Category Archives: Muddy Organiser

Athletic or Unco?

When I was younger (and really still now) I was a bit unco-ordinated when it came to sport or any sort of gross motor activity. I’m not sure whether it’s lack of exposure or whether it’s ingrained into me to suck at most physical activity. Either way, sports carnivals were not my favourite event at school, except for the fact that it was a day out of the classroom. I have been hoping that my Muddy Kids inherit Muddy Hubby’s enthusiasm for sport more than mine, so I was interested to see how my Muddy Organiser would go at her first Athletics Carnival. We rugged ourselves up on a windy and cold afternoon and settled in for the fun.
As it’s only a relatively small school, they ran it for just over an hour on Friday afternoon and the kids had a ball. They had a running race, a sack race, 3-legged race, jelly bean on a spoon race, dress in footy jersey and funny hat race and a tug-o-war. After watching the whole carnival, I think it’s safe to say that my Muddy Organiser has inherited my gross motor skills (poor thing) but she had a blast and not once did she stop smiling, which I thought was the best bit. As long as we can keep encouraging her enthusiasm and making sure she doesn’t stop trying I’ll be a pretty happy Mum.
How do we make that happen though? Is it a matter of lots of positive reinforcement and encouragement, is it a matter of getting out there and practicing with her to make sure she’s not afraid to give anything a go, or is it something inbuilt into them to keep giving everything their all with a smile on their face?
Do you have sporty kids, or are they like me and a little un-co? Do they keep trying and how do you keep them smiling and having fun?

New Family Members

My Muddy Puzzler only had one request for her 3rd Birthday – Ducks. Our first attempt at the Poultry Auction was a sad outcome, we came home with nothing. Now, however I’m quite pleased we came home with nothing, because I found 6 little ducklings to fulfill the request, and to top it off they’re my FAVOURITE type of ducks. They are Indian Runners, they can’t fly, so they can’t escape on me, they’re great for training your sheep dog (so Muddy Hubby is happy), and they are so good looking and friendly once you’ve got them used to you.
They had a long trip to make it home to our house, I picked them up and they attended their first baby shower, before spending the night in Nana’s shower recess, then a 6 hour drive home. They were very pleased to be put in their new home, have something to eat and a nice bath and drink, before the Muddy Kids started the cuddles!
They have kept the Muddy Kids entertained for hours, just sitting and watching, or sitting and holding. Muddy Bubby has tried to climb in with them a few times, or tried to pull down their light, but he’s getting used to them.
There’s one little duckling we’re keeping an eye on, she’s a little bit smaller than the others, the runt of the bunch. My Muddy Organiser has named her Sprinkles and yesterday she was being bullied a little bit, today the other ducklings are being a bit nicer, she’s getting something to eat and drink and seems to be growing and happier. There’s no doubt about it, they’re a very welcome addition to our Muddy Family.

A Mini Shearing Break

On Monday we start our ‘Main Shearing’ this is our big shearing time of the year where we shear the bulk of our sheep. We are shearing at 3 different sheds and we’re starting at our lease block up north. This means that this year the whole family is packing up and heading north to check it all out and lend a hand where we can. Last year I was running a course so I missed out and Muddy Hubby stayed back here to look after the Muddy Kids so he missed out too.
I am constantly amazed at how much stuff I have to pack as a Mum. I am an ‘overpacker’ from way pack always throwing in ‘just in case’ items half of which I never end up using. As a Mum though I’ve had to learn to economise on the packing due to the limited space in the car. I have 2 outfits for each Muddy Child, one for each day, PJ’s and one spare outfit ‘just in case’ (I can’t help myself!).
We’ll hit the road in the morning and have some time to explore the town with the Muddy Kids before heading out to the shed to make sure all is in order for Monday morning. I think I am most excited about not having to cook dinner for TWO nights in a row. We get to partake of one of the two restaurants in town to fill our belly (and they’re BIG meals they serve up). How we’ll go sharing a room with all the Muddy Kids I’m not sure, we may all be coming back more tired than when we left.
The shearing North will take just under 2 days depending on how fast the shearers go, we’ll then start at the second shed on Wednesday and this should be 2 days as well, my Muddy Father-in-law will be back here to help get the shed ready before we get back. Finally on Friday we’ll move to the big shed and finish off the bulk of the sheep in just over a week depending on how fast the shearers go.
It’s an exciting and busy time for us, most of the family is in the shed at some point, Muddy Hubby is already training the Muddy Kids to pick up the bellies and they’ve got little brooms to help sweep the floor. Lucky for my Muddy Organiser it’s in school holidays so she won’t miss out.
The Shearing Shed up North Last Year
What have you got planned for your school holidays?

