Thursday, 9 August 2012

Don't just face the music, dance to it.

A recent study says that telling the truth is good for you. The researchers asked half the participants to not tell lies and the other half were able to tell lies. When people had to tell the truth they reported better physical and mental health. The study also said that Americans tell on average 11 lies a week. That actually seems like a lot to me! How many lies do you tell a week? If adults are telling 11 lies, it doesn’t surprise me then that we catch our kids out on the odd lie.
I tried to count up 11 lies in the past week and I honestly couldn't think of one. Am I honest or have I just learnt to be more skillfull at telling a version of the truth, which is what the participants in the study reported they did.
 “The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “it is a beautiful and terrible thing, and therefore should be treated with caution…”
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
I have always been one for fessing up if I get caught out on a lie. A very smart friend recently gave me some great advice,

                 Don't just face the music, Dance to it.

In the spirit on honesty, when I accidentaly used plain flour in this recipe today, I didn't say it was Banana Damper. I called it:

(Flat) Banana Bread
1 1/2 cups of self raising flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 free range eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 tbs melted butter
2 ripe banana's, mashed

Mix flour and sugar in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk eggs. Stir in mashed banana, milk and butter. Mix into the dry ingredients until just combined. Spoon into a lined loaf pan and bake @ 180 degrees, for around 40 minutes.

Holly Treechange XO

Sunday, 29 July 2012

I love books

I wish I had more time to do this.

But since I seem to be doing this 5-6 days a week...
Well, not actually sitting on books 
but hours of book related library busy-ness:
My play time is much much less.

I am very happy. I love love my job.
But I think I need one of these fairy thingies... 
to do some housework and grocery shopping.

I am in children's literature mode. Probably why I was drawn to those whimsical images...
Next project is Book Week. Our theme - Champions: Royal and Rotten!
This will give us lots of scope to include lots of Princesses and Pirates. With dressing up included!

Y Cate

Thursday, 26 July 2012

treading this way ...

This image is a a fairly apt representation of how I'm feeling about my life at the moment.
Not the smoothest path, nevertheless beautiful.
Can't quite see the end - and how I love to know what's going to happen! - but this period of my life is surrounded by beauty.

My life is filled with fabulous friends, vibrant colleagues, loving and supportive family, a terrific job - perhaps you remember I was particularly wanting that back here, and I'm feeling especially grateful. It seems to be panning out nicely. Now where's some wood to knock on?!

Y Cate

Sunday, 15 July 2012

A beautiful collection of rubbish

Interests, collections, fads... Call them what you want, kids love it. They all have something they like to collect or become an expert in. We have been through Star Wars, Mighty Beanz and recently Trashies which was lightning fast phase, but loved no less passionately. Mr Treechange was particularly glad when Trashies passed, seeing no point at all in spending hard earned money literally on rubbish. I even suspect he helped the passing of that collection phase, bringing home Ninjago.

I love learning about what kids are into. Ask a child what they like to collect and their face lights up. A child who may be behind in spelling or not yet able to ride a bike forgets all those things when they are able to show you they are an expert in something. I use kids interests areas to my benefit all the time. I ask my son to tell me all about who his favorite footy player is while he unpacks the dishwasher. Or a while ago after a nasty fall from a tree Master Treechange had 7 stitches (yes, how retro a fall from a tree! Not an inury from the Wii) and I distracted him by talking all about the latest movie he had watched and was into.

Apart from distraction, interest areas can be great for helping children learn. I have previously blogged about using Tigger to help children learn about when is the right time to bounce for a child who may a little "bouncy" (see, isn't that better than saying hyperactive!). This works well with anything a child is interested in and can relate to. Boys love cars. Using the speed of a car as an analogy for when to calm down or when to do some alerting activities, can be really useful. Talking to a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine about what makes a Really Useful Engine can be a completely different conversation than if you were to lecture about hand washing. This works for teenagers too. It's very hard to get a teenager away from the mobile or lap top, but if they do make eye contact with you don't blow your chance with a lecture about getting ready for school in the morning. Talk to them about how it must be hard to feel like a vampire and be nocturnal, and what could they do to be more like a werewolf who can cope during the day (Twlight fans will get it).

Maybe if Aeriel's dad had taken an interest in her collection instead of banning her from talking to humans things would have gone a little differently. She was just a
                                  Bright young woman,
                                  Sick of swimming,
                                  Ready to stand tall....

