Friday, January 28, 2011

Things Im Loving..

Things we are loving this week...

the blessing of beautiful friends (although it was so hard to say goodbye and many tears have been shed)

a cool farewell cake

emotional welcomes at the airport

Air New Zealand Safety video - Hilarious and SOOO Kiwi!


Catching up with our cousin - and being crazy


a beautiful backyard to play in


Im linking up here 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bon Voyage and Miss 9s blog

My beautiful friend Chantelle made me this gorgeous fabric picture - I just love the colours -shes very clever and creative!!

I have made some beautiful friends here in Australia and it was very hard to say goodbye to them yesterday. My children are really struggling with this too and it was heartbreaking to see them sobbing as they farewelled their besties. Miss 9 kept saying through her tears, why do I have to keep doing this? I was crying along with her saying Im sorry. And then Mstr 7 broke his heart... almost too much to bear.
But today they are okay and looking forward to a quiet day as all their friends head back to a new school year. Tomorrow we will farewell Australia and arrive home.

Home. sigh.
As the movers arrived on Thursday Miss 5 said, Mum, can I talk to you... Mum, Ive decided I want to go to school in Australia now... poor little poppet.


The kids have had a little get together with their school/kindy friends

these three are the most BEAUTIFUL friends, hearts of gold...this photo brings tears to my eyes..

Miss 5 and her bestie- such a sweet wee girl

Da boys!

I love that most of my friends are on Facebook and despite the distance we can keep in touch with the click of a mouse.

For the kids this isn't so easy and so for Miss 9 I have set her up a blog to keep her friends updated about her move back to NZ and for her to blog about her crafty endeavours as well (like mother, like daughter).

She would LOVE for you to visit her, check it out here...

http://adventuresoflittlemisschatterbox.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Organised Home Challenge

Megan at Mousehouse is running a great 'Organised Home Challenge', check out the post about her linen cupboard, I LOVE all the beautiful lavender bags and spray she has made, what beautiful little touches.

We are not really in a position to do much 'organising' right at the moment (but believe me, a LOT was done in the last few weeks *grin*) as this is what most of our contents look like now
and now its all neatly packed in this...
and about to head across the Tasman.

So while I can't join in the challenge, I think the kids and I will have to be very organised living at my Mums and Dad's house, sharing one room (eek!) so I might join in with how we live like that!!

So check it out over at Mousehouse.. one of my fave blogs :)

And, thanks for all your lovely comments on my blog this week. I loved all the comments yesterday about the film scanner.

I bought mine here in Oz at a supermarket chain called ALDI.  Ive also seen them at Big W and Target (department stores).  Im guessing places like the Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery or maybe Dick Smith might have ???  I paid $69 for mine ..and debated it for ages because really its only used once BUT now my sister and Mum want me to do theirs too.

I wish we could fit a whole pile of them in our 7 suitcases for you all!! But no, we are chocka!!!! apparently not very 'organised' when it comes to deciding what we need for the next 6 weeks... would you believe one bag with only our kids clothes in weighs 23kg!!  obviously they have too many clothes!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

bringing the past into the present

One thing that has resounded with me watching the copious media footage of the floods in these parts is that nearly everyone interviewed, who have lost everything, say the hardest part is losing their photos.

I have always LOVED photos and I remember on our journey to Australia worrying about something happening to my hundreds..(maybe thousands?) of photos and negatives... because sometimes containers fall off ships in transit (hence the insurance you pay..in case they need to salvage it..eek!)

image from thecontainerplace.co.uk

So this time I was prepared. All of our wedding photos, my eldest daughter's first two years and my son's newborn piccys are on negatives.



I picked up this nifty (and pretty cheap at ALDI) negative scanner.


Its so easy to use. You just clip your negative strip in the holder and pass it through. The little screen shows you the picture and you press OK and it saves it to a camera memory stick. Which I then just plug into the laptop and voila!! Digital copies of our photos!! Yippee!!



