Monday, December 28, 2015

Remember Christmas 2015

I've always loved Christmas.

Some haven't been as great as others. There were a couple that were so significantly different than what I'd been used to or imagined they would be, that they were not so magical.

Christmas 2015 was great in so many mundane ways, the type of ways that I like to document so that we can all look back in future days, and say, 'remember Christmas 2015, that was a pretty good year.'

It started with Big Hewitt Christmas, around 50+ people for lunch at Uncle John's house. There were cousins to play with, these are all the great grandkids now, and it's often only Easter and Christmas that they get together. It took about ten minutes before a random game of chasey got started in the back yard, then there were all the presents, the grown ups insisted on lunch at some stage, which was great because these fabulous things were served.

Remember how it was a gazillion degrees, and when Uncle John said a prayer before our meal, he also asked us to consider having a prayer for the farmers who so desperately needed rain. Then, before we had finished our Christmas ham the rain was pelting down and we had to go super quick to move all the presents inside. Those Christmas prayers can be answered very fast. That day finished with all the kids winding down with a movie and zooper doopers. No complaints there.

Then we had Christmas number 2.
Nan and Pop arrived with the car loaded with presents. We tried a new 80s version of Christmas dinner for fun and teamed it with Pops sticky date pudding (it's the best available). Once the presents were opened we played multiple rounds of HedBandz, and the adults actually laughed more than the kids. There were even attempts at cheating by looking into spoons to try and see the answer. It would seem some of us are more competitive than we usually admit to (it's possibly genetic).  The new polaroid camera came out and the kids had no idea that you are not supposed to open the back of the camera. Film is just something they knew nothing about. But kids learn quick.

Christmas number 3 was all about friends, new and old.
When you team a restaurant with a park, a golfing range, an ice cream shop, climbing trees and great weather it's just win/win/win/win.

Finally real Christmas arrived.
It was again 790000 degrees Celsius.
But, Santa arrived and surprised us by getting the perfect gifts including the Husky Beanie Boo that has never been seen in the shops. We watched Santa on the santa tracker website and confirmed his sleigh in the night sky, I still can't believe we saw it!

We'll also remember that was the year the inside toilet started making weird sounds and everyone had to use the outside one at Granny's. It was special to have Great Grandma and pa with us too.

And the slip n slide on the hill.

The iMovie that the cousins all made together.

That grandma kept saying, 'of course you can have that, it's Christmas.'

Some of us will remember that Baileys brought out a bailey's cream, perfect for the Christmas pudding, and christmas cake, and to top the pav with, or just with strawberries or anything really. Some aunties even just ate it like yoghurt.

When we think of Christmas 2015 we'll remember the little turtle we rescued and the motor bike rides.

We'll remember swimming at the big pool, pork crackle and pavlova.

And we'll remember that Christmas Day 2015 was the night that she who never sleeps, (Miss 9) slept for 15 hours.

We'll remember it as a good one.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Letter to the World from Immy - Age 7 Edition

Hello world.

I really wasn’t sure if I would be here again this year writing on Mums blog. After all, she doesn’t ‘work’ here like she once did. But now that it’s a thing, I might just have to write here every year for the rest of my life.

Today I am seven.  It’s my sixth year blogging here and now I am pretty good at writing. It’s my very favourite subject at school, that and independent reading time.  I really like to write stories and read stories. I’ve been learning a lot about transactional writing, non fiction writing, persuasive writing and really, I like them all.

Being six has been mostly awesome. I went to a new school, nearly vomited over everyone the first day because I was so nervous, but after the first ten minutes it was fine. It was tricky when I had to learn Mandarin, because everyone else did it in Prep and I had to catch up, but I am now getting the hang of it, Mum is really really bad at reading Mandarin, I'll be teaching her.

My dog Peppa is still probably the best dog in the world, but I really really really, more than anything in the whole world, more than all the lollies in a shop, so much just want a puppy.  My first choice is a golden retriever, but I’d take any puppy. ANY PUPPY (do you hear me PARENTS).

Speaking of lollies, my love for them just grows. They are the best. I hide them in my room, I sneak them from the pantry, I would eat them every day if I could. Lollies and lasagna is all I really need. All other food is disgusting. I tell Mum and Dad this every single night and every single night they say “just eat five spoonfuls’. The things they make me eat. It’s just disgusting.

Do you hate how some clothes feel when you wear them? I do.

