxious and there is a lot of propaganda around and other parents that fed my fear. It's also a bit of a status in the hippy-la-la(TM) community to bring the healthiest of sugar-free, home baked treats with you. I'll admit to being scared of being judged in certain circles based on what was in our lunch bag.

Before you let me know about toxic food etc let me say that I still believe in a diet mainly of whole foods for health. But I'm not frightened of the other stuff now. I eat well because it feels good to do so, I feed my kids healthy food because I want them to feel good too. I don't, however, limit their choices to just what I think is "optimal" anymore. They have many, many opportunities to choose for themselves and sometimes they pick the chocolate. You know what? Sometimes I do too.

It might sound like a small distinction but I don't think that it is.

I clean up for Tannah because I prefer the house clean and I'm not scared that she will NEVER learn to clean up herself. I let them watch as much TV as they please because I'm not scared about all the "damage" that it will do (like I was in the past) but I can see that they learn lots and enjoy watching. I also know that if there is something else on offer they might just choose the other activity rather than fear that they will sit in front of the box all day.

I feel like a lot of the eco based messages, some of the attachment parenting and even some of the radical unschooling info out there really gets you to buy into the fear. Don't buy this because your kids will die of toxic poisoning, answer every babies cry not because you want to be there and meet their needs but because you are damaging them otherwise and never, ever say no because you will be stifling your childs learning experience. I know there is lots of fear in mainstream parenting too but the hippy-la-la (TM) stuff is what I know so I'm writing from experience.

I would describe myself as all of the terms mentioned above. I'm eco aware, I'm an attachment parent and I'm a radical unschooler. I think are lots of great reasons to live the way I do. But now I'm not under the pressure of being perfect that comes with the fear of failure.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Things I know

Welcome to the Things I Know linkup! Why don't you share what you know this week?

-I love Twitter, but we need to have an open relationship

-When the kids come running in screaming "Mum! There's a HUUUUGE spider" don't panic until you see what they class as huge.

-Spiders the size of a grain of rice are OK for this arachnophobe to deal with. See above point.

-Don't throw out scraps of paper from the toy room without asking. You might have just "ruined everything" by throwing out a vital piece of a letter to Barbie

-To a child on the verge of reading opportunities to learn literacy skills are everywhere!

-the imagination of a child know no bounds and never ceases to delight me. See "unicorn horn" above.

-Moral superiority should not extend to toys. My girls get have had so much joy and many hours of play out of "plastic crap" that some of my hippy-la-la peers might look down their nose at.

-Not attaching moral superiority to food, toys, TV and the like can be hard for this hippy-la-la!

-It's not easy being the third child born in quick succession as your Mama might not have the Womens Weekly style cake planned weeks in advance for your upcoming 2nd birthday like she did with the others.

To join in the Things I Know linkup add your link here and don't forget to link back to me in your post. Look forward to reading what everyone knows this week!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


It's late, I'm emo and I can't stop thinking about Betsy.


I bought this cat for Tannah when she was still in my belly. I actually bought it at a little shop in Daylesford on my hens weekend (yes, I was pregnant at my wedding)when I was 14 weeks pregnant and I had just started to feel tiny butterfly kicks and tumbles. The cat kind of stuck out in a room full of stuffed toys and I couldn't help but take her home for my unborn baby.

Betsy was not a first favorite toy but she was in high rotation from day one. She sat in the toybox and watched me pace back and forwards with my screaming and sad baby. She was witness to so many of my own tears that first year and she was often in bed with all of us. Around the time we moved to Queensland-when Tannah turned 2- she became one of the more special toys that was not sold at the garage sale before the big move-in fact I'm pretty sure she came in the car.

She was in the pile of Tannah's stuff that was in our lounge room as Willow was peacefully born into the birth pool-Betsy was a witness to one of the most healing moments of my life. She started to become the toy that Tannah took to bed once she gave up both my breast and the dummy. It was about this time that she was christened "Betsy".

No one knows where Tannah got this name from but it was never questioned and she went from being "Tannah's cat" to Betsy in her own right.

She went with Tannah on her first sleepover away from Luke and I just before she turned 3. And when we packed up and came back to Melbourne weeks later she was one of the most important things to be bought home-definitely in the car in Tannah's arms.

Tannah became quite attached to her as she neared 4 and she was an essential sleeping item. Almost 2 years ago, as I was birthing Harper just rooms away, Tannah would have been snuggled up with Betsy when she was woken by my birthsong. When Tannah spent that first night out of the family bed and then the first night out of the family bedroom she cuddled her special toy.

Poor old Betsy is a bit haggard now. She has some band-aid bits that won't come off her fur and she is a bit matted in placed but they are all signs of love. She goes most places with Tannah and I am paranoid about losing her.