Cranky at Black and White

So I’m a little bit cranky at the local council. About 12 months ago, before my Muddy Organiser started school, we started talking to the chief engineer at council about whacking a load of gravel opposite the end of our road so that the bus could pull off the road safely and not get bogged (it would also save our shoes from getting too sandy or muddy when it’s wet, but you can’t use that excuse with council). The engineer said just tell me what the bus company needs and I’ll make it happen. The bus company said ‘we need not to get bogged and to have enough room to pull fully off the highway’. The engineer said, yes, no problem, there’s a few we need to do so we’ll put it on the list, it’s important especially as you’ll be using it each day.

The start of school came and went (and it was WET), and still no gravel. The bus has slowly been wearing tracks in the dirt and sand, when it’s wet it will spin it’s wheels a few times before grabbing traction and pulling away, much to my relief. By the time the bus gets to us it’s pretty much full, there’s about 30-40 kids on it, and it needs a tractor to pull it out if it gets bogged (yes it’s happened the Muddy Pa has pulled it out once before). I have recurring nightmares of having to ferry kids down in my car to where the crossroads are and they change to the next bus into town.

Yesterday morning on my way to town I got a little excited as I approached our bus stop, the council workers were there, I started to do my little happy dance, then realised they weren’t there for the gravel. They were replacing a perfectly good black and white sign with a new bigger black and white sign. Given our road only has two houses at the end of it and we are the only people (other than visitors and the postman) who use the road in my opinion it’s a waste of time and money. Maybe there’s a new law I don’t know about that says the black and white signs must be a certain size, maybe it’s an RTA thing, but for 2 council workers to come out, remove the old (perfectly good) sign and bang in an extra 2 new posts and hang up the new sign, to me it’s a waste. I’d rather have my load of gravel! My preference (if council cared to ask) is to do everything possible to avoid getting the school bus bogged, to help get the kids to school and to avoid me being a taxi for those 40 kids when it does get bogged so they don’t miss the next bus! I know if it does get bogged it won’t be council workers pulling it out it will be Muddy Hubby on the tractor!

I know it’s a small issue, I know I shouldn’t get so worked up about it. However when you have a council that is continually crying poor and telling us they need to up our rates by 50% (I kid you not) then it really makes me wonder why they would spend money doing something like this. I can cope with muddy shoes and the fear of the bus getting bogged and go without the gravel, but did they really have to make me cranky by replacing a perfectly good sign.

Our flash new sign

View from the bus stop on a warm summer morning
Did you have similar issues with your local council? How do you tackle your council problems?

Sharpest Pencil in the Ice Bucket

For AGES and AGES I have been struggling with the girls craft and drawing, struggling with it being spread from one end of the house to the other, struggling with their individual craft boxes they were given as presents by a well meaning family member. These boxes, while much loved, have finally given up the ghost, with sides ripped and lids lost. Their loss has given me the perfect opportunity to bring some order back into at least the colouring in stuff.

On my last trip into the largest town nearby I popped into the Bag a Bargain $2 shop (you know the ones I mean where you can find anything from feminine hygiene products in brands you’ve never heard of, to really tacky ashtrays with the Australian Flag plastered all over them) to see what I could find. The pencil tins and pots I had been thinking of were all gaudy with decorations that would quickly fall off and annoy me no end. I then happened upon these lovely ‘mini champagne buckets’ as they were labelled. They were just what I was looking for and the Muddy Kids love them. So much so, that next time I’m in town I plan on picking up a couple more to further organise the craft area.

The added benefit has been it has kept the Muddy Girls entertained for hours (literally hours) sharpening pencils and sorting crayons, deciding which ice bucket to put them in, and ‘Is it sharp enough’ as they sharpen them to within an inch of their life. They’ve been re-inspired to get back into the colouring in, and it has been a daily activity ( several times throughout the day). I’m now looking for new storage ideas for the rest of the craft paraphernalia and am looking for any suggestions as to how you keep order in the chaos of craft.

