Monday, 31 December 2012

Goodbye 2012 - Thanks for the Memories

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It's funny how when I look back at the year that was, only the good things that happened come to the front of my mind. I am well aware of the fact there was some crappola thrown into the mix in those 12 months but those just aren't the memories that are shoving and elbowing their way to the front of the queue.

It could be a selective memory in play, or it could be my subconsciousness protecting me from certain moments that caused some level of pain or anguish. Those memories are there, but in the background and not really important in the bigger picture.

Either way, it is a reminder that those memories, any memories, are a gift, a souvenir from the year that was and a reminder that life with all its ups and downs will eventually find its own balance. The ups are the Yin and must be balanced out by the downs of the Yang. Both polarities are necessary for one to truly appreciate life in all its wonder.

I wanted to do a recap of this year and as I poured through the photos I couldn't choose between all the special moments that came flooding back to me.

So I didn't choose. I just bundled a whole stack of them  up and put them into one clip.

From my family to yours, may your 2013 be filled with love, laughter and hope. May your Yin and your Yang blend together effortlessly and may all you ever dreamed of become your reality.


See you next year.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The One Where I Pretended to Be David Attenborough

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Yes I know I am posting late in the day or should I say evening. But it is summer and that means long lazy days with no routines to dictate where and when I should be at any given time.

The truth is we have just come in from the street. Yep we are dirty stop outs hanging out on the road like a bunch of delinquents.

Not quite, but we were quietly sitting outside this afternoon having a bit of a bevie and watching the kids in the street ride their Christmas gifts when suddenly a water balloon ambush took place. This ambush turned into an all out water fight with the neighbours and their kids, followed by a truce and a customary sharing of a bottle or two of wine and some Coronas. The wine then turned into street pizzas for dinner and now we have finally dragged some tired kids back into the house for bed.

Is there any better tasting food and refreshment than that of the spontaneous kind eaten straight from the pizza box and poured from a bottle of wine shared with friends? I think not.

Today was no less than perfect. The hubstar left me to sleep in until 10am (I know totally lazy decadent OK downright lazy!) and then get this, he suggested I take myself shopping.......

Holy Crap!!!
That was my reaction too!

I was suspicious, but not one to look a gift horse in the mouth (especially after getting a dressing down for looking a gift horse in the mouth) I saddled up my said horse (or my bike in this case) and headed off to the shops.

We are incredibly blessed as down the road from where we live we have this bushland / bird and wildlife sanctuary, that has long winding tracks that go on for ever. These tracks are perfect for walking or riding bikes along and to get to our local shopping centre you can take one of these tracks directly there.

I pretended like a was David Attenbourogh or something and attempted to instagram my way to the shops. I was doing well until I ran my bike off the path and into a tree fern. No harm done except to my ego.

Sleep ins, post Christmas sales, bike rides, water fights and Pizza in the street with the neighbours. It doesn't get much better.

Hope you are enjoying the last few days of 2012, wherever you may be and whatever you are doing.

Friday, 28 December 2012

And that Was Christmas!

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And so that cyclone that just passed through, I'm pretty sure it was Christmas. I am a little shell shocked at the speed and ferocity it smacked me with, but I do know that we had a fabulous time.

The annual Christmas Eve Family bash that was at our house this year, went off brilliantly and I loved the opportunity to spoil all my very favourite people. And then Christmas day arrived and it was full of all the magic and wonder that one could hope for.

The adults Christmas table.
And the kids colourful table.

So what have I been doing since then? Well I have been stuffing my face, sitting around on my comfy toosh and soaking up the atmosphere that is Christmas. Isn't that what one does? I love it, I cant get enough of it, but at the same time I'm kinda glad its over for another year.

The build up is huge, fun, but massive and then it begins to speed up until it reaches blurring point and then BAM ....... its Christmas day and you are crashed on the couch with your top button undone to allow your overfull tummy to expand, surrounded by a sea of wrapping paper, evidence of the spoils and chaos that occurred that morning.

I love it, I really do. Its just that I really only have the energy for it once a year.

Here's some pics of Christmas at our house. I hope you guys had a wonderful Christmas too.


 
What was the best bit about Christmas for you this year?

Monday, 24 December 2012

Joyeux Noel!

