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?