Show Time

There’s something about the local show that makes you feel a little like you’ve walked back in time. It reminds me of when I was a kid and went to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, back when it was at Moore Park, it was a bit dingy, a bit old fashioned, smelly, loud and so much fun. Our showground in town is old, I don’t think it’s moved in the 96 years we’ve had the show, the pavilions are the same, some with a coat of paint and some repair work, but still original buildings. The animal yards are probably not as old, but still are not modern by any standard, and the competition categories are still largely unchanged, including pieces of hand embroidery and hand sewn pieces of children’s clothing, fruit and veggie growing and my personal favourite for the kids ‘decorated fruit or vegetable’.

Muddy Girls with Muddy Pa’s Prize Winning Sheep

Checking out the Wool Pavilion

The Muddy Girls had been talking about going to the show for days, we’d put our entries in and they were so very excited to see what had transpired. I am so very pleased to say we had some winners! I had limited the girls to 3 entries, they each got to put in 6 brown hen eggs, 6 iced and decorated arrowroot biscuits and one drawing. Lucky for me the prize winning was spread around.

My Muddy Organiser won a Second Place for her 6 Iced and Decorated Arrowroot Biscuits.

My Muddy Pixie won a Highly Commended for her 6 Iced and Decorated Arrowroot Biscuits.

My Muddy Puzzler kept up the Prize Winning Eggs, gaining a Second Place for her 6 Brown Hen Eggs, not bad given there were 18 other entries.

I limited them to two rides and one game and no showbags, my theory is if I let them start too much this young I’ve got nowhere to go as they get older. We shared one bag of fairy floss and their Muddy Grandma treated them to an ice cream. I did my bit by manning the Preschool Animal Farm for a stint and we finished off our outing with some hot chips, which Muddy Bubby was most excited about, even trying to steal as many as he could from his sisters. It was such a lovely afternoon, and the Muddy Girls were so excited to call Muddy Hubby to tell him all about their afternoon and their big wins!

One of the things….

One of the things I am not loving about living where we live at the moment is my Internet access. We’re on satellite Internet, which means we have a big dish on the roof. This also means that it’s nowhere near as fast as some other Internet options. It also means that when it’s overcast the service sucks, when it’s windy there’s often no service, and sometimes for no good reason the dish on our roof stops talking to the satellite in the sky and we get absolute zilch, zippo, nothing. Now the Internet service provider flatly denies any of this, says weather and wind do not affect the service. I disagree.

But rant now over, for all the little things that drive me batty living out here or give me cause for utter frustration, there are so very many more good things. My good thing for this week has been the complete turnaround from sunset to sunrise.

This was the sunset on Monday night, breathtakingly beautiful. The Muddy Kids and I went outside to feed the dogs, pigs and chooks and dawdled for ages just watching the beautiful sunset and chasing the animals.

The next morning we woke up to this awesome Fog. The first fog for the year for us, not a pea soup fog like I can remember growing up in Sydney, but a hazy, ethereal fog. It didn’t last long, by the time I’d dropped the Muddy Organiser at the bus stop it was almost gone, chased away by the sun.

It’s these little things that remind me how I love living where we live, and help stop me yelling at the Internet service provider in frustration. Just don’t ask me how long it took to actually upload these photos!

What are some of the little things that you love about living where you live?

Term One Over!

Yesterday marked the end of my Muddy Organiser’s first term at school. The end of 10 weeks of getting up, getting dressed, racing to the bus, ironing uniforms, polishing shoes, packing news, packing bank books, remembering swimming clothes and homework folders.
This was her after her first day of school, rushing inside to tell Dad and her sisters about her first day!

This was my Muddy Organiser arriving home yesterday – exhausted! It took me a while to wake both of them.