Now of course they aren't as high resolution as the photos we currently take but they are pretty good and if all else is lost they will be precious! Including this one of special people...

My special Uncle Jack (who passed away last weekend) and my beautiful Aunty Nita (who was waiting for him in Heaven).

And the best bit is, I can now crop them, play around with them, etc.

I just need to learn one thing - constantly watch for dust!!! quite a few have little specks on them so I'll need to redo those.

Im now going to save it all to the external hard drive for extra insurance.

I LOVE technology!!! Now the scanner is packed in my suitcase because apparently I am making a start on my Mum's and sister's negatives...lol...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Catching up with a bloggy friend

After lots of attempts to catch up again with Lisa (Weza from Everything by Twos), on Tuesday it finally happened. Its amazing what has postponed this visit.. sickness, floods! But we were determined to squeeze another catch up in.

So the kids and I took a little trip to visit Lisa and her beautiful family and their newest addition, Rico.

The kids had a blast with Lisa's girls, they were all totally hyper and laughing and having a great time. Lots of playing, laughing and loudness!

Lisa and I got to sit down (under the nice cool airconditioning!) and chat - lovely!!
I love that it is so easy to get along with bloggy friends. Its just so comfortable!!!

Then the gorgeous baby Rico woke up and I had a little cuddle - cluck cluck CLUCK!! He's adorable!!

Miss 9 also was stoked to have a cuddle with him too.


Here's beautiful Lisa with her wee boy...
Sweet as!



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Whanau

Have you spotted my new header picture?

I am in love with this photo!

A good Kiwi friend of mine is a photographer and Ive been asking her to do a feet shot of us to put up in our living room.

We had planned to do it in her studio but took the opportunity to give it a try at the beach.. because hey, thats where we love to play as a family.

This is what will be going on our wall... all 13x18 inches of it!!! LOVING IT
If you live in Brissy and want her details, just email me, she's great!!
kiwiatheartdesigns@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Giveaway Winner!!

Well we're all pretty fancy here you know...
we use a cookie jar to draw out our giveaways
and my little helper is wearing a t-shirt and pyjama pants (at almost 4 pm in the afternoon)..which is pretty good considering she usually only wears underpants...we might have to work on that before she starts school in two weeks.....

and the winner is

Yay! Jacksta, congratulations on winning the book.
I will post it as soon as we are back in NZ.
Can you please email me your address...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Last two days to enter giveaway!

Dont forget to pop over here and leave a comment to be in the chance to win this great kids book



Closes on Wednesday 19th January.

Thankfulness...

Yesterday I was a total grump all day and everyone was getting on my nerves and I was so irritable. I whinged and moaned about moving again and even posted on facebook about our 10 moves in 10 years, and two international moves...blah blah blah..
Everyone knows that moving house is right up there on the ‘stress’ scale. Especially when hubby still hasn’t found a job and the kids and I will be invading my parent’s home for an undefined period of time.
This morning those bitter feelings arose again as my husband jumped in his car and drove off to work and I was left with the ‘house of chaos’ and three bored children, little support and a daunting task ahead.
BUT, in light of all that is happening around here (ie. the FLOODS) I decided it was time to suck it up and be thankful for all the BLESSINGS we have..which are abundant!
For starters, we have all our ‘crap’, like it or not, enjoy sorting it or not, we still have it. Many others don’t around here at the moment so Im embracing our crap – ALL OF IT

Then there is the fact that we are doing a jolly good sort out so when we buy another house and unpack it will be so ORGANISED!! YAY!! Long may organised last!!

We've got these little characters to keep us smiling..