Tonight Tannah went to bed without Betsy. She didn't ask and I forgot all about it until just now when I found her while cleaning up. I got a bit teary and went and popped her into bed with my sleeping daughter. I mean-she won't just grow up like that right?

And now I can't stop thinking about how long we have had that damn cat and surely my baby girl can't be turning six next month. SIX?? It just seems like it was only yesterday that she was the baby and learning to walk and talk. And now she is learning to read. I can't help but love that she is growing up and want to freeze time all at once. I still feel amazed that I survived that first dark year and in awe of the person that she is.

So forgive a Mama for getting all emotional as her firstborn grows up a little.

We Play! Making our own stickers

We Play

I love a good "back to school" sale. My craft cupboard is filled with textas, stickers and exercise books to last us for months that were bought just after school went back at seriously cheap prices.

When I saw rolls of Toy Story adhesive book wrap at 16 cents a roll I bought a few. It was almost too cheap to leave at the shop!

The big girls were looking for something to do yesterday and I thought we could make our own sticker collage.



They cut out the shapes they wanted



And stuck them to some blank paper.

I must say this activity was a little tricky for Willow (3 and a half)she found the peeling quite hard. I ended up sitting down and helping peel the backing off. Tannah, on the other hand, really enjoyed both choosing who to cut out and fiddling about peeling the backing off.

It was a great, cheap and fun activity that kept us all busy for a pretty big chunk of time!

I'm playing along with Childhood 101's WE PLAY! Go check it out for loads of other great play ideas.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thing I know-The AusBlogCon edition.

I've been struggling how to put into words how awesome my weekend in Sydney was attending the first Aussie Bloggers Conference. So I'm going to do it the best way I know how-with a Things I Know! (for those who join in with the meme I'll do another regular linkup post on Friday as usual)

-it is possible to feel inspired, overwhelmed, moved, motivated and amused in the space of an hour
-my google reader and twitter accounts will never be the same
-if I knew that one day I was going to introduce myself as "Shae from Yay For Home" over and over I would have picked a different blog title. Say it 3 times fast. I am now known to some as "Shae from Yay from"
-that I am crap at commenting on other blogs and participating in online community-but not for long!
-That meeting some of my favorite bloggers IRL can make me a bit star struck, until the booze comes out
-that I am so grateful to all the organizers of this event
-that everyone there knows my children's fondness for the movie "Despicable Me" after watching me attempt the Gru double sprinkler dance about 4000 times.
-that being touched by someones story online is nothing like being moved by hearing them speak about it in person
-dancing for numerous hours and going up and down stairs after many wines may not be the usual way that people exercise but oh my SO SORE
-true friendship is after watching you pass out drunk they put a glass of water beside your bed and plug in your iPhone. Thanks Kate!
-if you arrive home with Happy meals in hand the picture in your head of kids running to meet you shouting "Mummy! We missed you!" followed by embrace is replaced with the reality of squeals of "MACCAS!!" and snatching.
-there is no better breast pump than your actual toddler
-that the Aussie blogging community is an incredible, diverse and inspiring group of people who have so many great things to say and stories and information to share. And they can all DANCE.

See you all in my hometown next year blogging peeps!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Things I know -the camping edition

We got back yesterday from 3 wonderful days camping (well "cabining" because we went upmarket this time)with a big group of home educating families. We went on the same camp last year and had a fantastic time again this year.

Here are some things I know about it...

-children love playing in the surf, despite the arctic temperature of the water.

-you will never regret packing a couple of extra outfits for the kids

-time to just do your own thing is highly underrated

-some kids never grow tired of being pushed on a swing

-you can form great friendships with people you only see every so often

-busy days make for easy bedtime

-sometimes I look at my firstborn and she takes my breath away with hoe grown up she is becoming

-if you put sunscreen on the kids put some on yourself. Parents are not immune from sunburn

-time spent away with my nearest and dearest always brings me joy

-sharing the story about the time 5 week old Tannah pooed so much it ended up in her hair always gets a laugh around the campfire

-the trip home is always easier because everyone is so tired that big sleeps in the car are inevitable!

I also know that I'm so committed to things I Know that I'm posting this before I get ready to jump on a plane!

Here is the linkup if you want to join in :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm not packing the Mama guilt

I'm going to the Aussie Bloggers Conference tomorrow. For me going to the conference means traveling to Sydney for 48 hours. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it a bazillion times over the last few months. If you follow me on Twitter you are probably bored with the topic unless you are going too.

I'm in the midst of packing (no mean feat since we only got back from home ed camp this afternoon!)and I've got clean undies, a magazine and a super cool outfit on the list to bring. It might surprise some of you that I'm not bringing any children. Not even the one who regularly features being photographed attached to my boob.