I hate woolly things, especially school uniform jumpers. I hate tags on my clothes, I hate t-shirts with things sewn on them.  I hate jumpers that are hard to take off over your head, I hate hats that flop in your eyes and shoes that are not super comfortable. I will not wear thongs or sandals or boots or dress shoes. I will wear sneakers. Preferably the ones my sister used to wear because they are already worn in and comfortable. I don’t care if they are scuffed and Yes I DO think they match everything. 

The other thing I love is a good towel. We are kind of lacking in decent towels in this house and being the youngest I seem to get the rough hard ones that are also the smallest. What I want is a giant fluffy towel, preferably warmed by the heater and then delivered to me at the exact moment the shower is turned off. So far, this is a rare occurrence.

I’ve been super well this year (not like last year with all that whopping cough and stuff) but it wasn’t good when mum had all the stitches from the big lump the doctor took out. I wasn’t allowed to give her cuddles for a really long time, it was like 4 days maybe even more.

I am still thinking I will be a paediatric vet when I grow up.

My favourite movie is The Secret Garden. I borrowed it from the library and it had a scratch on it so I couldn’t watch it all, but I borrowed it every single week for the whole term until Mum told me to write a note to the library teacher and tell her that it was busted. My library teacher said thank you for the note.

That’s kind of it for being six. 

Six was good. Six was fun and funny and I grew so much that I went through three sizes of clothes and Mum says 47 sizes in shoes. My hair is nearly at my bum and I refuse to have it cut. EVER. No, not even a trim.

Seven is going to be ace.  It would be good if I get a fluffy towel and ALL the Beanie Boos in the world.

Catch ya later,

Friday, December 11, 2015

Things about Santa you may not know.

Many of you know that I love reading and I also love history. This is why I have always loved finding out about Santa and how he manages to do so many things.

In a time when Hollywood movies try and tell us stories about Santa that are not really true, it can be tricky to understand how all the magic works. But once you have a look at the full picture, it can start to make sense.

1) Santa doesn't go all over the world in one night. 

Of course Santa and the sleigh can't make it around to every house in every country in just one night.

In Belgium, parts of the Netherlands and some areas of France, Santa (or Sinterklaas as they call him) arrives on December 5, leaving presents for December 6th. That's when he kicks off the gift giving for the year.

Then we have the time differences around the world, so Santa has two nights - one in the Southern and one in the Northern Hemisphere. This takes substantial pressure off the reindeer.

Plus there are many countries that Santa doesn't go, including much of Africa.

2) Does Santa really give presents to every kid? 

Certainly not.

There are millions of kids who do not receive gifts.

Santa delivers gifts to children who have Christian beliefs and customs. Every religion and culture has their own special days for gifts and special treats, if you get gifts from Santa, you are unlikely to get them when some of your friends who might be Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim receive them.

Santa also only gives gifts to children, not teenagers or grown ups, so once you turn 13 the presents stop arriving, this is because the elves can only make a certain number of toys each year.

Santa only gives gifts to people who believe in Christmas and Santa. He saves the best and biggest presents for the kids he thinks deserve them.

3) What is Santa's phone number?

When you have a baby, the midwife makes you fill in lots of forms that go to the government and organises the birth certificate. She also gives out a piece of paper with Santa's number on it. This year, Santa also has a new app where parents can just leave a message. This is used to help Santa with his naughty and nice list. It is illegal to tell your children Santa's number and if a child calls Santa, they are instantly on the no-presents list.

4) Is Elf on the Shelf watching me all the time?

No. You are not being watched by some crazy elf that has scary eyes. The Elf is a new invention. It's been invented for people who just want to celebrate Christmas every single day for December, but the Elf is just for fun. He is not watching your every move and you should relax, get back to playing without feeling like the FBI is in the ceiling. The Elf is fun, but elves can not do anything to people and they can't talk to Santa.

5) Is it the real Santa at the shopping centre?

Maybe. Maybe Not. The thing is, you will never know. The real Santa will never reveal himself. He might even make you think he is NOT the real Santa. Because if he told you, every single kid in the whole world would start wanting to sit on his knee. He would never get back to the North Pole to get all his work done and he would need a knee replacement, and that's pretty expensive to get.

It's still hard to know, but some historians believe that the real Santa makes himself look like a normal man wearing dress ups, but we just can never be sure, you should constantly be keeping a look out.

6) Have I ever seen Santa? 

No, but a friend sent me this photo a couple of years ago, she snapped it with her phone in the car. She says it was the best day of her life.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

November finished and here's the list.

Yep, it's late. Ten days past November late, but this is how November 2015 rolled inside my head.

