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The Ballarat Bucket List is both for locals needing new ideas for getting the best from living in Ballarat and for those looking at visiting – some inside knowledge is always a good thing.   If it’s family friendly,  fun and within 20kms of Ballarat then we want it on the list.   Let’s try to build it to 100 and share the best we have to offer.   If you have a suggestion leave it in the comments below  – would love to add them. 

the ballarat bucket list

  1. Walk, bike ride or run Lake Wendouree (6kms)
  2. Have a picnic in the Botanical Gardens.  Take ‘selfies’ with some of the  Prime Ministers in the Avenue and see the beautiful begonias.
  3. Visit the Black Hill look out at dusk and enjoy the lights of the city.
  4. Walk around Lake Esmond 
  5. Sit in the rotunda on lower Sturt St and watch the traffic.  (Enjoy and ice-cream or something from the bakery.)
  6. Visit Sovereign Hill
  7. Play in  the Tangled Maze (Creswick ) and enjoy a game of mini-golf.
  8. Take a picnic out the Bungal Dam (Lal Lal). See the old blast-furness, the reservoir and take a bush walk.
  9. Go gold panning at Slatey Creek picnic and camping ground.  Take your own pan (old frypan works well) and some snags for the BBQ.   And yes you can still find gold!
  10. Visit Kryal Castle  (Ballarat For Families Review here.)
  11. Visit the Ballarat Wildlife Park.
  12. Drive up Mt Buninyong and check out the stunning views. 
  13. Visit the Peppercorn Cafe (Stieglitz) and buy the kids pink lemonade served in crazy tea pots.
  14. Have a play at the Midlands Reserve Water Park on Doveton  Street.
  15. Take a trip to the Ballarat Art Gallery.
  16. Take a ride on the tram at Lake Wendouree.
  17. Go for a bike ride on the Ballarat-Skipton rail trail.
  18. Take the kids for a play on the Adventure Play ground (Lake Wendouree) or one of our other  200 playgrounds.
  19. Visit the Eureka Stockade and the Museum of Australian Democracy
  20. Check out the local Markets.
  21. Check out the local Festivals.
  22. Take trip to Ballarat Bird World (Mt Helen)
  23. Try some star-gazing at the Ballarat Observatory.
  24. Take in a show at the beautiful Her Majesty’s Theatre
  25. Go for a walk (11 walking track ideas provided by Ballarat Community Health.)
  26. Take a bat and ball up to Victoria (Vic) Park and play some games or climb the Mullock Heap.
  27. Go for some more walks (Blossom Connects Easy and Hard Ballarat Walking Tracks.)
  28. Take a trip to Clunes (33kms) and explore old shops of the main street.   Lunch at the bakery or cafe.
  29. Take the kids for a play in the beautiful Kirks Reservoir gardens (Brown Hill).
  30. Visit the Lal Lal falls.  There is a playground and BBQs and heaps of room to run and play.
  31. Head out on a fishing trip to Lake  Burrumbeet
  32. Visit the Devil’s Kitchen at Scaresdale.  An interesting collection of rock formations and creeks well worth an explore. 
  33. Check out Central Highlands Library.  Lend a book or dvd, go to story-time or sit and read stories to the kid yourself. 
  34. Take the kids to Plaster Fun House so they can create a mini-masterpiece. 
  35. Take a break at the Specialist School ‘Special Treats Cafe’ on Gillies Street.
  36. Catch a movie at the Regent Cinemas.
  37. Walk the middle ‘grassed’ area of Sturt street and take time out to appreciate the statues and sculptures. 
  38. Head on out to the Creswick Woollen Mills  and take a tour or just feed their alpacas – which is free. 
  39. Take a dip in one of our outdoor pools
  40. Take a dip in the heated Ballarat Aquatic Centre pool.
  41. Explore Mt Beckworth – it’s a beautiful place for walks and picnics. 
  42. Head on out and have a Ballarat family adventures and share it on Instagram.  #ballaratbucketlist #ballaratforfamilies so we can all be inspired. 
  43. Go out and visit the Jubilee Company Quartz Mine ruins. (Smythesdale).   Once one of the most important gold mines in the area. 
  44. Take the kids to the 1950’s inspired  Krooze in Cafe is Mt Helen for a milkshake and fries. 
  45. Only 55 more to find ….