I have ummed and ahhed and felt happy with my decision and worried about it. To many Mamas who parent similarly to me it might seem out of the question to leave such a young child at home, especially one who is being breastfed. I must admit, if it was any of my other children at a few weeks of 2 years old I would be taking them. But Harper is Harper and part of her intense personality is fierce independence. That and I'm pretty sure that Luke is her favorite.

I'm taking a breast pump to keep my supply up though the alcohol content of my milk over this weekend means it will end up down the sink. Which pretty much means my plan to just use my besties actual baby who will be there too as a pump is out the window. I am a little concerned that Harper will wean. I will be sad if our breastfeeding relationship ends abruptly, but Tannah weaned very quickly and she was only a few months older and, after tears, that worked out fine.

One thing I'm definitely not bringing to Sydney is the Mama guilt. I have had moments of feeling guilty for "abandoning" my kids for the weekend to do something just for me. I have decided.....fuck that. The girls are being looked after by their incredibly capable Dad and they will be more than fine. 48 hours without breastfeeding Harper is unlikely to impact our relationship dramatically. And finally why shouldn't I do something that is just completely and utterly for me every so often?

iPhone? Check. Camera? Check. Berocca? Check. Mama guilt? Nuh uh, you stay at home.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Unschool Monday- the road to reading


Tannah is learning to read. Not in a structured kind of way but it's starting to come together.

Children are learning to read from the day they are born. Every time you read them a story or show them how to hold a book up the right way your child learns a little more. All of the letter writing in scribble and the nonsense words banged out on the keyboard are part of the experience too. School certainly fast tracks this and in the process it sucks the joy out of reading for a lot of kids. I will admit finding it hard to contain my impatience at wanting to share the joy of reading with my daughter. With my love of the written word it's been a struggle to just let her be and come to reading in her own time.

A lightbulb went off in Tannah's head a little while ago. She asked me to read part of a magazine to her and I was stirring something hot on the stove. I asked her to wait five minutes and I would sit down and read it for her. She pouted and said "why can't I just learn to read myself?" I told her she totally could.

This started a more keen interest in language and sounds that letters make. We've had a lot of "dog rhymes with log" conversations as well as "B is for balloon and boy and boat and..". There has been a lot more attempting at writing letters and heaps of pointing out letters she knows in day to day life. She has been really enjoying playing Starfall.I had a set of first readers stashed away and thought I'd see how she felt about those.

They are the kind that use sight words and can be read by the child simply by looking at the pictures and using repetitive sentences. A page might say "I am a dog" with a picture of a dog and the next page might say "I am in the kennel" with a picture of the dog in the kennel. These have DELIGHTED Tannah and made her very keen to read them over and over.

I need to contain myself and not push her and to let her discover reading at her own pace-but she's on her way!

Now I need her to be interested in listening to chapter books so I can red her Charlotte's Web out loud......

I'm playing along with Owlet for Unschool Monday :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Lat night I was watching some of the upsetting footage of what is happening in Japan and there was an image that I have been unable to shake from my memory.

There is a young girl, who looks like she is Tannah's age, and she is being carried by a soldier into a rescue helicopter. She is not crying but you can tell by the look on her face that she is terrified. There is destruction around her and she is being held by a stranger and I can't help but see this image as a mother.

I couldn't help but see my dear, sweet and sensitive Tannah in that girls face and I wondered how I could protect her from that. I couldn't help but get a pain in my heart knowing how upset my daughter would be of that were her. And I felt a bit sick thinking of how I would feel if it were a soldier carrying my child to safety and not me or Luke, who would be able to whisper soothing words.

Last night I was the last one awake. I went in before I went to bed and kissed Tannah and Willow like I always do. I rearranged the sheets, moved pointy toys away from faces and kissed each child on the forehead. A bit later I was lying in bed in between my husband and Harper and I was listening to them breathing.

I was overcome by the most intense feeling of gratitude.

All of my children and my husband were sleeping soundly and safely under our roof. We were not afraid or unsure of the whereabouts of each other. We were warm and comfortable and unhurt. We were not displaced from our home or hungry.

I have so very much to be thankful for.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Things I know

-there are no guarantees that children will like a type of food from one day to the next
-watching a TV show about serial killers that ends at 11:30 at night is not conducive to an easy transition into sleep
-some of the best things in life are not free...or I'd have an iPad already

-sometimes you just have to take that call

-it's a bit sad when your kids grow up and start pronouncing words the right way. I much preferred it when Tannah referred to her elbow as her oboe.
-ALWAYS pack a nappy and wipes. Even if you are only taking everyone to the shops for 20 minutes.
-packing to take the whole family away for two nights is no easier than packing to go away for 2 weeks
-it's only one more week until I leave for Sydney to go to the Aussie Bloggers Conference!!

