Thursday, 30 January 2014

Let's Change The World!! (or at least make a difference!)

 Not only is Little Miss Penelope 6 and a half months old, it's already almost February!!! School goes back on Monday and while I am glad cause summer holidays are long, these ones have not left me anywhere near as frazzled as they normally do. I think it's because I've been just so busy!

Along with all the other stuff that happens around here, we've been painting the kitchen. Our amazing landlords have yet to say no to anything we've asked of them. They installed a new aerial for us, let us put a ginormous wall mount up for the tv, had pest control people around even though I don't think we've had any pests! They installed a new garage door, send the lawnmower man around every three weeks to do the lawns, sent handymen around to replace the clothes line, fix electrical outlets, change and fix taps, they re-tiled part of the bathroom and repainted after it leaked at the very start of our tenancy and probably more stuff that I'm forgetting. In short, they've been quite amazing landlords and to top it off they said "sure you can paint the walls and the cupboards!!" 

We had to keep the walls reasonably neutral but other than that had basically free reign. So we started with the kitchen and as soon as it's properly finished I'll do a post and show you all before and after! 

I've also been busy working on petitioning our Government to change their parameters for the Royal Commission into child abuse in care for the Forgotten Australians. You all know about my Dad's book, and if you would click this link, you can read about what I'm asking the Government to do. It would mean a lot to me if you could sign my petition. One lone voice cannot speak loudly enough to gain attention, but many voices speaking together can create quite the roar. So please, if you have 30 seconds to spare sign my petition to the Prime Minister of Australia. You don't need to be Australian, every signature counts.

While I'm on the 'let's change the world' kick, it would also be amazing if you could check out fundraising for a gorgeous little family member, Miss Briley. She is the same age as Penelope, give or take a couple of weeks. She has Cystic Fibrosis and her wonderful Uncle and Aunty have organised a massive stair climb in Minneapolis to raise funds for research into CF.  You can read more about that here, and if you could spare even $5 or $10 it would be awesome. Many advances have already been made in the last 15 years, if a cure is found in the next 15 or so, Briley's life expectancy will go from just 35 to the same as the rest of us!!

Ok, so now on to some photos of Little Miss Penelope! She had her 6 month immunisations yesterday and so far, while a bit off and cranky, she has been much happier in their aftermath than previous ones. She does love wearing her Daddy's cap, and while she moves so much these days that it's hard to get a photo not blurry, she does look kinda cute!

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Friday, 24 January 2014

Sleeping All Night and Other Updates!

It's been a little while since I posted on here so to make up for it you get to see Penelope in action! I'll have a few videos of the Little Miss later in the post so you can see her giggle and play.

So on to what's been happening around here the last week or so: well.....last night was a momentous occasion! Or should I say this morning? Little Miss Penelope slept all night for the very first time!!! Yep, that's right. I got a full 7 hours sleep in a row for the first time in over 6 months! I did wake around 5:30am and peered over into her cot from my bed. I could see her starting to stir a little so I closed my eyes and went back to blissful slumber and the next thing I knew it was 6:30am and she was happily talking to herself, wide awake and smiling.

She was happy to have big cuddles with her brother when he got up.

It was very exciting, so excuse me while I relish in the moment of what a full nights' sleep actually feels like!

The Eldest One has taken herself off to the other side of the country to stay with family and while I can't say it's been any quieter without her around, I definitely miss her! She will be home late on Friday the 31st, so just in time to get ready for the start of school the following Monday. While she has been there she got to be my representative at my Dad's book launch. You might remember I've told you all that he has written a book about his upbringing in the welfare system during the 50's and 60's. Well it's out now and available and he held a launch and book signing on Wednesday. I don't have any photos that I can post, but I can let you know if you'd like to get a copy of his book (which I highly recommend, it's possibly the best read you'll have all year), you can get one from Amazon HERE (available in kindle, hardcover and paperback).

Miss Emily is missing her very best friend in the world very much at the moment. Miss Olivia is with her family in Tasmania (which is not only on the other side of the country but not even on the mainland for those that don't know). So she's been a bit mopey and counting down the days till school starts cause that's when she'll see her again!

Little Dude had a sleepover at a friends' house and they went kayaking! All was fine and dandy until someone threw a crab at him. Then all was not fine and dandy, hahaha. He got over it though and from all accounts  had an awesome time.

The Social One has been working a lot, and being social when she's not working so hasn't spent a lot of time at home. She was however a little upset yesterday when we discovered one of her hermit crabs, Ernie, had died. Let me just say straight up, when you read that hermit crabs stink like dead fish when they die......there is no exaggeration! Oh my goodness did it stink in that tank! He had a good run; she got her Hermit Crabs for her birthday last year at the start of May, and we had bets on them only lasting a month. 8 months is pretty decent! Now she's worried about the other one, Shelly, becoming lonely and dying as well, so we're off to the pet store today to get another one.

The Awesome One has been adjusting to working 5 days a week after his recent increase in hours at work. At least he gets Saturdays off now, which will be truly awesome come netball season! I have been super duper busy getting ready for my art lessons which start in two weeks, applying for my very first artist residency and working on a new painting for the upcoming Mandjar art awards which is next month. Here's my entry. I love it.

