Monday, May 26, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

Oh my gosh!  We are planning into June already?!?!?!  This year is almost halfway over and I feel like I've blinked and it's bypassed me already.  Menu plan may have some repeats as we had so many ill over the weekend with a tummy bug that we planned food still unused.

Week: May 29 - June 4, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014


The start of a new week dawns.  I'm enjoying one last coffee before bedtime (yes I know, it will probably keep me awake, but I neeeeeeded something for me) with a Scotch Finger biscuit.  Five minutes ago Miss A also helped herself to the buttery treat, insisting that I "open it" before handing her over the vertically broken fingers of biscuit. 

Hubby is on the couch.  Propped up with a few folded over blankets rather than the cushions which are strewn around the floor (evidence of a pillow fight during the earlier hours of the evening no doubt)  He has his iPad propped on his chest watching re-runs of The Pretender series. 

Miss A is perched on a small edge of the same couch her daddy is lounging on.  She is trying to stay awake by giving an animated narration of the Bubble Guppies she is trying to watch on Nick Junior.  The narration slows and stumbles as her eyes start to droop ever so slightly as time goes on.  She will be fast asleep and ready to be transferred into her bed within minutes.

Mr T is fast asleep, in his cot besides me.  Every now and then he moves.  Sometimes to but his nose (I think he may have a slight allergy) or to change sleeping sides.  Occasionally he pushes his head up into the air like a curious seal looking around his beach...  T, however doesn't open his eyes.  Just a big stretch, a sigh then snuggling back into his flannelette sheets and under his soft baby blankets. 

The other children are all fast asleep. 

Miss K has had a mini tantrum and refused to eat her dinner.  She has been asleep the longest. Her suitcase is packed ready for her to go to her weekly boarding home where we are getting intense assistance and guidance for her current situation.  She has packed her case roughly, I will need to repack and fold her garments before I go to bed and make sure nothing has been missed. 

Mr W and Mr D are also well into their journeys to the land of nod.  Mr W is curled up in a crescent shape in his bed with Princess Trixie scooched up in the hollow his body has created.  Miss Trixie has fast become a great companion for all the children.  Mr W and Mr D both have had time unwell this weekend.  Thankfully they have both bounced back super quickly and vibrantly.  Today there was no sign that they had even been unwell at all, instead they bounced around, teased and needled their way through the day... Lots of fun and laughs as they learn their boundaries with our newest family member.

Mr A has been unwell these last 24 hours.  Unfortunately a tummy bug has invaded our precarious borders and breached our immune systems.  Four out of six children have fallen victim so far... we are awaiting the final two to fall overnight.  So far Mr B and I have been able to dodge the nasty bullet... here's hoping we can continue to dodge it!  That said, we are both under the weather... exhaustion I believe would be the doctors diagnosis.  Aching, tired, sleepy and a bit more tired and a few more aches to finish us both of.  Pushing through hasn't been easy but one must when your children need reassurance and nursing through the winter lurgies.

So here I sit.  Typing.  My oversized, partly finished crochet afghan to one side, listening to the sounds of my family settling for the night.  Knowing that another full week is upon us.  We have several appointments from Tuesday right through to Friday which will prevent me from being home and feathering our nest.  Instead we will be on the road watching the clock trying in vain to make each appointment on time and appearing to be some kind of sane.  I'm soaking up a few hours of being alone.  No child pulling at my top or my arm or my leg or calling for attentions.  I'm enjoying the feeling that I recognise from long ago of relaxing... a slight tingle that is creeping up my body from my toes and fingertips.  It's a novel experience to be feeling calm and having these sensations... it's been so long since I have been relaxed.  I know it wont last for ling... but I can still remember it and recognise it... hopefully it is something that will come by more often. 

So I sit.

I listen.

I feel.

I relax.

For the first time in such a long time... 



Friday, May 23, 2014

Winner Winner...

ummmm... not really a winner so no chicken dinners here BUT I did win, well... My image was selected to be a part of the Fat Mum Slim (facebook) Photo a Day inspiration group :D 

I've been participating in the Photo A Day projects for the last few years but this year I'm being what could be described as "successful" in that every month I have participated I have had an image selected for their "Fab Four" or daily inspiration group :)  It's not necessarily winning, but meaning your photo has stood out to the admin team for merit.  The reward for being selected is a pat on the back and knowing that your work is liked and appreciated. 

So the theme was "Alone"  And this is my image...

{ alone }

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Menu Planning Monday (take 2)

I found my planner - yay!!!!  :D

Week: May 15-21, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Menu Planning Monday


I've done my menu plan on paper... double checked it, approved it, found all the recipes, did my grocery list....



I know, it's definitely a first world problem, 
but if anyone knows where my diary might be hiding please let me know where it might be :/

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Another Day... Another... hmmm... 50c?