 

What else?  Add your ideas in the comments so we can build up 100 ideas of things to do with your family in Ballarat. 

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Is there anything more Australian than playing in your own backyard?   (Well maybe Vegemite on toast or cricket on the beach, but apart from that it would have to be close,  right? )      It’s that little patch of space that every Aussie gets to call their own.   It’s safe and predictable but also has the potential to become anything you decide it could be.   

backyard kids playground

As you can see our backyard is on the large side.   (Okay, let’s be honest it’s bigger than most city folk’s entire house block.)     This is an awesome thing for playing hide-n-seek or doing fifteen cartwheels in a row,  but seriously not so much fun when it comes to mowing.   I’m not a  fan.   But sadly the kids don’t seem as interested in outdoor play when they have to wade through waist-high grass.  (My kids are just not that hard-core.)

Backyard work

But I am a fan of having space.  Space for the girls to do gymnastics, set up camps  and run races. Space for me to grow flowers.  Space for the  resident nature boy to plant trees and encourage wildlife.   And even space for our crazy boarder collies to pelt around full speed and come to screaming stop at our feet.  

backyard veggie patch

There is also space for veggies.   I love the idea of a veggie patch brimming with vitamin rich goodness to feed my family. Unfortunately I like  nightly watering  a little less so.    My patience runs thin by the end of December and I usually only end up growing   a couple of zucchini and tomato plants – because they can basically take care of themselves.  My ideas are good – but my follow through leaves room for improvement. 

backyard flowers

As a rule  I’m much better with flowers.   I love flowers.    They make me happy.   I like nothing more than sitting on my decking  (in my deliciously cozy egg-chair) looking out over my garden beds of gorgeous flowers. They almost seem to sing peace and harmony to me. Bizarre I know, but none the less true. 

Craz backyard

While where on the subject of crazy singing flowers daisies are my favourite.    I think it might be because they just seem so ridiculously happy all of the time.   Or maybe because they too are really low-maintenance.   I have  been known to walk by people’s gardens and casually reach in a pull a cutting out to bring home.  I guess it’s a little on the naughty side but it’s also a really cheap and interesting way to make sure your garden is full of colour. 

 
Backyard chooks

And then we have the chooks.   Our three ladies are aptly named Lara, Hannah and Bok Bok.  I’ve gotta tell you chooks really make a backyard come to life.  When we first got them they used to roam all over the place – which was all kinds of awesome.   But eventually I got sick of them pecking on our glass back door and pooping on the decking.  So now they’re confined to their pen where they spend their time happily scratching in the dirt and laying amazingly fresh eggs for us.  

How’s your backyard?  Anything stand out as making it special?   If  you are a backyard  aficionado like me you might be interested in BLOOM over on facebook.  It is all about bringing back the backyard and reconnecting the family with the outdoors. After all, when you think about it,  that’s where so many  of our fondest childhood memories are made. 

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As mums we have a tendency to get so caught up being  ‘a good parent’ that we  forget  the seriously important stuff.   Like the fact that our kids need to know that we value ourselves as people enough to spend time doing the things we love.  Most women are born with an inbuilt need to nurture others but have to learn the skill of nurturing themselves.   I find it helps if you remember  that taking care of your own happiness today gives your kids permission to do the exact same thing tomorrow, and for the rest of their lives. 

What is it you love to do?

What’s keeping you from doing it?

Little inspirations for busy mums .... reconnect with what you love

 

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Learning something new ABOUT ME

by Caz on December 7, 2014 · 12 comments

Hi there.  My name is Caz and I’m addicted to words and  blogging.   Welcome to my world and thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about what I do here.   Let’s start with my ‘fancy face’ photo in full hair and make-up.   (Totally not what I’d look like if you knocked on my front door.)

cazfaceseven

My journey as a blogger started way back in 2009 when the Aussie Blogosphere was small and you could pretty much comment on every other blog in the land. (Try doing that today!)   I had always been a bit of a ‘Word Nerd’ and, after seeing a friends blog, I knew this was the place I needed to be.   With three little pre-school girls crawling around my feet I fired up my lap-top, bought myself a domain name and let the Word Nerd roam free.  

