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How to Measure Christmas

Christmas Day is just around the corner.  I can’t believe how quickly it has come up this year.  I probably say that every year, but this last twelve months has whizzed by, and so much has happened.  It’s been such a strange, disturbing year, with a lot of loss and grief for so many people.  I don’t know about you, but I am praying for a much kinder 2017.

My Mum is currently suffering with a nasty cough/virus and it makes me very anxious.  I can’t bear for her to be ill.  She is always so healthy and I sometimes forget she is a senior now, and small illnesses can be potentially dangerous.  Also, being sick at Christmas sucks!  I know she feels miserable and concerned and also annoyed that she can’t do a lot – she hates neglecting her garden and other chores.  I just worry incessantly, especially as I am not just around the corner but 30 minutes drive away, and I can’t keep a close eye on her.  Luckily, my best friend’s Mum is just around the corner – in fact, she is taking Mum to the doctor’s this morning (I would have done but had no one to cover me at work). Hopefully she will get some antibiotics (even though she hates taking them, she admits she probably needs some this time) and be on the mend soon.  We’re meant to be spending Christmas Eve with my brother and his family, but I don’t know if she will be well enough at this stage 😦

It’s funny how, in the lead up to Christmas, you think about all the things you would like, and hope that Santa obliges.  This year, I just want my Mum to be well, and for us all to have a nice, peaceful, stress-free time together, with no dramas.

This week, I managed to get all my Christmas shopping done in record time.  I have less people to buy for this year, for one reason or another, and it made it much easier.  I made a few gifts too, which meant less spending (always a good thing) and less stress (a very good thing).  I also decided not to do the fancy wrapping I always do, which usually ends up with me stressed out of my brain and wrapping gifts every night until midnight, making sure they all fit a “theme” and all look decorative and pretty.  Not this year.  I used store-bought wrapping paper and did nothing fancier than tying them with string.  I didn’t even use matching tags!  *gasps*  It just made everything so much easier and quicker and reduced my stress by about a million percent.  I am wrapped and done, ahead of time.

Whilst looking for gifts for my Mum, I pretty much followed the list she had given me (an Ian Rankin book, some gardening stuff, a Michael Buble CD, pyjamas) but I always like to get her some other little extras too, so she has some surprises.  I found this set of measuring cups in an op-shop and thought she might like them.  They look vintage (although I suspect they are not) and I liked the little Wintery scene on them, which I thought would also make them ideal for Christmas decorating, if Mum didn’t want to use them as actual measuring cups.  I just thought they were sweet.  And at $5.00 for the three, I wasn’t exactly breaking the bank.

I hope she likes them, and is well enough to enjoy all of her presents.
That’s all I want for Christmas.

Best wishes to you all.  Stay well and take care of each other x

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Rustic Country Easter

Rustic Country Easter

Happy Easter or Eostre or Smyngus-Dyngus or whatever you celebrate (if you celebrate) this weekend.  As a good-for-nothing heathen, I basically celebrate having a few days off work, seeing my family and bemoaning the fact I can’t eat chocolate.  My brother and sister-in-law, however, are making up for my lack of respectful worship and/or church-going abilities by taking their four children to church this morning so that they could learn a bit about one of the real reasons we even have Easter in the first place.  They themselves are not religious in any way, but they felt it was important the children understood that the holiday is not all about chocolate and bunnies and going on egg hunts.  I myself lean towards the older, pagan traditions and meanings behind Easter but that is just a personal preference and belief – I don’t judge anyone else for what they believe in.

Anyway, moving away from the heavy and slightly inflammatory subject of religion…  This weekend I spent a lovely couple of days at my Dad and Step-Mum’s farm in Boyanup with my Mum.  I have spoken before of how well my parents get along and how my Mum really enjoys going down to see my Dad and Step Mum.  It’s such a relief.  It wasn’t always this easy and pleasant, believe me, but they have built bridges and gotten over them and now it is just NICE to spend time in their company.  My Mum and Step Mum get along well and have a laugh (I mean, nobody knows my Dad as well as they both do) and my Dad is just so happy that he can have us all there with him and it’s not weird or uncomfortable.

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Dad had quite a bit of work around the farm to do so us gals went sight-seeing and shopping.  Lots of little vintage shops and antique stores were open, as well as cafes and other places of interest.  I haven’t gone antiquing for ages so this was a fun afternoon for me and the prices in many of the shops were unbelievably cheap.  At a shop called “The Quirky Den“, I got this adorable little W H Goss vase for just $4.  It’s so cute.