Getting: Selfies with our dog Peppa the Perfect Pooch.

Making: Lists, for who has been naughty and nice. And how many prawns I need for Christmas eve as I am in charge of the seafood meal that will kick off Christmas. The kids all want flathead tails, I want smoked salmon and oysters, others want prawns. So that's what we are getting!

Cooking: As little as possible 

Drinking : a few bevvies at functions, like at the Ball.

Reading:  I am currently reading Useful by Debra Oswald, I am still undecided on this one, but it’s early days, I will finish it, but I am not sure it's one to recommend just yet.

Wanting: Too much. Shoes and handbags are top of the list, but that's a pretty materialistic want.

Looking: at all the lights and decorations going up in the suburbs and loving it.

Playing:  Christmas carols by Ella Fitzgerald.

Deciding: Whether this year I could listen to Tim Minchen sing 'Drinking White Wine in the Sun' without crying like someone who has been stabbed. The answer is highly likely a no.

Wishing: That people would start walking the streets, screaming from the roof tops and going ape shit about the number of children killed in our society. Just two in Victoria in recent months are Nikki and Zoe. But we all moved on. We switched the station, flicked to a funny video on facebook or became outraged about something like school uniforms.

Nikki was 2 and found dead in the roof of her home. 
Zoe was 11 and sexually abused before being murdered in her home. 

They won't be the last this year. 
Wondering: If there is a single female that can seriously say they don’t relate to this blog post at least at one point in their lives. Most women I know would likely be nodding at so many of them, and somewhere it became our normal.

Loving: That my Mum has taken her first trip since my Dad died. Flying solo and then meeting people to hit the water and go cruising with. It’s a big deal. I am loving that she is taking this trip.

Pondering: How we will spend the summer, how we will squeeze in as many family getaways and days as we can.

Considering: The best thing to do with all the artwork, school work, and papers that arrive home from school right now.

Buying: stuff for everyone else.

Watching: Call the Midwife. Loved it three years ago and decided to watch it again, I have not been disappointed, quality shows are such a joy. It’s on Netflix if you are keen to watch it.

Hoping: The air conditioning in our car will actually work for the whole summer – HONDA, I love your cars, but you guys really really need to sort out the air conditioning issues in your cars. This is the 5th time our CRV Air con has gone kaput. I now know what it was like to travel in the 70s.

Cringing: at the number of people I know with fake Christmas trees. Sorry. Never seen one worth paying for.

Questioning: the fact that Australians will spend more this Christmas on treats for their animals then they will give to those in need. 

Smelling: Our rose garden, which is filled with the best smelling roses in all the lands.

Wearing: Exactly the same as last month, and anything else that still fits.

Noticing: the speed that my herbs grow in the garden when they actually get watered.

Knowing: Two months of summer holidays is going to be great.

Thinking: that Harry Potter will be the book series that last many generations and that every kids needs a time turner.

Admiring: The feminists. The ones that say and do all the things I wish did and said. Those who put up with all that awful stuff but still keep on keeping on for the good of the world. For the future of my girls.

Disliking: Fear mongering racists. 

Feeling: Organised

Snacking: on salted caramel chocolate covered popcorn.

Hearing: The songs from pitch perfect sung to me very often from two small girls.

Needing: Very little. But some decent speakers to hear all these tunes would be ace.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Make Your Wish

Recently we bought the latest Jane Godwin book to add to our Christmas book collection. It's a sweet story about a little girl trying to think about what wish she wants to add to the Christmas tree that's decorated by all the children in her neighbourhood.

It's a story about thinking about what your own Christmas wish might be. 

In our front yard we have a giant Christmas tree. I usually refer to it as "The Big Ugly Tree" as in, you can easily find our house, it's the one with the big ugly tree. I've threatened to have it cut down but too many people seem to think it's a bit of a landmark now. Even the neighbours tell their friends, "We're across the road from the house with the massive big pine tree".

People in the street behind us called over the fence last week telling us we should put lights up the big tree...great idea if you had a gigantic ladder.

But, it's time this tree was made more useful, so this December, the big ugly tree is going to be a Christmas Wishing Tree.

Yesterday we invited some friends to start helping to cut out some stars and they were the first to add their wishes to our tree.

Over the next month we are going to invite anyone who visits, lives nearby, or who wants to, to add their wish to our tree.

The wishes are already heartwarming and I if they continue in this way, we might have a tree loaded with wishes for a better world.