Being a stay-at-home mum was a revelation to me.   I’d dreamt about it for so long and passionately wanted to do it right – but was completely unprepared for how draining and demanding it would be.  The Truth About Mummy was my story of coming to terms with the fact that living your dreams can be gut-wrenchingly hard.   I basically Word Nerded myself through the process of hanging up my supermum cape.

I loved that blog (and to be honest I still do) but as with all things it’s had to grow up.  These days I blog asCaz Filmer Writes and, while I still have my honest mummy moments, I also write about a myriad of things that come across my path and spark my passion.   I love to Word Nerd about my home town of  Ballarat, my journey learning to run, dyslexic (yes a Word Nerd can be dyslexic) and my secret passion for all things marketing and communications.  

That said I will never forget that this blog was born to be a Mummy Blog.  I feel strongly about supporting other mums as they surf the tidal wave of emotions parenthood brings.  I want to use this space to celebrate and support all things ‘mummy’ related – but especially the emotional health and well-being of Australian mums as they sew their time, energy,  patience and hard earned finance into the lives of their little people.   

In my other life (you know,  the one I had before kids and obsessive blogging) I worked  as a case manager within the disability service system.  More recently I’ve studied project management, business management and marketing and worked part-time raising community awareness  as the Regional Manager of a dance school for children and young adults with Down syndrome – that was just a little bit magical.    At the moment I’ve taken a few months off paid work to care for my mum who has alzheimers.   That one is tough and something I’m working through day-by-day.

And now, in the spirit of keeping it real, this is what I really look like …… 

About me picture

If you’ve read all the way down to here you might have guessed this is my new ‘About Me’ page.    After faffing around for a  while I’ve finally updated it.  Whadayathink?

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Hey there Mum, do you need a night off?

by Caz on December 4, 2014 · 4 comments

This is a sponsored post for Eat Now

If there is a mum around who doesn’t answer yes to that I’ll eat my proverbial hat.  (Hmmm  hat – delicious!)

Being ‘Mum’ is hands down the hugest and most awesome adventure most of us will go on in our lifetime – but it’s also freaking hard work.   (I’m guessing that’s not news to anyone.)   I’ve never done anything that takes as much out of  me on such a regular basis.     You make a commitment to these beautiful little human beings when they arrive earthside,  in complete  ignorance of just how much work they’re going to be –  and for how long.   Of course we  need a night off.   We’re all exhausted!

So, this post is really a bit of a public service announcement in the theme of how to get a night off with minimal hassle.    Eat Now is an on-line food ordering network with restaurants all across Australia.   Since 2010 its goal has been to make it ‘quick and easy to find local restaurants that service your area.’    I know for most people one of the biggest barriers to getting meals home delivered is the energy it takes to find out who does what  – especially once you move past pizza and start looking for something a bit healthier.  

Eat Now - How it works

So, this is how it works.   Pop over to the Eat Now site and  type in your postcode.  Up comes all of the options for restaurants that deliver near you – including their on-line menus.  Order and pay on the Eat Now site and wait for your meal to ring the front door-bell.  Hello night off from cooking!   Sounds deliciously simple. 

We had a little discussion on the Facebook page the other day what a night off  really means for a mum.  There was lots of chatter and a few  crazy suggestion but for most of us it seems that not having to cook was right up there.    Although I’m pretty confident the Eat Now concept was dreamt  up by a hungry single male with a broken can-opener, I think it’s a fair call to say this could soon become a very good friend of the average overworked mum.

Do you order home delivery?  What are your thoughts about being able to access it so easily?

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‘In collaboration with Super A-Mart’

 

The other day I headed out to do a spot of Christmas shopping.   Nothing unusual about that around this time of year.  The sun was shining, my diary was clear and I even  had some vouchers tucked safely away in my bag.   All my shopping ducks were  sitting in a neat little row and I was ready to knock a serious hole in the Christmas wish lists.  

So, I kissed my  three little people goodbye and waved them off on the school bus before jumping in the car and  heading off to  Super A-Mart.  I had high hopes for picking up some cute lamps and cushions for the girls bedrooms.  Room make-overs are huge at our place right now.  We even get ipad style bedroom makeover videos – complete with American accent voice overs.  (Insert mother eye-roll here.)