What are your kids into at the moment? I'd love to hear how you have made your children's interests work for you.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

to baby with love x

A craft book review YCate

To Baby with Love
35 gorgeous gifts to make for babies and toddlers
by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell

One of the major perks of my job is the hundreds of beautiful books that pass through my hands. 
"To Baby with Love" is gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.

I want to make nearly EVERYTHING from this book. Mostly though it's a toss up between the yo-yo nursery decoration, the plump wise owl door stop or the wash cloths bound with vintage fabric.

Hope your day is filled with some beauty therapy too x 

Y Cate

p.s. If you HAVE to have it - find it here.
Otherwise visit your local library Y

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Cloud dreaming

“This is how Piglet and Pooh came to be lying on their backs, looking at the sky. And from this angle they were finally able to see some clouds coming into view.”

I love Tigger’s enthusiasm, even if he does knock everyone over. It’s funny how just the one word of describing him as “enthusiastic” changes how I see him. Imagine if I called him “hyperactive” or “inconsiderate”.

I think the way we describe children’s behaviour is really important. Not only does it help in the relationship with the child to see them more positively, but it gives an understanding of the cause of the behaviour as well as the way to change the behaviour. How do you stop Tigger from bouncing? You can’t, but you do listen out for the boing noise!

I think using the Tigger analogy can be helpful for children to understand their own behaviour. You can brainstorm with your Tigger all the ways to stop a Tigger from bouncing and knocking people over. You might come up with the idea that Tigger needs to learn the right time and place to Bounce. Who he could bounce around - Little Roo loves to bounce, but not Rabbit. Giving children strategies for when they feel bouncy can be useful in helping them to calm. One strategy to stop bouncing is weighted therapy. Having something heavy on a child’s lap or even shoulders, like a heat pack, or heavy book can be very calming and centring. Another useful strategy for children who fidget with their fingers or chew their nails is talking about their “busy fingers” and giving their fingers something to do like play with blu-tac, magnets or rocks in their pocket. I bet Tigger would love some blu-tac to fidget with while he waited for the next appropriate time to bounce!

Not all kids are into characters from the 100 Acre Woods, so while it is a good starting point, explore character’s from your own children’s area of interest. Next time I will talk more about analogies. How would you describe your child? McQueen? Belle? Po? 

A recipe for the school holidays to make with the kids, while you talk about Tigger and how to help him with his bouncy- Honey Joys are so easy to make I think even Tigger could manage to make these for his friend Pooh Bear.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Beautiful dreamer

Asperger’s was first recognised in late 1930’s in Vienna, by paediatrician Hans Asperger. He noticed similarities in a number children with developmental challenges and documented these. 

Now this could be another boring story of another expert on a leather couch, but Hans was living in challenging times- in late 1930’s Vienna was just about to be overtaken by the German Nazi’s. Hans knew that if he called this pattern of behaviour a disability then these children would be killed by the Nazis. So he identified the challenges of the children, but also documented these children’s stunning abilities, particularly with numbers and codes. He identified that these children would make great code breakers and the Nazis did in fact use these children to assist them in code breaking (as did England at the time).

It’s an amazing and inspiring story, one that made me cry for all the children who weren’t seen for their strengths, and then cry some more tears of joy for all the children with Asperger’s who were seen for their strengths. 

It made me think: What strength would you see in your children if their life depended on it? Do you:                           

See the Strength in your Jedi,
the Speed in your McQueen, 
the Beautiful Dreamer in your Belle 
and the Enthusiasm in your Tigger?

So go enjoy a Vienna Coffee and listen to this amazing ABC interview with Tony Attwood where he discusses the above story and other wonderful positives about kids.

Holly Treechange

Friday, 22 June 2012

flower for the library princess

I psyched myself up for work today...
A cup of fluffy coffee (you may call it cappuccino) with my school-Mummy friends before heading off helped.

You may or may not know I work in libraries.
I may or may not personally relate to this quote:

"But you want murderous feelings? Hang around librarians," confided Gamache. "All that silence. Gives them ideas.” 
Louise Penny, A Rule Against Murder

I was saved from my work-induced-funk by a miniature prince. A little boy came up to me in the Picture Book section and held out a bruised camellia that he'd been cuddling with both hands. Precious, precious, precious.
He'd picked it just for me Y.