The littlest kids have written wishes to Santa while the bigger types think more about what they wish in the year ahead or for the whole world.

Over the next month these wishes will be swinging on the breeze, baking in the sun, soaked in rain and faded by the weather until the wishes are all floating in this big wide world of ours. And who knows just how many of them might come true.

However  you celebrate and whatever your beliefs, there is always time for wishes at Christmas.

And - if you would like your wish to be added to our tree, the girls are happy to write it out on a star for you and climb to the top of the tree to put it up for you. You can leave a comment here, or email it to us - claireyhewitt @ gmail .com

Monday, November 23, 2015

Act like Cinders.

It takes a lot of effort, organising, borrowing of things, primping and preening for us to get out on a Saturday night.

The effort that's required usually defeats me.

But this one time...

In November 2015, with all my fairy godmothers assembled to assist with the dress, the shoes, the baby sitting.

Well, it all actually happened and of course it was totally worth it. I had a ball at the Ball.

We really must make the effort more often, because dancing never made anyone sad or lonely or boring. Beautiful bevvies and food cooked by someone else enjoyed in the company of good sorts should probably by included in the healthy diet pyramid, because it's good for the soul.

So here is your reminder, buy the ticket, borrow the outfit, and act like Cinders and get thyself to the Ball.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Breaking: School Teachers Prepare for Annual flurry of Unneeded Presents

During her first year of school I noticed Arabella's teacher receiving lots of gifts from students as the year was about to end. Gorgeous gifts, some handmade, many mugs filled with chocolates, lots of candles, hand creams, lotions and potions and the odd movie ticket.

I did something different and purchased a charity gift. I bought something to do with clean water and got a card that said something like: "I was going to buy you a drink, but instead I bought thousands and thousands of them."

I got the six year old Arabella to write in the card and she wrote:

Dear Teacher,
My Mum thinks this is a good present. I think it's the worst present ever. Sorry.
Merry Christmas.
Love Arabella.

It was one of the most embarrassing days of her life when she had to give that card over.

Her teacher loved it, because let's be real, there were 20 kids in the class, and Ms Teacher had been teaching for 20+ years. That's a collection of more than 400 cups, candles, hand creams, chocolates, handmade cards etc. I know every teacher is grateful, they work so hard and expect so little in return and it's wonderful to give them something.

And yes, your kids cute little drawing is so sweet in that CR frame, but remember that your prep/foundation teacher sees these pictures every single day for the whole year, they certainly don't want one at home.

Teachers care a whole lot about the power of education. They know that by the simple act of teaching anyone (no matter their age) to read, you are changing the future for an unknown number of people.

Which is why again this year, my kids will get to write in a card for their teachers, and at the same time be giving something to another kid around the world who deserves the same chance as them to learn to read.

I won't even have to pray for a car park to go and buy it. At that price I can probably even attach it to what every teacher really really needs...hand sanitiser, because little kids like to spread their snotty germs around and no teacher has time for that.

Get this one and you'll still be changing the world!

For us, Christmas is a time to say thank you, to remind people that we appreciate them and what they do. It's also a time to spread the love, to spread the cheer and to aim for miracles that children around the world can all have a safe life, with access to education. Every bit helps, so if it's not for a teacher, your KK gift will do - 50 bars of soap would be unreal.

Monday, November 2, 2015

My Top Three Favourite Facebook Pages

Facebook never shows me the stuff I want to see, so I have to make the effort to go to the pages I prefer and read the updates. At the moment there are three pages that I check more and more to ensure I don't miss things.

Facebook is no longer just about hearing what friends are up to - because really, I don't always care that you are checked in at a cafe and are having eggs on toast. I use it much more for current affairs, assisting me be organised and for decent comedy.

So these three pages are my current most clicked on.

Humans of New York often called HONY.

HONY is a page that simply shares a photo of someone and a little snippet of their story. Every single image makes you want to know more. You get to read about real people who for some reason always feel comfortable sharing very private things with the photographer.

HONY also now travels around the world and I find the posts educational, interesting, emotive, fascinating. I always want more than the page gives. I used to read the comments but I don't anymore, commenters are often able to really ruin a great facebook post. On HONY the community that reads it do pretty amazing things though. They have raised millions of dollars for charities and often help out strangers.

The owner of the page also puts out books each year due to the success of the page. Most of you probably already follow it, but if you aren't already, you won't regret it.

2) The Local Buy Swap Sell Page.