SuperA-Mart Paris Doona Cover

Rocking up to the Super A-Mart car park I was a little excited to see it was  pretty much empty.  This happens out here in the country when you arrive right on 9.00am.    Being the dedicated introvert I am I love an empty shop, with space to wander and ponder about what you’re buying without the pressure of being surrounded by hordes of people. 

SuperA-Mart footstool

With a smile on my face I locked up the car and headed on in.   Before I had made it through the foyer I had already spotted a perfect bedroom  makeover presents for my big girl.    Her bedroom theme is ‘Paris’ and this footstool,  while obviously not a lamp or cushion,  would look pretty fine in her room.   She’s been dropping hints about how much she needs one  for about six months – so I knew I couldn’t go wrong.    Too  easy.

SuperA-Mart cushion display

As suspected the Ballarat Super A-Mart was blissfully quiet at 9.00am and I was able to stroll around at my leisure checking out cushions, lamps and other bedroom bling.  Anything  Paris, beach or pink-n-pretty was getting a thorough eye-lashing.   I was pretty happy with the choices and knew I was headed towards being named mother of the year by my kids come Christmas morning.

And then this happened ……..

 SuperA-Mart egg chair two

Oh my goodness. 

I looked at the beautiful egg chair, felt my heart jump with anticipation,  and then quickly looked away.   Turning myself around I told my legs to carry me back over the other side of the shop  –  to  places were bedroom friendly Christmas presents waited for me.   I thought again about what would look best in which room and  how happy the kids would be.    I was pretty much ready to spend my vouchers and experience that smug feeling of being almost ready for Christmas.

But the egg chair.    

At that point I made a fatal mistake.   I headed  back toward the egg chair and SAT IN IT.   You know  –  just to see if it was  really as comfortable as it looked.   Unfortunately it was.    My brain went into parental guilt melt-down.  How could I even consider spending the vouchers on myself when Christmas is just around the corner?  So there I sat ‘oh so gently’ swaying in the perfectly comforting egg chair while two sides of my mind played fisticuffs about what should or shouldn’t come home with me. 

About five seconds later I stood up, walked to the counter and bought the egg chair.   The guilt prone side of my mind lay bruised and shaken on the ground while its adversary did a small victory dance of joy beside it.    All I could think about was getting home and sitting in the beautiful sunshine in my adorable new egg chair.  How blissful.   Christmas shopping guilt you are defeated. 

Do you get the guilts about spending money on yourself at Christmas time?   Would you have bought the egg chair?

caz in the egg chair

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You know I run right?  Well today I’m getting to combine my new love of running with my old love of blogging while also supporting my local Ballarat community.  How good is that! 

As I’m having a break from ‘paid work’ at the moment, so I can care for my mum for a few months, I’ve been picking up a spot of voluntary  work with some awesome Ballarat programs with a heart to support our community.   At the moment I’m working with an amazing  Ballarat based business called ‘Operation Move’  as they work to raise money to support the Indigenous Marathon Project.   The Indigenous Marathon Project aims to send indigenous athletes to America to compete in the New York Marathon!     Follow the link if you want to know more – it’s pretty awesome. 

Many of you will know about Operation Move as it was  started by one of our own legendary blogger buds Kate  from KateSaysStuff. A few years ago Kate decided she needed to get herself  moving and  using her own blog for accountability went from a self-confessed couch potato to a marathon runner.  In the process she opened her blog up to other women,  giving them a place to commit to moving on a weekly basis.   From this has grown an inspirational Australia wide business that uses the power of social media to motivate, inspire and train women to get off the couch and move in a safe and supported way.

In June this year I started the Operation Move ‘Learn to Run’ program and was blown away by the commitment, interest and in particular the way the program uses social media to build motivational networks of ongoing support and friendship for women as they move.   I’ve gone from being a non-runner to regularly running 5kms, which is something I would never have dreamed I could do a little over 12 months ago.

aaaoperationmove

Anyhoo Operation Move, along with Perfit Health and Wellness Ballarat, are sponsoring an informal run around Lake Wendouree on December 18th at 6.00pm – starting at St Patrick’s Point.     $20 of the $27 entry fee is going directly to the Indigenous Marathon Project.  There will be a number of the local Operation Move ‘Learn to Run’ graduates participating, along with the teams more seasoned runners.   Kate is really keen to promote the event as much as possible as she works towards supporting Ballarat to become a place where people move more and Operation Move to have its roots firmly grounded in supporting minority groups to achieve their dreams.