Looking Back, Hesitation. 40 x40" Mixed Media on Canvas. c. Sarah Wherry

And so now onto some videos as promised - well that should actually read video as promised!  Apparently Blogger is not liking my videos at all, so I'll leave you with the one I can actually upload and I promise I'll try to figure it out and post some more in the next couple of days! (Or actually my wonderful husband will figure it out and fix it so that I can post some more, haha!).  This one is of me tickling her with my foot - she thought it was hilarious! *warning*there is squealing involved so prepare your ears!

 And I'll say sorry if the quality isn't great - it's from my phone and we're still figuring out how to get it to look better online!

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Friday, 17 January 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent; Easy, Cheap and Effective!

Ok, so maybe it's my inner Hippie talking, or maybe it's the fact that I have 5 kids and it's annoying as all hell to have to spend so much money on something that essentially gets washed down the drain. Or maybe it's because at least two of the five are allergic to a number of regular detergents so it makes me wonder what on earth goes into them? Or maybe it's a bit of all those reasons. Regardless of the reasons, when Little Miss Penelope was a couple of weeks old we made our first batch of homemade laundry detergent and we haven't looked back!

The ingredients are easy to find and don't cost much. You'll get them at your local supermarket, although we got the Borax at Bunnings (which is a big hardware store). They also have the advantage that one set of ingredients will do for around a year's worth of detergent. You'll need:

Washing Soda -
(apparently this is not something that is readily available everywhere like it is here. You can get it from Amazon, but don't substitute Baking Soda cause that's a completely different thing. Washing Soda is also known as Soda Ash - you can use it to soak clothes before tie-dying them and I use it to wash my printing screens.)

Laundry Soap (we use Velvet)

For the batch we make these are the quantities: 1/2 cup soap flakes, 1/4 cup Borax, 1/4 cup washing soda and 500mls of water.
To make, you simply grate your soap finely (you can use soap flakes but it's way cheaper to buy laundry soap and finely grate it yourself), add that to your Borax and Washing Soda and water in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Just remember to stir contstantly. By the time it's boiling all of the dry ingredients should be dissolved.

Pour that into a container and top with cold water. We use an additional 5ltrs of cold water and it seems to work well. Just be sure to warm your container first if it's glass like ours or you will end up cracking it from the boiling liquid. (yes....experience talking here....)

To do a load of laundry we put 1/4 cup of it into our machine. For really soiled loads use double, for our cloth nappies we use double with some bleach in the machine as well. Our machine is a new high efficiency front loader and we have no problems with it going through. Our clothes are cleaned better than using standard store bought detergent and I really can't find fault with it. It doesn't have a smell, so if that bothers you, you could add a little essential oil to the mixture to add fragrance but we don't bother.

We spent approximately $25 on raw ingredients, and we're pretty confident we'll get the whole year from those ingredients. We have to make a new batch roughly every 2 -3 months, but that's ok cause it takes all of 20 minutes to do so. Honestly, the most time is actually spent grating the soap. If I was more organised I'd grate a heap up all at once and store it in a zip lock bag and then it would probably take all of 8 minutes or so to make each couple of months. And don't forget that there are seven of us in the house, and Penelope is in cloth nappies so we're always doing washing! If there are less people in your house, you'll use way less and it will last longer! And there's also no allergy issues at all.

As a bit of a side-note: you might have to slightly adjust the cold water quantity if the consistency isn't right for your machine, and it might go gluggy as it settles. That's ok because you stir it before each use. 

It settles somewhat in the jar, so we have a big wooden spoon that we use to give it a quick stir before using and then a 1/4 cup kitchen measure is what we use to scoop out the liquid and put it in the machine. We have a separate grater, wooden spoon, measuring cups and saucepan that we store in the cupboard. All the ingredients get stored straight into the saucepan after making a batch. It's neat, quick, easy and cheap. And it works really really well. I don't think I'll ever buy detergent again! 

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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Penelope Is On The Move! (Kind Of....)

She's just turned 6 months old and Little Miss Penelope is already on the move! Well...kind of anyway! A couple of weeks before Christmas she started rolling over both ways, and at the same time she started spinning herself around in circles on the floor. It was quite comical to watch. She actually scooted herself around on her back so she could touch the presents under the Christmas tree!

Then 5 days before Christmas she sat up by herself for the first time! She was wobbly and only lasted a few seconds but the joy on her little face was priceless!

She keeps practicing her exciting new skills (along with eating her own feet) and she can sit up much better now and is so close to crawling! She has also decided she loves 'real' food and she loves making a mess with it too.

 These photos were from the first day she sat up by herself for longer than a couple of seconds; the looks on her face were awesome! She was getting so excited at not falling over....then she fell over. ;)

It's been ridiculously hot here the last couple of days; we even broke a couple of records! Hottest January day since 2007 and last night was the hottest night on record ever for where we are. And yes, it felt it! So this morning Little Miss Penelope was a bit tired and hot. I put her in her gorgeous little bean bag and turned on Sesame Street. She does love the television, and she was a little bit enthralled.

So that's it for a Penelope update for a few days at least. I expect that it won't be too long and I'll be letting you all know that she's crawling! We're also starting to take bets on whether she'll say Mom or Mum first when she starts to babble, or maybe both. Who knows? 

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Embrace Your Inner Hippie and Go For Cloth: Nappies That Is!