19 January 2017

Camping Solo: A Summer Adventure

Caming Solo and Other Summer Adventures

There was a time not so very long ago when I stared at the blank canvas of the summer holidays and worried how on earth I would fill it for my kids this year - me, a mum on her own.
I prayed for miracles, a way to go on holiday, provision - and lo and behold, miracles happened. Somehow dollars stretched and opportunities opened up, and here we are, in the middle of a very busy un-boring summer, where the kids have had a ball and I've learned, once again, that I CAN DO HARD THINGS.

Hard things like facing New Years Eve without a party (gulp), but still managing to toast marshmallows and let off fireworks. Like driving for eight-hours-straight with a car full of kids and a dog to visit family down-country (sustained by $1 frozen McD's drinks). And like squeezing all our camping gear into the car, setting up a tent with not a bloke in sight, camping for a week and then packing it all down again and squishing it all back in the car, with only the kids to help.

This summer has been like an endurance test - a test of my mettle. Especially THE CAMPING.
I wouldn't say it was the most fun, relaxing camping trip we've ever been on but I did it. WE did it.


31 December 2016

Good Riddance 2016 (but Thanks for not Killing Me)


Goodbye and Good Riddance 2016

Today is the last day of this bloody awful year. It has been without a doubt the hardest year of my life - yet strangely it hasn't actually been the worst year. 
Why? Because I'm finishing the year a stronger person than I began it.

My faith in God has been tested, and strengthened, because He has not failed me yet.
I've lost friends along the way, but discovered others whose worth is pure gold. 
I've had to learn to fill the roles of both mum and dad - and have since realised how incredible single mums are.

There are so many of us out there, doing the hard yards, unseen and alone, but rocking parenting in spite of the endless challenges - in spite of incredibly tight budgets, the (unfair and untrue) judgments of others and the sheer relentlessness of doing life on our own. 
I am in awe of the strength of women, and single mums in particular.

12 December 2016

Surviving (and enjoying) Christmas

Decorating the Christmas Tree - at least it SMELLS like Christmas

How are things in the Christmas trenches where you are? How's that to-do list? Got an Elf infestation? An Advent Calendar mental block? Feeling like a Grinch?

I'm just writing in solidarity to say, I feel ya. Hang in thereThis too shall pass.

December 26th will dawn and we will have made it through another Christmas - hopefully without too many additional grey hairs.

This is me and the kids' first Christmas on our own, and I have been fairly dreading it. We put up the Christmas tree on December 1st as usual, because the kids wanted to - they were excited that it was nearly Christmas. Me? not so much.
I strung up lights and garlands, hung decorations and Christmas wreaths with a rock lodged in my chest - going through the motions for them. The morning we were due to have our gingerbread house decorating "party" I sat on my windowseat with a few tears leaking - this Christmas season was not feeling OK at all. The first Christmas is the hardest, they reckon.


07 December 2016

How to Construct a GingerBread House (& have fun doing it)

How to construct a gingerbread house (and have fun while you;re at it)

Right now you might be finding yourself in the thick of Christmas madness and this may at first appear to be another story to add to the pressure of all the things you could be/should be doing to make the season magical.
Don't worry, it's not.
This is a post written by a mum from deep in the trenches, who is facing her first Christmas as a sole parent and who turned to an old favourite tradition - and some dear friends - to help connect with JOY.

You won't find any professional-looking Pinterest-inspired gingerbread houses in this post to make you feel overawed or intimidated (though our houses are VERY well constructed and could withstand any earthquake - we'll tell you how). All decorating in this post was done by lolly-guzzling children and mums with sticky fingers and hands shaking with tiredness (or was that shoulders shaking with laughter?)

Here is a record of a village construction party that brought warm fuzzies into what was feeling like a very bleak time. It was an afternoon filled with laughter and teamwork, lollies and helping hands.

Let's get on with it:

30 November 2016

How to throw a party for your teenager (the easy way)

How to throw a party for your teenager the easy way

When it comes to birthday parties, I am usually known for going over the top with party prep and creativity. For years this blog has offered tips, ideas and how to's on how to create themed birthday parties that your kid will look forward to for months and reminisce about for years.

This is not one of those parties. Those days are gone - at least when it comes to my eldest son, anyway.
These days we are teenagers; we are not little kids any more. We want our birthday parties to be "chill" and "lit". (Oldie speak = "cool" and "legit" - I think???)

Last weekend I managed to pull off a pretty "lit" party quite successfully, without embarrassing my brand-new 14-year-old - and it was really easy. Here's what ya do...


09 November 2016

What Kids Learn from Having a Dog

What kids learn from Having a Dog

In just four short months our rescue puppy, Clyde, has turned us into a bunch of fully converted Dog People. Of course the kids had been begging for us to become a Dog Family for donkey's years, but I had taken some convincing, because I'd heard the rumours.
Dogs are lots of work. They stink, they shed hair, they chew everything, they pee and poop everywhere, they eat you out of house and home. Having a puppy is the same amount of work as having a newborn; having a dog is like having another kid.

Being your quintessential Lazy Mother, I was extremely reluctant to sign up for extra work. I mean, I already had my hands full with three human children.
Who needs the extra job of picking up poop and bathing a dog when it's all you can do to keep your boys regularly showering and your toilet floor a urine-free zone.
Am I right?
Having a dog sounded like sooooo much work.

But then we got Clyde. In some kind of weird fit of intuition, I had a gut feeling that a puppy was just what the kids needed to help them get through a tough time.
It seemed counter-intuitive, and plenty of people thought I really had finally gone crazy taking on extra work in the middle of a crisis, but I turned out to be right on the money with this one.