So today I turned into the library princess under the spell of a kind hearted boy. Or to use Holly's terminology: He facilitated my beautiful paradigm shift. 


coffee bean heart
bruised camellia 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

find your own answer

A children's book review Cate

What Kind of Fairy Is Merry Berry?

by Lindsey Renee

No dust settles on this little book. It doesn't even sit on the shelf at the library. No sooner is it returned then it is borrowed again by a little sparkly, fairy loving reader.

Aimed at Pre-Prep to Year 2 this fairy book ticks all the rights boxes. Rainbows. Glittery pages. Pink. Purple. Pink. And special instructions on becoming a fairy.

Under the glitter is an empowering message. Don't look for others to fix your world. Look to what you love and find your OWN answer. Very magical!

Y Cate

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

beautiful things

Beautiful things from today...

A blushing pear from the fruit shop and a 
camellia from my friend's garden.

A visit from a gorgeous friend.
And beautiful snuggle pyjama cuddles 
from my Little Bear.

What was beautiful in your day?

Y Cate

Hugging fingers Image credit: <a href='

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

live what you love

My little brother is 17 years younger than me. He was 12 days old at my high school graduation. I wish you could tell just by my simply typed words how much I love him.

Recently he was contemplating a career change. At 22 he had a secure job that paid decently, more responsibility than your average young adult and opportunities for advancement within the company.

Yet he wanted more. When he came to me his trusted big sister, I wanted to say: Don't! You have safety. You have security. You have something GOOD. But I didn't. I bit my tongue. I said: Go for it.

He did go for it. He has an AMAZING new job doing what he's AMAZINGLY good at. His job involves world renowned chocolate too so there are possibly some perks in it for me. And he's well on his way to living his dream - with a decent amount of hard work thrown in. I am so proud of him.

I am also reminded by my (now big) little brother - that living what you love is where it's at. I'm baby stepping my way there.

My co-conspirator Holly (of the awesome parenting tip posts) and I have BIG dreams. And beautiful dreams. And we're ready to make them start happening. Keep reading. Follow along. And live your beautiful dreams too.

Much Y Cate

Saturday, 16 June 2012

beautiful failure

I have tried a lot of Apricot Slice recipes now. I’m trying to replicate that apricot slice from childhood, you know the one? It’s just perfect in my mind but nothing comes up to scratch. Well, tonight I tried to change a pineapple slice into apricot slice and it was definitely a fail. The kids didn’t mind, pour custard over anything and it tastes ok. But I knew. 

But as the Robinson’s say:  “Keep moving forward!” 

It’s important to talk to kids about failing, and sometimes check in and see what they are afraid of. As with all problems, the best answer can be a question: 

“What’s the worst that can happen?” 

Not a rhetorical question, but truly step out with your kids what could happen, and what is the worst. Then find the humour. So for example my little tree was recently worried about a test at school. So we talked about some of the terrible possibilities. He could not do well, do badly or even worse be so worried about it he would forget to get dressed and go to school in pyjamas!

(I find if the humour brings anything to do with toilets, it works especially well.) Then we look at the chance of that happening. Getting the calculator can always help out, you can’t argue with the facts. 

It doesn’t always work. The little tree survived the tests at school but came home from sports day upset. He hadn’t done as well as he had thought he would. I got straight into what’s the worst that could have happened and dealing with his thoughts, I forgot the biggest thing. To just be with him and have a cry and say that it does suck... Because sometimes no matter how much custard you pour on top of the apricot slice, it still sucks.  

I love this photo, it reminds me that sometimes,
 failure can be beautiful. 

Feel free to share your best failure or that hidden apricot slice recipe I am seeking.

Holly Treechange

Thursday, 14 June 2012

love potion

It's nearly a year since we've moved into a lovely home. New house, a new community, new school, new jobs: and still I don't have the 'at home' feeling.

I haven't planted anything yet. Mr Blossom faithfully mows the weeds lawn but we have no gardens. Have I mentioned we live somewhere referred to as the Garden City of Queensland? Hmm, well I thought buying a plant might help us fit in and speed up the belonging feeling.

Hence the beautiful rose sitting on my back deck waiting to be planted. She's called Love Potion and I have acquired her as much for her divine scent as her glorious mauvey-pinkness.