Things I Know is now a linkup! If you want to play along leave your link here and link back to this post from your blog. I'd love to see what you know this week!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Owning your own style

I've been trying to write a post about owning your own sense of style and being comfortable with who you are-regardless of weight or signature look.

I feel writing a big deep and meaningful post about it may be overdoing it so I'm going to break it down to one sentence and give you an eyeful of my own unique way of dressing over the years.

Be yourself-there is nobody better qualified

Rockin' the Cyndi Lauper look in the 80's

Teen years = grunge

Doc Matrtens and navy blue hair at my high school graduation

White Chuck Taylors (not in the photo) and matching facial jewelry for my wedding

Have always loved dyeing my hair

Big Day Out!

Early 20's


Be bold, be comfortable, but most importantly-be you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

A characteristic of the normal child is he doesn't act that way very often. ~Author Unknown




I'm Joining in with My Little Drummer Boys for Aussie Wordless Wednesday

Monday, March 7, 2011


Discontent is the first necessity of progress. ~ Thomas Edison

I while ago I blogged about having The Right To Complain, even when your choices differ from that of the mainstream. I sure have found the need to remind myself of this lately.

We are having what Carrie at The Parenting Passageway described as an Overwhelming Year. All 3 of my amazing girls seem to be having stuff happening that requires more of me being present and helpful. To be totally and brutally honest-sometimes it's fucking exhausting.

I'm really struggling to not feel like my life is a constant stream of requests and cleaning up mess. I'm feeling like there is not enough of me to go around and it is making me feel resentful at times. I'm not always fair or nice, though I'm trying REALLY hard. I'm tired,I'm teary, I'm not eating well and I'm spending way too much time distracting myself with Twitter .

Now to many people the answer to this is school for Tannah at the very least and perhaps kinder and daycare for the smaller two. To some the struggle of the moment shows that the whole unschooling idea isn't working for us.

This really pisses me off.

I think I'm having a hard time in spite of unschooling, not because of it. I think any family who live any sort of lifestyle have issues from time to time.

If you send your children to school it's EXPECTED that there will be an adjustment period for everyone and at that it's going to suck sometimes. Why can't I be granted the same permission to have a hard time?

I know that "this too shall pass" and I'm being pro active about finding ways for everyone to feel empowered & to find some space for me. I also know that I'm being delusional if I think home education is going to be a smooth ride the whole way. Sometimes you just have to put your seat belt on and deal with some turbulence.

I'm playing along with Owlet for Unschool Monday

Friday, March 4, 2011

Things I know

-2 year old molars are a special sort of cruelty to everyone involved

-chickens like to eat chamomile. So letting them have a scratch near the chamomile patch is only a good idea if you grew the chamomile for them to eat.

-it's great when your child finds a game on the internet that they love to play. Whats not so great is hearing Dora's condescending voice over and over

-when setting up a "potions" session for the kids remember that flour and water make GLUE.

-great product, quick shipping and flat rate international postage DO exist! Thanks We Love Colors!

-I hope my girls keep the "dance like no one is watching and sing like no one can hear you" ethos for as long as possible. I love hearing and watching them sing and dance all over the place!

-I no longer laugh at "Mums Taxi" sticker on cars

Welcome to the Things I Know Linkup! Please add you link below and don't forget to link back to this post. Looking forward to seeing what others know this week...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

There were three in the bed.....

We are a co-sleeping family. When I was pregnant with Willow we traded our king size bed for a queen and a double mattress on the floor. All 5 of us slept in there together until Tannah turned 5 and wanted her own bed in her own room. Willow decided she wanted to sleep in with her sister a few months ago. So Harper, Luke and I have been rolling around in the enormous bed. As much as I like space while I sleep it seemed a bit ridiculous.

So we put feelers out for someone willing to gift us an old cot mattress and (thanks Cath!) we now have a bed that looks like this


It sure is going to feel strange when it's just Luke and I in there in a few years when Harper leaves the bedroom too.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Some photos just seem to capture my children's personalities so well.




I'm joining in with the Wordless Wednesday link up over at the Natural Parents Network on Natural Birth (check it out-Harper and I are there!)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A March of Kindness

March of Kindness

When I saw this idea over at Code Name Mama I was inspired. Filling a whole month with kindness! Just one little act, every day.

I'm in.

Just when I was thinking that maybe I was going to miss out on my act for the very first day an opportunity came up. Tannah asked if there was any of the chocolates left that we had been given as a gift. There was. Just one that I was saving until the kids were in bed. I seized the moment and in the spirit of the March Of Kindness I handed it over. Well I chopped it into 3 bits so all 3 girls could share it.

It may have been just a small act of kindness (depending on how much you like chocolate I guess) but it felt good to share it and the girls were all very pleased to enjoy a little bit of chocolate.

So how about a March of Kindness?
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