So this weekend was declared "reclaim the house weekend" 

Everyone had set tasks and mostly performed them without too much fuss - I know, I know!  Knock me over with a feather!!!! I think the fact any coins that were found became the property of the finder and bribes of chemical laden fizzy drinks and greasy BBQs at the park were offered ;)  LOL

The house hasn't been fully reclaimed, but we are well on the way.  And a sum total of 50c has been located and claimed in the process.

So, I guess I should state the reason for this action all of a sudden?


here she is....

Princess Trixie-Belle 
is joining our family 
Thursday afternoon :)

She is a Maltese cross Shi-tzu puppy and was selected with the plan to be a companion dog to our German Shepherd-X which we sadly no longer have.  So instead she will have every-ones attention and spoilings for herself :)  We are so excited to have a canine family member again!!! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Budget 2014... What a crock!!!

4 Years ago we moved to SA from Tasmania to make our life better. I gave up a well paid government job to allow my husband his opportunity to fly and became a SAHM (stay at home mum). Unfortunately, after 18 months his position was dissolved, this all happened 1 week after our youngest daughter was born. We were not aware at the time that she was going to be extremely unwell, a very sick little girl indeed. We are now raising 6 children, 5 with additional needs, most were not foreseeable until they were well into their school years and not predictable - autism, severe and rare allergy, immune and gastro related.   I don't usually talk openly about our finances and the struggles we have to make ends meet, but last nights budget has been feeling I need to share our story. 

My husbands and my income combined is $36k/yr.  This is INCLUDING centrelink payments and allowances. Things are tight.  We get by with strict budgeting, menu planning and forgoing lifes little luxuries in order to give our children the best life possible.  We don't drink, or smoke... we don't party, go out for movies or meals or buy takeaway... even if we wanted to it just can't work like that on our budget...  The last time my husband and I went out was almost 6 years ago when we were both working back in Tasmania!!!

Budget 2014...
cutting the value in our domestic dollars by not adjusting
welfare and family support in line with the GDP or cost of living

We are apparently going to be losing around $2000 according to one of the newspapers ready reckoner and that is NOT including our childrens multiple medical appointments, medications and fuel to take them to their appointments (many being a 1000km round trip to the major cities) Yes, we are sooooooo feeling the love - NOT!

So I thought I should try and break down exactly what we are losing, what we are gaining (if anything) and try to quell the rising panic that is infiltrating us from the general community.

~ ~ ~

Previously the Family Tax Benefit B extended to families with children under 18; that will now be cut off for families where the youngest child is six or older.  This effects 3 of our children, 4 in October when Mr D turns 6 years old.  We will now have a reduction of FTB which is paid to us fortnightly and reckoned at the end of the financial year.

All family benefits will also remain on hold until either 2016 or 2017, resulting in a loss of income in real terms, as it will no longer take into account increases in inflation. So the cost of living will increase, but the government benefits wont.  Meaning we will be living with increased expenses and having to simply tighten the belts even further as the value in our domestic dollar decreases :/

Families will also be hit by increases in the petrol excise – which will now be indexed to inflation every six months.  The estimate I have seen floating around is a minimum increase of 1c/ltr per year minumum.  Considering we have several trips into town for medical appointments, and then trips to Adelaide and Melbourne (which are 1000km round trips) this small increase which really does sound tiny is going to end up biting us hard at the bowser.

Families will be negatively affected by the introduction of a GP co-payment of $7 ($5 of which the Government will take), for the first 10 visits to the GP per year ($70). After 10 visits patients with concession cards and children under 16 will be exempt from the fee.
Ok, yes, we have a low income healthcare card.  Unfortunately doctors don't consider this to be a concession card - that is only reserved for pension cards.  So My husband and myself will be paying the current gap in payments to see the doctor as well as an additional $7.  This means for us to see a doctor it will be $22 up front for the shortest appointment.  Should the appointment be deemed a longer one these fees increase.  Our eldest son will also be paying this as of June when he turns 16 years of age. As for the children covered by an "amnesty" after 10 visits... it still means if we all get sick, it is $7 EACH to see the dr.  We all get a virus, but need it checked, lets say after Mr A's birthday it will be $66 for the "grown ups" and then $35 for the children to be seen and checked.  So in total $101 for us all to walk through the medical centres doors for a virus.  Should it be anything that required medications then it will be another deeper dig into our pockets.  I don't know if it is a good or a bad thing that Miss A will reach the 10 visit limit without too much of an issue as such...  but it's going to be difficult to find an additional $70 per child and stow it away just in case they need to see a doctor in the future - this is on top of private health insurance and years of paying taxes, medicare levys etc etc etc....