So if you can run, walk or roll (I’m guessing that means on a bike,  not freestyle on the ground, but if that’s what it takes …..) Operation Move and the Indigenous Marathon Project would love your support on this one.    You can email Kate  for more information or to register at kate@operationmove.com.au    Kate is a passionate and determined local Ballarat mum who, having seen first-hand the power of self-belief that movement and fitness can bring to women, is keen to share her program and play a part in making Ballarat a city that is truly on the move.

So what are you waiting for – get on it!
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One thing life has taught me is that I HATE dirty floors.   I learned this the hard way – three kids worth of the hard way.   Splodges of dried up Weetbix and other  unidentifiable brown gunk are amazing teachers.  The only thing  I hate more than the look of dirty floors is the feel of  them  under my feet.   It does something totally irrational to my stress levels that leaves me on a war path for the nearest broom. 

Enjo floor cleaner 1

As you can  imagine I’ve invested a bit of time and energy into keeping my floors clean and  crunch free.   It’s not usual for me  to sweep the floors here two  or even three times a day – especially if the kids have been  playing in the sandpit.     Sand is the  worst.    The feeling of it underfoot puts me straight into conniption territory.  (Strangely enough this phenomenon is limited to the four walls of the house.  I’m perfectly fine at the beach. )   

Enjo floor cleaner 2

Anyhoo the point of this post was not self confession, what I really wanted to talk about is the  ENJO’s limited edition floorcleaner.   It’s no secret I love using ENJO products.  I’ve reviewed others and love the fact that they are chemical free and do the job they’re designed for  – eg. clean stuff.   Upfront ENJO does seem a little pricey.   But when you take into consideration its lifespan and not buying other cleaning gear  it doesn’t seem so bad.    I have not purchased sponges or ‘spray n wipe’  in over 2 years now!   And if you can get your ENJO on  sale it’s even better – which is, after all, why we’re chatting today. 

enjo floor cleaner 3

So back to the  floorcleaner.   To be honest I’d been coveting one of these for ages – but hadn’t gotten around to making the purchase. After all I have a really good steam mop and it does  great chemical free work too.     But now that I’ve got one I wish I didn’t wait.   She’s all kinds of lovely and does great work too.

dot point review sign

So here is my dot-point review of ENJO’s floorcleaner.    My honest and unaffected view of the product after using it in my own home under normal family life circumstances for at least two weeks. 

  • Can anyone say ‘easy to use’.   Wet and gently wring out the cleaning pad.  Snap it on and off you go.  When the floor is clean unsnap and rinse under water, wring out again and leave to dry.    Done.  (Well I guess you should put the mop away – saves broken bones and all.) 
  • It’s totally chemical free.   ENJO fibres work with water alone but are still reported to eliminate 100 percent of bacteria.   (Obviously I have to take their word here – not being a scientist and all .) 
  • It’s lightweight and highly manoeuvrable.   I thought my steam mop was good for this – but I have to tell you this is better.  It’s just like sweeping (and we all know I’m good at that) but cleans too.  Okay you might need to use a little back and forth muscle power on the tough spots – but generally speaking it is seriously easy. 
  • It has special fibres designed to work with your floor type.  Dusting, matt, gloss, fussy, extreme and outdoors.   (This could be expensive if you need all six.)  I have the dusting for sweeping and matt fibres for tiles and lino and that takes care of all of my hard surfaces. 
  • It works really well.    Loving that ‘clean floor’ feeling.   And I am  happy to report my floors feel just as clean as after a steam mop  – but with a lot less effort.
  •  The only downside I can pin point  after several weeks use is that you have to be pretty firm with the telescopic neck of the mop when you’re adjusting its length.    I’ve found it needs more than a gentle twist to keep it securely locked in.   (Just a tad frustrating when your mop shrinks as you use it – but nothing a firmer action won’t solve.) 
  • The biggest test for ENJO is always in the life of the product.  From past experience I can tell  you that you do need to treat your fibres (cloths and pads) with some respect and I’m sure the mop fibres will be the same.    For example you need to wash them in the provided care bags without fabric softener and keep them away from strong cleaning products.   (Yes I speak from experience here!!).