It has been a fantastic start to her schooling life. In one term she has grown up so much and soaked up so much into her brain like a little sponge. She can now write her name without copying, count up past ten, know what comes after 50, if I help her remember 50, order her lunch from the canteen, read some sight words, read her homework readers, remember the names of almost all the 30 kids in her class plus the names of other kids in the school. My Muddy Organiser has made new friends and cemented strong bonds with old friends, she has turned from a little girl into a ‘big’ school girl. She plays more calmly with her sisters and brother, she is more polite at home and takes more care in her actions.
I am incredibly proud and amazed at how far she has come in such a short space of time, so can only imagine how much more she will have learn, grown and changed by the end of the year. For now we are all exhausted, we have no plans to go anywhere for a few days. We want to recharge our batteries as well as the Muddy kids, and get some work done on our bathroom, so our house can semi go back to normal. No holidays away, just enjoying spending time at home as a family, before the chaos starts again in 2 weeks.
Are your kids exhausted like mine?
Are you going to spend the first week of holidays staying home like we are?
Or are you more adventurous?

Blame It On The Cards

Yesterday I had my second last Bootcamp session. It was a killer. Every part of my body hurts, my knees are feeling especially sorry for themselves. You know what though, I feel good. I feel really good.

9 weeks ago I wouldn’t have been able to do as much as I did yesterday, I would have been walking between sets after only a couple of sets, whereas today I ran between most of them, it was only the last few where exhaustion was starting to win out.

Over the last 9 weeks Princess Pain has mixed up our sessions, no two have been the same, there’s been cardio, strength, boxing, lots of sweat, some very red faces and at times a bit of swearing. Yesterday’s session was all about the pack of cards.

Princess Pain had a pack of cards, she shuffled it at the start and that set our plan for the session. Each card had an exercise on it, including Burpees, planks, push ups, step ups, mountain climbers, dips, and the number on the card determined how long you would do that activity or how many reps. The first one she pulled out was step ups on a 6, this meant we had to start with 60 seconds of step ups. Not a great start to the session! As we groaned our way through Princess Pain simply replied ‘it’s not me, it’s the cards!’.

And on and on it went, through 14 jump squats, 15 dips, 60secs of plank etc, etc for a full hour. It was a major workout. Each time she turned over a card and read out the set I groaned, but sucked it up and did it. At the end of the session I even asked what the session times were for next term, I’m that keen to keep going.

You see I’ve always had a thing about exercise, it’s not my favourite thing but I know I need to do it and once I’m in the groove I secretly love it, I love the endorphin hit is gives me, I love the small changes I start to see in my body and in myself, I start to have more energy, more happy moments and if I keep it up I get to go shopping for new clothes!

One added benefit over the last few sessions is the positive message that my Muddy Organiser is picking up, she’s come to the last few sessions and seen me exercising, she’s been asking questions about why I’m exercising and what it does and what each activity does. I feel great being able to set a nice positive example about exercise for my Muddy Kids, one I hope to be able to continue. I’m not sure how we’ll go through winter with the late evenings and the cold air, but I’ll give it a shot to make sure I keep going, because the benefits far outweigh my grumbles and groans!

What’s your favourite bit about exercise?
Do you exercise with your kids?

Some Lunch and Weighing Lambs for a Wonderful Weekend

I’d rather ignore Saturday with 6 loads of washing and a broken lawn mower but Sunday made for a Wonderful Weekend. Muddy Hubby fixed the mower for me, so I could finish mowing the orchard, keeping the mozzies down and giving me a clear view of the snakes coming. Then the Muddy Family headed to the local pub for lunch. We set up camp on the back lawn of the pub, the kids settled down on the rug for some colouring-in and lunch, while the adults settled in for a good catch up and tasty feed.
Our local pub has been gradually restored and renovated over the last few years. It’s now a meeting place for friends and family, a place to relax, unwind and have a good time. During the year they host functions, and have family BBQ’s, Sunday was one of those days.
After lunch the kids had fun watching the train go by, playing make believe as trains, planes and horses, while Muddy Hubby and I played with Muddy Bubby and chatted the afternoon away.
We went straight back to work in the late afternoon, weighing lambs for today’s sheep sale. Making sure we had the heaviest to send to market. The girls are getting good at learning how to shift the sheep, keep them moving into the scales and drafting them off into the heavy and light pens. My favourite bit is them getting to spend time with Muddy Hubby and learn all the workings of the farm. I also love to see a bit of fashion in the sheep yards, Muddy Organiser with her silver shoes and pretty dress and Muddy Puzzler with her bright red dress, always a way to brighten up the dusty yards.

How did you spend your weekend? Do you have a local pub that’s good for families like ours is?
Linking up with the Amazing Sonia at Life, Love and Hiccups for Wonderful Weekends