I’ll get my coat…

To start Easter weekend with a bang I decided to try out making Nutella Cupcakes in the microwave. I found an awesome recipe online and the pictures looked lovely!

We followed the recipe to the letter. And 2 minutes later….

…well, yeah. It didn’t exactly work as expected.

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It tasted AWFUL too!

Not my finest hour.

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Dance like no-one is watching

… Because if they saw Beanpole, TinyPants and me dancing this afternoon we might all be wearing the the hug yourself jacket!

This is the perfect example of just being. We boogied our way around the kitchen to some of the worst music known to human kind (this includes One Direction and Taylor Swift amongst other abominations that my tweenies are obsessed with) whilst we twirled our way through making the unhealthiest lemon drizzle cake possible.*

Eventually I had to sit down, but TinyPants was still in full swing…. And I captured this.

I’m fairly biased, but I think the lunatic is rather cute.

*note: I feel I need to mention that I did not feed my children cake for tea. I am not Marie Antoinette. They did not eat cake. They ate beef stew. We are now eating cake – my eyeballs are buzzing, and as such, this cake is not for the munchkins. It’s for me.

You are not your mind. Or you sir, are out of yours.

After reading a fair bit on the negative route to happiness, I started delving into Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now. I’ve been far more open to the idea of mindfulness over the past months and after seeing it discussed on the news this morning, I thought I’d talk about it here…

The frog is getting Zen.

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Actually, the frog is feeling very much at peace with everything since it was decided that the road of the frog is much better than that of the princess. (See Why being a Frog is Better than Being a Princess). But this book is taking it a step further.

Don’t let your mind possess you. It cannot allow you to exist in the here and now

At first, this sounds like the rankings of a crazy person who should be medicated, rather than published. Except, he’s quite happy.

The time for thinking is over. The mind has evolved so far that thinking is destructive. It is time to evolve to a higher state of consciousness.

Again, clearly mental.

Except… Except, the ability to take a step back from all the noise in your head and perceive them in an objective manner is ultimately helpful. Am I actually angry with that person for driving like a complete tool, were they really trying to put my life in danger, or is that my perception of the situation? Stand back. Am I angry because I’m actually not in control? Do I need to be annoyed? The tool is now half way down the road and actually, right now I am in no danger. They were just being a tool and it wasn’t aimed at me per say. I can continue with my day. Holding onto any anger will only make my own day unhappier.

This idea of watching our thoughts until they are rationalized or just go away completely allowing us to just be aware of everything around us is an exceptionally good way to reduce general stress and anxiety. Since starting this on a daily basis, I have certainly been immensely less stressed and am gliding through what could be quite a stressful upheaval with a real sense of peace.

I’m nowhere near totally stress free, but the frog is no longer a princess sitting in a pond.

Despite the initial raised eyebrows, I shall continue with this book with as open a mind as I can muster.

Ribbit.

Madame Butterfly needs to man up

After dragging my brightly coloured self off to work today, I was rewarded with an evening out with my father-in-law to watch Madame Butterfly.

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It’s part of the Open Australia season where live productions are streamed around the world to various cinemas. Total kudos to them, as the show was excellent and bloody hell, her voice!

Act 1 was spent raising an eyebrow at her claim to be 15. But that aside, the innuendo was subtle enough to focus on the impending doom whilst still knowing exactly what was going on. Quite a few tears in the vicinity.

Act 2 was heart wrenching… But after a while I started to question her sanity. Why were you shocked that he returned with a wife after buggering off for three years? And why didn’t you stab HIM in the neck rather than yourself? I know it’s the metaphor of a butterfly ultimately having a pin stuck through her, but he got away with being an absolute arse whilst the teenage (?) butterfly fawns over him and dies.

The moral of this story is that men think with their penises. I’m not sure that’s a moral that puts anyone in a good light.

Amazing voices though. And Suzuki was perfect.

It’s my hair and I’ll dye it weird ass colours if I want to

I’m on Easter break from school (I ought to mention that I’m the teacher!) and with three weeks to play with, I’ve decided to use that time to have a full blown mid-life crisis.

In my twenties, I was cool. Or odd. I’m not sure which. But I did have the most amazing hair. On google street view, I was caught on camera in my driveway with bright green and pink hair. Its been long (mostly), short, spikey, braided and in a short moment of madness, shaved. Previously I had been seen regularly with pink, green or blue waist length dreadlocks (plaited in). But whatever I’ve done, it’s generally reflected how I’ve felt at the time. My hair is an extension of my personality.

Since becoming a teacher, I’ve stuck with plain old red hair, and even that is a bit bright for some. And the more boring I look, the more boring I feel. And I’m not. I’m bright and loud and happy, and as I’m on leave my hair must reflect this! So today’s bleach-fest has resulted in bright pillar box red hair with purple dip dyed ends.

I am in full swing with the mid-life crisis mode. I may even reactivate my WoW account. Or drink pink wine with my lovely friend who also refuses to accept the aging process but chooses to quite literally run away from it by doing marathons (mental).

So now, without makeup, and with some rubbish lighting the first sneaky peak of my midlife crisis hair…

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What my manic brain failed to remember is that I’m actually 33 now, and I have to go into work for a workshop tomorrow.

Bugger.

Still, at least the frog looks like herself again. Even if I am more toad than tadpole these days.

It’s about style, not fashion. (Said no daughter, ever. But eventually she might…)

My afternoon to myself has consisted of sorting the kids clothes into various piles:

1. Too big for beanpole
2. Too small for beanpole, but too big for Tinypants
3. This will fit them this summer if it ever comes
4. Too small for Tinypants

The first three piles have gone into vacuum bags to be stored away, while pile 4 is in a bag waiting to go on to the next child in the line. And of course the cat feels he is helping in his own special way…

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This is a valuable tradition within friends and family of passing the kids clothes on when they haven’t worn holes in the knees. If the clothes are still good, a friend can always benefit from a bag of ‘stuff’. The recipient then keeps the bits they need and passes the rest to a charity shop. When their munchkins grow out of the clothes, the cycle starts again.

We have not yet got to the point where the kids object to the idea of hand me down clothes, and whilst they are developing their own unique styles (even at age 7 & 8!), they already understand the value of upcycling clothes rather than buying new wardrobes every season.

Tinypants possibly has more of an issue with this as she is in a set of friends who are mainly the eldest child from middle class families who are quite focused on their physical appearance (at age 7!!). The poor kid is doomed living with parents who are of the breed who worked out their own fashion and couldn’t give two hoots what people thought. I still happily wear giant flares that I made combined with bright red hair and smartie nails (5 different colours). LSH spent his youth in massive skater jeans combined with some sort of offensive tshirt (this was reigned in a bit once the kids could read) and a giant Mohawk. He ended up a lot more sensible once he landed a decent job, but as he works at home most days while he’s developing SharePoint stuff I cannot claim to understand, he does indulge in some particularly dubious Hawaiian shirts. Poor Tinypants is trying to find her place in the world with very normal friends whilst still being happy in her oddball family. It can’t be easy learning that harsh lesson that girls are often obsessed with the perception of who they are rather than just getting on with being them. Hell, it took me nearly 25 years to work that one out!

So why is the hand me down cycle so important for a child’s mental health? Well, for a start, it is a lesson in valuing those around you by receiving loved items, but also by giving them away. But also, it’s a lesson in making the most of what you have. Not everything is about fashion, but style is important – and stylish isn’t always fashionable. But stylish is you.

Oh, and mummy isn’t made of money!