 For a limited time,  ENJO has a great deal – receive a free limited edition green floor cleaner (valued at $99) when you buy any two floor fibres.       (Floor fibres are also valued at $99.00  each. )

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Thoughts of Christmas have been taking up a lot of space in  my somewhat overcrowded head of late.   I love Christmas.  (I’m a fan and will face-off with anyone who disses it.)    I  love almost every thing about  it.    The music,  the food,  the decorations, having family around, making people happy with presents.  What’s not to love?  But I do think, in this day and age of consumerism gone mad, there is some  need for balance.   For me this means sitting back and mindfully thinking about what I want Christmas to mean for our girls as they grow up.   Where do I want the focus to be?   What traditions and actions are important to our family.  

These are things that take actual thought for me.  As opposed to just floating along to the rhythm of Christmas hype lead by the marching bands of  the massive marketing companies employed by big retailers.    (Opps – letting my natural cynicism shine through a little there.  Sorry – Not.)  

So now, for your entertainment and pleasure, I’m sharing my very own top 10 random ways I’ve decided to use to   bring balance to Christmas 2014.

aaachristmas

  1. Before the silly season hits in full force ask your kids to go through their toys and fill a  box to giveaway to others.    It could be a friend, a  charity or maybe the local op-shop.   You could even just pop the box out on nature strip with a sign ‘Free To Good Home’ and inadvertently spread some Christmas cheer.  
  2. Make the decision to be mindful about your spending and indulging in store-bought Christmas hype.  It can be as  simple as pausing for  a few seconds to think before you make the commitment to buy. 
  3. Instead of always looking for bigger and better presents consider adding to collections the kids already have.   A few more horses to the Schleich collection, that gets played with every day, makes more sense than buying something that has the potential to end up forgotten in the bottom of the toy box.
  4. Include some history and meaning in  your Christmas.  For us that means including Jesus  birthday and the nativity.  It also means we explore the story of St Nicolas and how the legend of Santa was born.    For you it could be something totally different. 
  5. Spend some time thinking about new traditions you want to include in your family Christmas.   What is it that you want the kids to remember when they grow up?    Remember you are making memories here and you have a lot of power when it comes to deciding  what they should be. 
  6. Think about how you shop for Christmas.    Last year I was converted to online shopping.   Around this time of year there are sales galore – some even with  free postage.     I like to  shop around from the comfort of my desk and pick and choose the best prices and deals.   I also find it’s much easier to stay mindful and stick to the plan from the vantage point of home.    This year I’ve already stocked up on the above mentioned Schleich Horses from Ozsales and scored some free postage bargains from Target. 
  7.  Who needs fancy pants decorations and a perfect tree?   Well we don’t here.  Our tree is covered in a bizarre collection of decorations the kids have made over the years along with a few memorable ornaments and just a touch of classy tinsel.    I know we wouldn’t win any Home Beautiful awards but I also know just how much each one of those crazy decorations means to the person who made it.  Miss matched colours and crazy collections – that’s just how we roll around here. 
  8. Take some time out to think about the food side of things.    Just how much is enough?  Do we really need an over loaded table?  This year I’m aiming for quality over quantity.   Everyone gets to select one special food they’d really like to be part of the celebration and the rest will be an eloquent sufficiency of family favourites.   No fridge full of left overs this year.  
  9. Plan beforehand to recycle as much of the Christmas debris as possible.  Cards, bottles and paper wrapping can easily be added to the household recycling.   But what other things can be done to make Christmas more sustainable?
  10.  Make stuff at home from scratch.     How about making your own bonbons, place card setting, wrapping paper  or gift tags with the kid.  How much fun could that be?   Set yourself the challenge of only using items you already have at home and see just what you can come up with.  Tip- Pinteret is your friend here. 

 aaachrissydiv

What about you?  Any favourite tips or tricks you use to bring a better balance to your own Christmas.    Would love to hear about them in the comments.   I might be able to steal a few and make them part of our celebration!

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When life gives  you lemons ………

by Caz on November 10, 2014 · 2 comments

Everything is going to  be okay in the end …..  if it’s not okay it’s not the end.  (Unknown).

asunrise4

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.  (Unknown).