Next is the fact that Miss 9 has been an absolute blessing this week. She has helped so much in the BIG PURGE and continues to amaze us with her constant willingness to help.  As a reward for her helpfulness and commitment to tasks she is earning plenty of extra pocket money and she is somewhat motivated by this – HEHE.. but I love seeing her love language in its full glory.
We are also so thankful for beautiful friends and sleepovers.. Miss 9 and her bestie are going to miss each other like crazy, they are such gorgeous friends, so kind and caring to each other.. it makes my heart swell.
And theres the gratefulness to my husband who agreed, to appease his grumpy wife, that I could add an extra suitcase to our luggage and pay the extra so I can take my SEWING MACHINE ... YIPPEE!!!

Im also thankful to my lovely cousin and friends who will be there to help me out with the kids when the movers come in and when we have to clean.
Im grateful to having this beautiful Great Uncle in my life. Sadly, he passed away on Saturday at 91 years of age.  Him and my great Aunt were like grandparents to my sister and I and to our children too.  They lived their lives as Christians and they were a wonderful example to us. They leave a big gap in our family, but my Uncle had a long and productive life and missed my Aunt so much.
We were so lucky to have them in our lives.
I’m going to have to keep reminding myself today of all we have to be thankful for.
What are you thankful for today? What are your blessings?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Queenslanders, what a great bunch


Today amidst the sadness and grief I have heard such stories of wonderful generosity and love.
013578-ipswich-flood
Theres the person who is still without power and has collected their baking stuff to go and bake for bakerelief.

There’s the 22000 people who have already signed up to volunteer for the clean up.
There’s the large number of people who are donating use of resources at no cost, eg a Laundromat... a childrens indoor playground.... the list is extensive

Brisbane floods

There are those who have donated clothes, shoes, bedding, toiletries...they have had to beg people to stop donating as the evacuation centres are overflowing with goods.
Clean-up begins after the Ipswich floods, Queensland

There are the people working tirelessly in evacuation centres, out in the areas near the flood zones. Ensuring everyone has a warm dry place to sleep, a nice warm cup of tea, meals, clothes and entertainment for the children. Along with a safe place for pets.
A huge pile of belongings destined for the tip from a Fairfield home on Friday, January 14. Photo: Dan Nancarrow

On TV they interview people who have lost everything and they are crying because they are so appreciative to the kindness others have shown them.
Toowoomba City floods, Queensland

People have flown in from all over Australia and we've borrowed crews of Civil Defence from NZ too .



In a time when a lot of people don’t even know their neighbours, it is heart warming to see that in a state of utter devastation and loss, people are showing generosity, love and compassion.
Toowoomba City floods, Queensland
Aussies are just like us kiwis, always ready to look after each other and pitch in when needed.
An army of cleanup volunteers in Rosalie on January 14. Photo: Marissa Calligeros
This is the true spirit of love and kindness.
It is heart warming when our hearts are breaking.


There are some beautiful posts popping up out there in blogland.. but this one really captured my heart..


Check out this post from Gail at Delighfully Diva-ish..I just love it... she sums up us ANZACs being 'neighbours'.. it made me cry...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

more on the floods...

I was struggling this morning about what to write about what is happening here in the Brisbane area. Nothing I say can bring relief to anyone who is right in the middle of this devastating crisis at the moment. Nothing I say can really paint a picture of the severity of this disaster.

So Im just going to tell you about it.. from where we are...our perspective.

We have been stuck at home with all the flooding happening around us and have been relying on the media and internet to find out what has been happening. A lot of the places we normally go the roads we travel are now damaged and in clean up mode. It is really weird to think, I might just pop out to get suchandsuch and then remembering.. you cant because the road is closed or the bridge is damaged.. totally weird.

It really is devastating to watch at times. Tears come easily at the moment.

At 4am this morning (Qld time) the river reached its peak and although it was 1 metre lower than expected, the devastation is phenomenal. 
Do you remember the post I wrote, only a week ago about a great day out in Brisbane? Now nothing is the same in that area.. its all currently under water.. beautiful South Bank, beaches and parklands, the amazing park at New Farm... all of it, covered in dirty water and debris. I cant even look at my post again because it still seems so surreal.