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I just wanted to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU for all the support you have shown me this year through the blog and through Facebook. Just over a year ago when I accidentally started this blog, I never would have dreamed of how much fun it would be, how many gorgeous people it would have connected me to or how many exciting opportunities it would bring.

You guys are the reason I blog and you are the reason I love blogging. Thank you for every comment you write on my posts, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and every email you take the time to send to me. Thank you for sharing your stories, your triumphs, your heartaches and your hiccups. It means more to me than I can ever express.

Now with less than 20 hours until the big guy comes I am up to my neck in food prep, table decorating and last minute wrapping all made totally cheery with a few bubbles and a bit of Buble crooning in the background. Oh and did I mention the kids have decided to take a day off from killing each other. Oh why cant it be Christmas Eve every day of the year.

So on that note, from my family to yours, we wish you the most wonderful of wonderful Christmases. May the year ahead bring you nothing but good health and good times.

I'll see you in a couple of days.


Friday, 21 December 2012

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball and The Mayans have a Bad Day.

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Helllooo - I have been a little MIA these past few days and I feel like I was missing a limb not having my trusty blog to turn to.

We have had a week of extreme highs and exhausting lows after life pitched us one of her famous curve balls. Shes' been practicing her pitching - life that is. She smacked us with a couple of big ones that caused us to strike out and sent us sulking to the dugout for a couple of days.

Nothing too serious in the bigger picture, but enough to throw our week into a spin and appreciate the days when things run a little smoother.

I have no idea why I am using a baseball analogy, must be something to do with the dream I had last night where I was being chased by a pack of geese across a baseball pitch.... random!

So this week, my youngest son Flynn graduated from Preschool. Oh man did I sob as I hugged those beautiful teachers goodbye. Another chapter closes and although I knew it was coming, nothing could quite prepare me for the emotion I felt as I walked out that gate for the final time with my little boy's hand tucked safely into mine.

Oh Good Lord the tears are starting again.


He doesn't look quite that blemish free at this very moment as the poor thing was bitten by a tick and struck down by Spotted Tick Fever a few days ago. He now looks more like a very busy Dot to Dot canvas. Apparently only 50 people a year get this, so I'm thinking that perhaps we should think about buying a lottery ticket or something whilst the odds are clearly stacked on our side.

I was a very proud mama this week as I watch my oldest son Kai receive a Vice Captaincy position at his school. It made my heart swell to bursting point as I watched the kind and responsible gentlemen we have been blessed with, recognised by his school and his peers in this way.

The moment was made even more sweet for him as Bella a beautiful soul that has been one his his best friends since kindergarten, received The School Captains position. They were so genuinely happy for each other and all their gorgeous friends that were picked for the leadership team and their pride and joy just made a fresh batch of tears flow from my already over productive tear ducts.



My little Sammy didn't have such a great week and his tears were of the unhappy kind unfortunately. He burst his ear drum after a nasty infection shacked up in his middle ear. It is so awful to watch them in agony and there is nothing you can do to help them except cuddle them tight and tell them you love them and that this too shall pass.

I wont post a picture of him from this week as he really hasn't been a happy camper and completely out of his normal bubbly and cheeky demeanour. But here's a pic of him in happier moments, just so he doesn't feel left out and go all Marcia Marcia Marcia on me.


So there you have it, the week that was and my excuses for being MIA. Hopefully it is back to normal programming around here as we throw ourselves into our final preparations for Christmas next week. Holy moses only 3 sleeps until the reindeer come and trash my roses.

Oh did I mention I am now officially on holidays from work for 6 weeks - can I get a Yayyyy! I have been hanging out for this break and I have been working my butt off these past few weeks to make sure I could go on leave with peace of mind and just really enjoy the vegging out.

The kids have finished school for the year and the hubby? Well the poor guy is working through, but I have promised him some lovingly prepared meals and a cold beer served to him at the end of every day by a relaxed and happy wife. He's happy with that arrangement.

I have just been *ahem* reliably informed that as I write this post we have approximately 5 minutes left until the world ends. I cant work out if the Mayans were working on GMT or AEST time and whether they factored in daylight savings or not. But I figure if this post doesn't make it live then blow me down they were right.

If you are reading this then I am pleased to see it was all just another big hoax and that perhaps one of the Mayan elders was just having a rough week like us.