This little jug stuffed with daisies is my other acquisition. The view in the background is from our deck. The large tree is a Ghost Gum and is home to a pair of beautiful parrots. We watch wallabies and kangaroos bound through that grass and tiny wrens twitter to us from the dark green scrub.

My pink flowery beauty therapy is working it's magic and with fresh eyes, I know I'm lucky to be calling this home.

Y Cate

Thursday, 7 June 2012

blissfully blue

My pretty blue finds from today.

Feeling a little blue this morning and just impressed that I'd managed some essential grocery shopping and lugged it inside -such an effort! I was sitting at home and feeling so uninspired. Entirely lacking sparkle I couldn't think of a single thing I wanted to create, work on or blog about.

One fabulous text later I was on my way to have coffee with a pair of lovely women. Thank you friends you made my day!

We met for coffee in a lovely spot and explored the nearby shops. 

I love my new linen and blue-dyed lace pincushion. Found here.

My blue pearl beads and stamp are destined for some future creative beauty therapy. I am thinking a looong necklace with an embroidered blue felt pendant. 
And the stamp... well I couldn't leave it behind.

I have made some significant progress on my cowl since posting about it here. Loving sitting in the evenings and click-clacking away, so beautifully therapeutic.

My blues beaten by time spent with friends, a little beauty therapy. The creative inspired sparkle has returned.

Y Cate 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Chai Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Find the recipe for Chai Chocolate Chunk Cookies here.

I love the decadent delicious recipes on Valentina's blog - perfect for chasing away those Monday blues.

Y Cate

Thursday, 31 May 2012

a necklace named Sofiá

Do you ever name pieces born out of your creative efforts? I love words and finding just the right name to fit something is an enjoyable part of the creative process for me.

Meet Sofiá. A necklace made from hand-carved wooden beads,  threaded on a lustrous golden brown ribbon with white stitched detail. The ribbon is knotted between each bead. 

My favourite element of Sofiá is the finished ends. Each end of the ribbon is rolled and hand stitched with a brass charm: 

Queen Nefertiti on one end...

and a disk with concentric circles on the other.

You can peek at more of my necklaces here.
And too see more beauty therapy in action pop over here for a visit.


Friday, 25 May 2012

beautiful blue ball of yarn

I have pulled a beautiful blue ball of yarn from my stash. It is a soft warm denim coloured blend of aplaca and wool from the Bendigo Woollen Mills. Australia no longer rides on the sheep's back [do you remember that saying?] but we certainly still make amazing first class yarn.

I have cast on to circular needles and have made some fair progress on my cowl. I am writing up the pattern as I go so I can share it if it works out. Y

The little raspberry scrap of knotted yarn is my marker. I get a little excited every time I work my way around and it comes in to view. [yay - another 289 stitches completed!]

I am working an all-over simple seed stitch pattern and I'm really happy with how it's turning out. It almost gives it a spotted appearance.

This beauty therapy is so soft and warm and gorgeous. It's like the comfort food of knitting. Autumn is already a little chilly so I'm industriously click-clacking away to finish in time for winter.

Y Cate

Sunday, 20 May 2012

perfect banana oat muffins

I baked for breakfast this morning and due to the success of my delicious Banana Oat Muffins I am a very popular Mummy!

recipe below

Thursday, 17 May 2012

ok goodish good

ok - goodish - good are my current descriptors.
3 little words that I use to describe my photos [ok], my mood [good], the health of my children [ok], the state of my home [goodish], last night's chicken soup [good].

I have left out hellish and fantastic. Descriptors belonging on opposite ends of the scale. Words I would need to use if I was describing work or lovely Chocolate Cottage cappuccinos with a praline chocolate on the side. 

I have been indulging in a decent amount of beauty therapy at the moment. The the kind that requires the softest wool in graduating shades of blossom pink to raspberry to plum.

It's the kind of therapy that lifts me from my work induced [hellish] mood to that of a more serene-happy-mummy [good] mood.

I am using Attic 24's simple Teeny Tiny Flowers pattern to crochet a multitude of happy daisies and then stitching them together. I am envisioning a pretty scarf with lovely loooong woolly tassels at the ends. It's not the first time I've used this pattern with beautiful results.

Y Cate

p.s. I'm working on the work thing. Aiming for good.