There's been a wide range of fluctuating emotions going on here.

On Monday it was sadness and disbelief for all the rural towns experiencing flooding.
Tuesday it was utter horror as we watched the flash flood rip through Toowoomba, followed by sadness at the loss of life. We frantically rang my husband's aunty and uncle all evening to check they were ok. They are.
Wednesday was a day of fear and stress as the suburbs around us quickly went under water, friends were told to evacuate immediately, and the rain and electrical storms were relentless.
Thursday was filled again with sadness and disbelief as the city we love and have called home for almost three years was inundated with water.
And now it is the guilt. For feeling so worried and scared and then not being affected. For feeling all this sadness and loss, when we are so lucky and mostly unaffected.
Last night and today it is utter heartbreak for those thousands of people who have lost everything. The stories of family's who have lost loved ones ...just indescrible sadness.

The shock of it all here is starting to wear off and the reality is sinking in.  Even newsreporters seem to be struggling to keep their emotions in check.

There is a sense of helplessness being so close to everything happening, not being flooded but being prevented from travelling far and wanting to do SOMETHING to help.

Last night I found out about a great initiative here, baking for the SES workers and volunteers.  These workers are working around the clock keeping Queenslanders safe, rescuing thousands of people, sandbagging businesses and homes.

So today, that will be our mission, to bake up and storm and drop it off at the nearest SES centre.

Are you in the Brisbane area? You are invited to help too.. but only if it is safe to travel to the centres.

In the coming weeks food prices will soar and availability of foods will become scarcer due to all crops in this region being destroyed by the floods, and because of the damage to roads which will prevent food being delivered to some areas.

This is going to further impact on those who have lost their homes ... lost everything.

If you can, please donate to one of the organisations who have a relief effort going. 

Some ways you can help
support the online auctions from the crafting community
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Lifelines flood appeal http://floodappeal.com.au/
To donate to the Premier's flood appeal http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/
If you know more please let me know.

Continue to pray for my fellow Queenslanders.

Edited to add:
Please also keep in your prayers the people of northern NSW and Victoria who are also experienced flooding now too.  It makes you wonder where it will end?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A new day

Despite the stress and worry yesterday brought, I actually slept well last night. Unfortunately for others in the area, this wouldnt have been the case.

We are so thankful to be living on a hill in a suburb called Kallangur. North of us in Burpengary, Morayfield and Caboolture flooding has taken over. Just south of here in Strathpine and Lawnton they are cut off.  This is so hard to comprehend as these are the places where we live our daily lives.

My husband has been told not to come to work.. and he can't anyway as the highway is flooded and most of the train tracks from here are also under water.

Here are a few images that I have borrowed from a facebook pages where people are sharing their photos.

this is at the front of a shopping centre we go to regularly, almost went on Monday! This picture is looking out to the main road.. which is under water too

this is looking back at same shops...

the bridge we travel across everyday to kindy.. a few hundred metres from the kids school

a neighbourhood less than 10 minutes away

a shopping centre literally minutes from our house

and the rail bridge I went under every day to take my daughter to kindy... this bridge is usually REALLY high!!

A little town where a friend lives... she lives behind here and has been cut off with the two children. Her husband is unable to get back to them.

this is her property late yesterday... she is staying very positive


The CBD in Brisbane is still preparing for the worst of the flooding to hit. Last night they estimated 6500 houses would be affected, this morning it is up to 19500... devastating.

What amazes me is the number of people who continue to drive through swollen, closed roads!! and a friend who is a police officer in Brisbane commented how sick he was of people sticky beaking in a disaster area.. which makes his job so much harder as it puts them and him at risk... and he worked a 16 hour day yesterday. 

Please continue to pray for Queensland.  People are hurting so much.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A state of emergency...

Thank you everyone for your prayers.

Today has been a day of stress and worry and thankfulness and tears.