I can just picture him sitting there all tired and cranky like and he had brought some work home to do as he had some huge deadline on this big calender project. His kids were bickering and his wife was nagging him to feed the goats or something and so he said "Stuff you all - I cant be assed making this calender anymore so I am going to finish it on 21/12/12. You can just pick up a Hallmark calender if you need to know the date beyond that point. I need a beer".

Secretly I will also be kinda relieved I didn't waste my money when I forked out that 30 bucks for my I survived the end of the World ... again t'shirt. I like the colour and I'll be wearing it proud.


What's been happening with you guys?
Any school or Preschool graduations?
Have you got your I survived the End of The World shirt ready to go?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A Festive Christmas Wreath

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I had this idea in my head that I wanted a fresh wreath for the front door. I had seen them in magazines and they just looks so rustic and Christmassy ..... and expensive.

I wasn't wrong on the expensive part. I priced some up at different places and spoke to my favourite florist and they wanted over $100 to make. $100 bucks for something that will just die off in this heat anyway? I couldn't get my head around it.

So in what seems to be a regular occurrence with me, I was sitting there with a Vodka and lime in hand drooling over wreaths in magazines and I decided that bugger it - I would make one myself.

A quick trip to Spotlight for some supplies and a pre-approved frenzied raid careful pruning of my mums Bay tree and I was good to go.

I had no idea what I was doing, but it kinda worked somehow and I am pickled proud of the result. It honestly was not hard at all. A little fiddly until you get the hang of it, but it was done in under an hour.


WHAT YOU NEED
Some greenery of your choice
Florist Wire
A metal or wooden ring
Shears

I just cut the bay leaves into little manageable lengths and started attaching them all in one direction around the ring. Keep doubling up until you achieve the density you are after.

I finished it off with a ribbon I cut from Grain sack cloth and just left it simple and unadorned. Add a length of Bakers twine to hang it from a hook on the door and for under $10 bucks I had the fresh festive wreath I was yearning for.

It smells divine and no one is allowed in my front door without admiring it and telling me how gorgeous it is. Modest aren't I?



Monday, 17 December 2012

We Are Officially In Wind Down Mode

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It's that time of the year when everyone is getting a little tired and cranky. The kids are so done with school - not officially yet, but mentally they have checked out. The husband is spent and well quite frankly I am knackered.

Its a crazy time where finding five minutes to sit down and quietly enjoy a cuppa is almost akin to finding a chest of unmarked hundred dollar bills buried in your back yard.... almost.

In all the rush and madness I am trying to remember to just slow down, take time out to enjoy the quieter moments for what they are. One of life's simple little pleasures.

Friday afternoon pre-dinner drinks down by the lake gave the kids a chance to climb trees, chase ducks and well just be boys. It gave my husband and I the chance to just sit, sip and breathe.

Don't forget to take a little time out from all the Christmas craziness to just enjoy time with your family. Give them some extra hugs and tell them you love them. Life is so precious, and sometimes way too fragile and sometimes we need to remember just how blessed we are.

In loving memory of those beautiful children and teachers who's lives were tragically and horrifically cut short in the US on Friday. To those poor families, you are in our thoughts and in our prayers.










Have you gotten lost in the crazy time that is the build up to Christmas or have you taking time out to just enjoy the quiet moments?

Friday, 14 December 2012

Howards Storage World Garage Makeover - The Great Bike and Skateboard Muster

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***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR THE WINNERS DETAILS***

This is a post by me as an Ambassador for Howards Storage World.

One of the things we have a lot of in this family, apart from Surfboards, are skateboards and bikes.

We love our bike riding so there is a bike for every family member plus one spare for visiting friends. And my boys had to go and be typical boys and develop a deep love for skateboarding didn't they, so there are at least 2 skateboards per male. Yikes - that is a lot of wheels to store.

Who knew you need different skateboards for cruising, boards for free styling, boards for tricks and boards for serving breakfast in bed to their mummy..... oh wishful thinking!

And of course with all these bikes and boards come helmets, wrist pads, elbow pads and knee pads and up until now they have been stored in the festering pit of shame, pretty much where ever the kids have pegged them when they were finished. Kind of the same storage technique we used for the bikes and skateboards too. Now I think about it, pretty much the same system we had for everything in there up until now.


And so once again we found ourselves asking how on earth are we going to store all this stuff?

At least this  time we knew where to start - with the Howards Storage World Organisation and De-Cluttering Philosophy....
It worked for us with the first phase of the Garage Makeover - The Water Sport Zone, so I didn't need any convincing that it would work again this time around.