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In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but  how many moments too your breath away. (Unknown).

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The biggest gift  you can give the people in your life is to be happy.  That way you’ve released them from worrying about you.  (Unknown).

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Good things come to those who wait… greater things come to those who get off their ass and do anything to make it happen. (Unknown).

flowersbeautiful

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The polite goodbye (Alzheimers sucks.)

by Caz on October 27, 2014 · 6 comments

There is not much that can compare to the hole left in your heart when your own mother says goodbye to you with the polite calmness and awkward laughter once reserved for strangers.  In an apparent effort to engage in small talk  she gives a coy embarrassed laugh and asks me when my children’s birthdays are.     I want to shout FOR GOD SAKE WOMEN THEY ARE YOUR GRANDCHILDREN.  But I know it won’t help.   I know she knows  – but in that moment she just can’t remember the details.  They’ve disappeared into the fog of a brain living with alzheimers.  It doesn’t help that I’ve already told her (and watched her write in down) perhaps seven or eight times over the past few  months.   In that  moment the details are gone. 

Just in case you didn’t know polite calmness and mothers should never go together.    Passion.  Crossed purposes. Explosive interdependent arguments.  Yes to all of them – but not  over polite calmness.   That is just all types of wrong.

a friend is

The thought that pierces my heart more than most is that I know, without doubt, that she still loves me just as much as she always did.  You can’t turn that off.   While huge chunks of her personality seem to be slipping away into the ‘never never’ she is still that same old person she always was.   The person I have loved and hated, treasured and rolled my eyes at.   It’s just that she doesn’t always remember who she is herself.

Confusing hey.

 I desperately wish this process was easier.  But let’s be honest it is simply not.  My emotions are as much of a mess as her memory is.  But I guess that’s the way it should be.    When I give it space, thoughts of my mother forgetting me torment me.   The knowledge that one day I will walk into a room and there will be no light of recognition in her eyes.  I will just be another person.   My kids will just be someone’s kids.  Our family won’t be special to her – we’ll just be people.    It’s to horrible to contemplate – so most days I choose not to.    Most day.   But then some little moment will adhere itself to my mind in post-it-note  fashion and I’m forced to deal with it.    To respect the process and allow it to teach me something new about myself and about what the future holds.  Those days are hard.  I flail around in my messy emotions and try to shed to many tear around the girls.  I try to move on and remember this too is just a part of our journey through life. 

a promise to remember

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Running – the (almost) 10km edition.

by Caz on October 20, 2014 · 6 comments

Today I ran 9.5 kms.    Surprised?   You should be considering my lack of running blog post over the past few months.   Well let’s be honest it even surprised me – and I’ve been there for every run I’ve ever done!

Apart from a few months off over last summer I’ve been hitting the pavement for just over 12 months now.  From the very humble beginnings of running laps of my front driveway, to today almost cracking the 10km mark.   It’s been 12 months of hard work and to be honest there have been a number of times I’ve had to do serious battle with my mind not to throw in the towel – permanently. But something deep down inside me keeps drawing me back and keeps me moving.

Running is such a metaphor for life.  I have learned things about myself in the past twelve month that I had no knowledge of before I stared.  I have found a mental strength I had no idea I possessed. I have learned that I can do things that seriously seemed impossible.

Now let’s get things straight here.  I am no super runner.  I am possibly the slowest runner that ever graced this earth.  But I am still a runner and I am learning to love that about myself.   I love the strength I feel in my muscles and the way running changes my outlook on my day.   I also love that I have three small sets of eyes watching every move I make and that I am inspiring them to know they to can do all things.

There are still many questions for me about my running future.  My left knee is knackered.  It has no cartilage and the bones reportedly rub.  I also have Hashimotos (thyroid auto-immune disease) which means I have to be very careful not to stress out my adrenal with  excessive exercise.   But I am also addicted to running endorphins and the feeling you get when you finish a long run.   I don’t think I could turn my back on all the good that running has given me – even if I tried. 

So today I very almost ran 10kms.  (9.46 to be exact – and totally would have done the extra .54 if Runkeeper didn’t flip out and confuse me!)   I am one happy runner.

learning to run stories

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