At the moment we are fortunate to be safe. Our suburb is on a hill between two suburbs that are underwater and cut off.

We have friends who have been evacuated and others who are separated from their husbands who are unable to make it home and are stranded halfway, due to flooded roads and rail lines.

The Lord Mayor said on the news that today is bad, tomorrow will be worse and Thursday will be devastating.  Pretty grim news. It will only get worse before it gets better.

The supermarket shelves are almost empty as everyone panics but we are together and we are safe and I bought milk, water and toilet paper yesterday - in bulk!
We have watched tv broadcasts about it all day, we have sat a nervously waited as one electrical storm after another rolled in. If you have ever experienced Brisbane's electrical storms you will know how frightening they can be.. and then they come one on top of the other.... terrifying.

When they closed the roads of the surrounding suburbs and people started posting pictures on facebook of our local malls, shops, parks and roads... thats when the tears came and the fear.  I quickly packed a few things we might need if evacuation might happen, without alerting the kids to my fear.

I have never experienced a natural disaster (apart from being in a tornado in the USA once- in a shelter fortunately) and this is huge, massive.. devastating.

We are going to sit down and watch a funny movie tonight because todays stress and worry is taking its toll.

My prayers and tears go out to those who have not been as fortunate as us, to those who have lost loved ones, their homes, cars and precious memories.

My heart breaks to hear about the children who have died in this disaster. It is something a mother imagines to be her worst nightmare. 

10 people have now been confirmed deceased, 22 since the floods started. 78 are now missing. Absolutely tragic.

To the amazing police, volunteers, SES and all those people who are doing an amazing job in a relentless situation, with little rest and so much dire need.

Please continue to pray for Queensland, the next few days are going to be very hard.

Update on Queensland flooding

Today is a terrifying day.  The rain just keeps coming down.
We have no phones, mobile services are down. Thankfully we have mobile broadband and power.
Friends in surrounding suburbs are being told to evacuate immediately.
A friend is stuck in her house with her two children and they are unable to get out. Not far away in the township water is lapping at the house rooves.  Her husband is at his parents because he cannot get back to her.
The banks of the Brisbane River have broken and water is flooding into the CBD.
Roads are closed everywhere.
I am very scared. I have packed some stuff in case we need to leave but hoping we won't because we live up a hill.

Please pray for the safety of Queenslanders today.

A heavy heart

This morning I have woken with a heavy heart.

Watching the events unfold yesterday in Toowoomba are nothing short of devastating and terrifying. 

The flooding in Queensland has now reached deadly proportions with 7 people confirmed dead from yesterdays 'inland tsunami' and many more missing. It is being described as the darkest hour of the flood crisis. It makes you wonder if it can get any worse.

My husband's Aunty and Uncle live in Toowoomba and we haven't been able to reach them to confirm they are safe. I pray today we will get good news.

Last night many people spent the night on the rooves of their houses because rescue teams were unable to reach them.

Today we have woken to the rumble of thunder and more heavy rain. It is relentless, unforgiving and still more is predicted to fall.

It is now predicted that the water is heading to the Brisbane CBD and although it isn't expected to be as serious as what has already been seen, its hard to know as noone expected yesterday's events to turn so tragic.

It is something you imagine happening elsewhere, not where you live. But we are safe at the moment and thankful for that.

Please pray for all the Queenslanders affected by this terrible crisis, for the SES workers and Police and others who are working around the clock and have been for weeks. Pray for the people who have been evacuated from their homes (some for the second or third time in a matter of weeks) and for those who have lost loved ones.

Also pray for Lori, a fellow mummy blogger who lost her husband yesterday. A terrible tragedy. She has two very small children.  Keep them in your prayers.

I wanted to write a positive post today but feel my heart is so heavy as I try to make sense of what is happening around me.

Some crafty Aussies have kick started an appeal to raise money ..
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head over to the site and see how you can help out.