First things first we needed a way to store all the bikes when they are not being used. We have tried the on the roof system where you hang the bikes from special pulleys on the roof, but with kids screaming "MUMMMMM DADDDDD Can you please get our bikes down!!!" like pretty much 5 minutes after every time we put them away, we knew it wasn't working for us.

We chatted with the fab guys at HSW and told them we wanted something that the kids could easily manage, something kind of like the system you find outside a shopping centre where you lock up your bikes.

They haz the goods those Howards angels. They came up with the idea to use double floor bike racks.

These are the perfect solution to store our bikes and the kids can easily get their bikes out and put them away when they are finished. Hallelujah!


In our case 3 of these little babies worked beautifully to store all of our bikes.




But then there was still the issue of the zillion and one skateboards. 

Once again plans were drawn up and the solution was the same as with the Water Sports Zone - The fabulous  elfa System. And as for storing all the extra gear and paraphernalia? Tubtrugs! Oh yeah baby, I love the way it just rolls off the tongue - Tubtrugs.

Once again, easy for the kids to get their gear out when they are ready to skate, and super easy to put it away. Every Mum's dream!


And so the work continues in the garage and like the ugly duckling, it is blossoming into an awesome storage space for us. I'll provide the next update in 2 weeks but in the meantime you can check out the first two posts in the series to see how far we have come from the original catastrophe we called a garage.

Post 1. Welcome to The Festering Pit of Shame
Post 2. The Water Sports Zone




Once again the lovely people at Howards Storage want to give you guys the chance to get organised so there are 2 more $50 vouchers up for grabs.

This time there are two ways you can enter.

Entry 1. Like the Howards Storage World Facebook Page here and leave me a comment here on this post telling me how a HSW voucher could help you need to get organised in your home.

Entry 2. Follow @LifeLoveHiccups on instagram. Take a photo of your problem area you want to sort out and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #LifeLoveHiccupsHSWGiveaway.


This competition is open to Australian residents only sorry.
It is a game of skill and the judges decision is final.
The competition is open now and closes Friday 28/12/12 at 7pm.
The winners will be notified by email (so make sure you leave me an email address or I cannot contact you) and will also be announced here on this post and Instagram.
The winner will have 5 days (until 7pm Wednesday 03/01/13) to contact me to claim their prize. In the event they do not contact me in time, a new winner will be selected.

So tell me - what needs sorting in your home?

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FOLLOWING LUCKY WINNERS
Please email me at Lifelivehiccups@optusnet.com.au with your address details to claim your prize.


Thursday, 13 December 2012

The One Where I Was a Catwalk Model and Other Random Moments

Pin It I had a moment yesterday, which in the big picture is nothing out of the ordinary really is it, as my life seems to be typically made up of a lot of random moments.... many of them too strange to talk about out loud.

Anyway this moment in particular occurred whilst I was waiting for the kettle to boil, something which seemed like it was taking an extraordinary length of time. Exciting stuff huh - boiling kettles - stay with me.

I feel sorry for this lovely kettle of mine. I bought it to replace the electric kettle, and I was totally bedazzled by its shiny beauty and the romantic image I had of me pottering around the kitchen whilst I wait for the whistle to herald it is time for my coffee ritual to begin. I would busy myself casually arranging flowers into little vintage glass jars to scatter throughout the house and inhaling the warm smell of the fresh bread I have baking in the oven.

I am so full of crap - I cant bake bread to save my life, I have been reading way to many Country Living Magazines and lets be honest, I just wanted the shiny new kettle because I thought it would look good in my kitchen.

We had the kettle for a mere week before it was replaced by a swanky new coffee machine - a birthday gift for my husband from my parents. It makes the best coffee ever and only highlighted the fact that my shiny new kettle takes way too long to get its whistle on.

Man did I just digress. Talk about a short attention span.

Look There's a squirrell.......

Back to that moment of mine I was telling you about.

I had a bit of the old Florence pumping on the Ipod Dock and you know what her music is like. It's strong and powerful and motivating and next thing I know I was flouncing from one end of the house to the other with Hips swinging, a nonchalant twist to my duck pout, hands poised ready to slide into position on my waist as I came in for the heel spin and head toss.

No Shit. I kid you not.