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At first I was put off but the bear baiting / dancing bear image but then I couldn’t “bear” to leave him behind.  He can be safe with me and never have to perform again (except to just look cute on my display cabinet).  He can sit with my miniature bears.  My Mum bought a nice blue and white plate and my Step-Mum picked up several nice pieces of china to decorate her walls, including a little miniature house which she collects.  The Quirky Den was indeed quirky, but well worth a visit 🙂
Their prices are very reasonable and they have lots of great stuff.

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We also visited a GORGEOUS little shop called “Rustic French Living“.  Ooh la la!  So pretty and chic and gorgeous.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves – I wish I had bought something in there…I was eye-ing off the lovely little rabbit/Easter tags but then didn’t get them.  Regret!  Will definitely have to go back another time and spend a longer period there.  It was getting late and so we only looked around for a little while.  But beautiful stuff 🙂  They also have cakes and tea/coffee if you’re partial to a bit of refined refreshment. If you’re in Western Australia and travelling through the South-West, do stop in and have a look.  I wanted to buy everything…the lovely ladies in the shop were very welcoming and did not mind me taking photos (sometimes shop people get a bit huffy when you do it, so I always ask first and tell them what it is for).  You can also visit their awesome Facebook page here

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That evening we were treated to the most gorgeous sunset – the colours were amazing and I am so glad the photo does it justice.  Just beautiful – isn’t nature amazing?

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Hope your weekend was as relaxing and happy as mine.  If you can eat chocolate, I hope the Easter/Eostre Bunny was generous.  Have a great week everybody 🙂

Why isn’t there an Aunt’s Day?

Why isn’t there an Aunt’s Day?

It’s my nephew Deacon’s 6th birthday this week.  I made him a simple little card this morning (using Kaisercraft’s “Technologic” range) which I will give to him later in the week.

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Six!  Already?  How can that be?  It seems like just yesterday I was being introduced to his tiny 3-hour old self and gazing at him in awe (he was a BEAUTIFUL baby).  Now he’s a rough and tumble six-year-old with the attitude to match and a beautiful spirit.  He is into Angry Birds, robots and magic tricks (although trying to keep him still for five minutes to learn one is a lesson in patience and strength of will).  He loves to run and ride his bike and play lego.  He is kind (most of the time) to his younger siblings and is well-mannered and sweet.  He is super smart and constantly astounds us with his artistic abilities, an almost photogenic memory and an understanding of difficult concepts far beyond his years.

I am, of course, completely unbiased.  I love my brother fiercely and, so too, his offspring.  I could not love them more and they can do no wrong in my eyes (we shall see how this pans out when they are teenagers…).  I can be having a terrible day, tired and miserable, and a couple of hours of babysitting them pushes everything back into perspective.  They make me laugh and fill my heart up with love.  Reading a bedtime story (or three, depending on how far they wrap me round their little fingers) is a joy.  An interrupted, takes-longer-than-it-should joy, but a pleasure nevertheless.  As a librarian, it makes me happy that they love books and, even more so, that they like me to read to them.  There is nothing nicer than being a loved Auntie.  My brother and his partner are amazing parents – they have been through a lot (relationship-wise) over the last few years but have always put the children first and done their best to keep them feeling secure and grounded and loved.

I love being an Auntie.  I know some people feel sorry for those of us that can’t have children, but, for me, I think being an Auntie is just as special.  I get to be the one they will come to when they can’t talk to their parents.  I get to spoil them and love them and be silly with them. I can watch them grow up and don’t have to worry about the price of shoes or school uniforms or what subjects they will take at university.  I get to see them at their best and be there for them at their worst, if they need me.  I get to hand them back to their parents when they are being rambunctious and get to change just enough nappies for it to be a novelty and not seem like a never-ending task.  I get cuddles and laughter and games and bedtime stories, without all the homework and tantrums and illnesses (although I have dealt with all three in small doses).  I get to be an anchor in troubled waters and a warm hug when things aren’t going right. And, above all, I get to have a little person (or two, or three) love me and want to be around me just because I am me.  That is worth more than all the money in the world.

So, to all the Awesome Aunts (and Uncles) out there, I say give yourselves a pat on the back and know that you are special and important.  Give those little nieces and nephews of yours a hug for me and be super grateful that you get to be in their lives.