Technically, this is not a 'page' it's a group. You usually need to ask to join your local area Buy, Swap, Sell page. It's likely to be run by a few volunteers who kindly keep the group running, delete the adverts, remind people of rules and keep it all pretty nice.

These pages are more useful than any local phone directory. They are the welcome party for people moving to an area. They refer good businesses, share things happening in your local area and they are the best way to get rid of the stuff you don't need.

Personally, I hate waste, mainly I hate landfill waste. I once volunteered at a large op shop and the turn over in most of them needs to be quick, the amount of stuff coming in can be huge in some places, which means a lot of stuff is still sent to the tip, or clothes are used as rags and sold by the kilo. Old furniture is hard to move.

Our BSS page has allowed me to giveaway things like magazines and beds and sell the girls clothes when they grow out of them. The secret to the BSS page is that it has to be super cheap. If you want retail price, go sell it somewhere else. This also means you get to buy stuff really cheap too.

You will find people seeking help for lost dogs, needing their lawns mowed, and wanting a new hairdresser. You can ask about swim school prices and everyone in the area will just tell you.

If you are not in your local group yet, go and search for it and join in. Remember that Facebook won't show you the updates in your usual feed though, so you need to click over to the group and scroll through to keep up to date and get the best bargains. Summer time you can even get fruit super cheap from people's back yard trees.

3) WTF Renaissance 

Shortly after this incident, Tina would have her zoo membership revoked.

This page just makes me laugh.

It's put together by a group of Melbourne people. You can see the image and ask yourself what you would have captioned it with, but chances are it won't be as funny as them. They make paintings that are centuries old relate to modern day times.

I share them a bit because I just want to share the funny. It's smart funny. It's often political without being politically correct (mostly).

This page does nothing more than improve your facebook experience and for that it's totally worth it.

What are your favourite pages? What do you mostly use facebook for? 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Where it's at: October 2015.

When the blogging mojo has left the building, there is only one thing a girl can do.
Steal ideas from Woogsworld.
So here goes, for October 2015 this is the lay of the land at Casa Huey.

Making : Lunches for school every night and not once stressing about them in the morning as we do the run/dance/shuffle out the door to school.
Cooking : Whatever is on the menu from Hello Fresh. I keep meaning to tell you all about this. I don't meal plan or shop for our evening meal anymore. No mumma got time for that. Instead, all the fresh food and the recipe cards are delivered to me on a Monday and we eat what they tell us to cook for the rest of the week
Drinking : not enough water.
Reading:  'My Grammar and I (or is that and me)' because there will forever be things in the English language that I have to check, especially when I write for work projects.
Looking: forward to the future with happiness.
Playing: Itunes Radio and listening to random songs like Lenny Kravitz...cos it aint over til it's oooooveeeerrrrrr.
Deciding: That getting a cleaner is no longer to be discussed, it is to be organised.
Wishing: Probably for too much, but mainly for will power. 
Enjoying: The Sun. Some days I think I am like a plant that only survives in the tropics. I need sunshine 
Wondering: What will happen to all those people fleeing Syria. 
Loving: How happy Arabella has been after her Day Camps at school. 
Pondering: Blog writing, how I miss it, how it's a very selfish past time, but one I want to find time to do more of again and that perhaps I should do my write everyday in May again - but you know, not in May, but in November, or maybe December.
Considering: Getting Christmas shopping done before the end of November.
Buying: Not the dress I want, because it's still not available
Watching: SUITS - I even had to pay for Netflix as I am totally addicted. You all probably watched it years ago, but I am just catching up. So happy to have found this show.
Hoping: my family continue with good health. Always.
Cringing: At my white legs.
Questioning: If I can write a blog at work and then come home and write another one.
Smelling: Fresh sheets, dried in the sun. No dryer will ever beat that smell
Wearing: Not that dress.
Noticing: That I don't seem to care about kids messy bedrooms so much anymore.
Knowing: I am not going to have Christmas sorted by November.
Thinking: About the idea of swimming lessons for myself.
Admiring: The Doers. I always love those people, the ones who just get everything done.
Disliking: Like and Share to Win Posts on Facebook. 
Opening: Too many packets of chocolate
Giggling: At my kids stories. 
Feeling: Better
Snacking: Too often.
Hearing: Different podcasts. It's good to randomly listen to things that I would never usually hear. Apparently it makes me smarter. 
Needing: A cleaner

I cut a few out, no point leaving them in when I had nothing to really say. 
Have you watched Suits? Were you able to stop at just one episode per day? 

*Random photo of Marty the sheep, just because we love him. A lot.