I was pretending to be a model on a catwalk.

I have no idea what possessed me, but the imaginary crowd applauding me and gawking at my statuesque beauty spurred me on. They were begging for more. And so not wanting to disappoint - I gave it to them.

One more dramatic heel spin at the end of the runway and I surprised and delighted them all with a gracious wave and kiss casually blown to the crowd. A wink of the eye and a sexy raise of the eyebrow and I was off leaving my fans to wonder at my awesomeness.

Clearly I have not developed much mentally since I was 8.

I would most likely have decided to delight my fans with one more appearance on the runway, had it not been for the whistle of the kettle piercing my eardrums and the dogs going ape shit at the courier that was banging on my front door.

I'm not sure if this moment was a tribute to a long forgotten childhood, a subconscious dream begging to escape or a sign that the Silly Season has taken it's toll and I need to adjust my meds.

But Holy Cow I blew them away on that catwalk.

This is totally how my bread would have turned out, you know if I was baking for reals.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Welcome To The Family

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We have a new member of our family. Lenny meet everyone, everyone meet Lenny.

Lenny is a Rainbow Lorrikeet, apparently a baby one and most definitely a very cute one.
When we were driving home from Palm Beach after dinner last week I spotted Lenny sitting in the middle of the road. I stopped the car and held up traffic as he refused to budge off the road.

When I opened the car door I was surprised to find he didn't fly off, he just sat there and looked at me with this gorgeous little head tilting gesture that he does. Keen to get off the road myself before an impatient 4WD made me toast and convinced that this little dude must have been injured, I scooped him up, handed him to a very surprised hubby and drove home.

It turns out that Lenny is a runner which means he has no tail feathers and cant fly. They would most likely have been his final moments on earth had we not picked him up that night. He would surely have been roadkill, or dinner for some peckish prey.


The "can we keep him?" started within minutes and the kids had already named him by the time we got home. Lenny the Lorrikeet had won our hearts - no contest!



When we found ourselves at the Pet Store the next day buying him his very own Taj Mahal, the decision was pretty much made. Lenny was officially the newest member of this crazy clan.


He doesn't bite and I am guessing he is just too young to know any better. He is rather fond of a bit of a snuggle and a smooch and during the day he sits in my office with me whilst I work and is free to roam in and out of his cage. He is sitting on my head as I type this post and interrupts me every now and then by poking his face over my forehead and looking down at me.

Attention seeking already. He is really going to fit in around here.

Have you ever unexpectantly adopted a pet?
Can anyone tell me how I know if Lenny is a he or a she he?

*** Sonya Nicole and Amanda at Home - I am still waiting for you to claim your prizes. If I have not been contacted by Friday 14/12/12 7pm I will have to redraw I'm sorry.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Antics With The Delinquent Elf Alfie!

Pin It Ahh yes the explosion of Elves in homes around the world. They have arrived in armies fresh from elf bootcamp at the Book Depository and looking for suckers families to open their doors and hearts to them.

If you have not seen these guys you have either been sunning yourself on some gorgeous beach somewhere (in which case you would totally be excused), climbing ice peaks in Antarctica (in which case you would be excused on the grounds of insanity), or you are suffering from a serious case of Christmas denial.

Either way, these little delinquent elves have been taking over suburbia and are getting up to all kinds of trouble and my home has not been immune to their charms.

Yep, we have adopted one mischievousness little dude name Alfie.

Now the thing that does strike me a little odd about this whole elf thing is that I would probably lose my patience and pop a vein or two if my own kids got up to half the stuff this elf of our does each day, and yet I happily let this strange little creature run amok in our house whilst I take photos of him and laugh at my children's delight at his antics.

Somethings a little strange with that picture right?

Love them or loathe them, it seems they are breeding faster than rodents and are pretty much here to stay ... or at least until they run out of things to destroy or they burn the house down when the toilet paper on the Christmas tree's 50 metres of Ebay lights catch on fire. Either or.

Next year I bags an elf that empties the dishwasher, likes giving massages and has a love of ironing.

In the meantime, here's what our adopted elf has been up to this week.


Have you welcomed an elf into your home this year or are you one of the many who is totally creeped out by them and is afraid they are going to cut all your hair off or take a kidney or two  whilst you are sleeping?


Just a reminder I also have a fabulous giveaway running at the moment.
Have you entered yet?