Hospitals will also be allowed to charge for visits to emergency rooms by patients with ailments that only require a visit to a GP. So, you get sick here on a weekend and the doctor surgery isn't open and we are instructed to go to the hospital... we now have to pay.  you go to the hospital thinking you are having a heart attack but it's only indigestion? leave your co-payment at the door before you leave...  We take Miss A into hospital with bleeding from the bowel which the hospital here deem as not an emergency and voila, we are stuck with a bill for treatment for something that other hospitals and doctors have advised us must be attended to at a hospital.  It really makes one think twice about getting medical assistance, especially if the budgets are tight enough that that co-payment isn't sitting there in the wallet "just in case"

Medicines on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme will also be more expensive, with patients paying a $5 fee – or 80 cents for those on concession cards.  This is on top of the added costs to see the doctor in the first place :/

And then something that concerns us for the future, is the fact universities are no longer receiving certain fundings and can set their own fees now in order to recoup the lost financial backing from the government.  With 3 children looking to further education, one about to commence his journey into the final years at high school and planning a university education this is really scary.  There aren't any real facts about this at this stage as no one knows what fees and courses will be effected, or what this will mean for university placements.  HECS is also changing with higher interest and re-paying with an lower repayment threshold. 
I know there are other things that will apparently effect us, but are in the small print.  Things like the axing of the school bonus payments and cost cutting in regards to disability funding and services.
~ ~ ~

I'm trying to find a silver lining.  There is no way that I can leave my children to go out and work full time. I am however trying to start my own photography business so I can work around my husbands work and our childrens appointments. My husband has been looking around for another full time job in a regional town where employment is on the downturn and moving is not an option due to our teenage daughters mental illness and her psychologist claiming she is at risk with another move, even if it is to search of suitable employment. Basically, we are struggling, and really are trying to be positive and look for other options. Without our strict budget, no luxuries other than the internet and mobile phones (which are necessary as we need to maintain contact with out support networks, family back in Tasmania and for our researching options and possible breakthroughs and diagnosis in our childrens health) menu planning and layering appointments to save on fuel and time we would not be able to survive as it is... to take further cuts and increase expenses with our appointments and medications is going to really push up to the wall...

So budget 2014.. this is our "breakdown", it doesn't cover everything but it does look like we will be negatively effected.  We are not the "average" family by any means, but we are a family who are hurting and who are raising 6 beautiful members of the community. 6 Future voters. 6 Children who still need nurturing, education and decent healthcare... 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Menu Plan Monday :)

Ok, Ok.. Yes I know it is Tuesday...  but hey, I got there in the end ;)

Week: May 15-21, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Trying not to let it hurt....

I know she is unwell, I know at the very least her brain is wired differently to most...

But to be wished "horrible Mothers Day Mum" has seen a few tears be shed.  I'd rather they all forgot than to hear my daughter wish me this... 

Happy Mothers Day 2014 to me....

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Sitting here, typing... Have a 2 year old screaming "blue dummy, I want my blue dummy" over and over in a pitch that should burst ear drums.  Jumping, bouncing the floor boards in an attempt to get attention.  1 year old standing in his heavy, oversized cast feet at the side of the bed with eyes wide open watching his sister have a 2 year old tantrum whilst also trying to pat mummys leg trying to get some attention... hinting that if the pats don't work 4 perfectly white teeth will soon be sunk into the flesh of mummys thigh.  Miss 14 year old is just outside the door, stomping around, screaming that we are unfair, that she does everything and she can't wait to get out of this family or run away again, or wishes she was dead... all whilst Mr 5 and Mr 13 are trying to watch a movie.  Mr 14 should be washing up but he is refusing to on the grounds that Miss 14 isn't going out and helping... Mr 5 is in his own world... oblivious to the scene going on around him.  Me... I'm crumbling.  I don't know what more to do to get this family thing happening.  I"m touched out, screamed out, pushed out...  My walls of stubborn good motherhood are crumbling and I can feel myself become bruised and hurt that our family are not "normal"  I can feel the walls disintergrate and the black cloud of depression is starting to seep in...  I have no energy to fight it.  I'm exhausted, mentally and physically...

Husband and Mr 15 will be home from work soon so I need to re-adjust the mask and try to smile on.  Dinner preparations will begin soon.  Miss 2 has just fallen asleep beside me.  At least that is one screaming child quiet.  Miss 14 has fallen quiet too.. No doubt thinking that I haven't responded that she has got away with yet another blackmailing tantrum from her....  Mr 1 will need feeding soon, yes he is past 12 months and still breastfed... just another thing the great big world judges without knowing the full story :/  Just another weight at times that is tied around my feet as I struggle from drowning in what is our family....

I often wonder where we would be without the kids... Would I have finished uni, would we have traveled?  would we even still be together?  But as much as I am drowning and struggling to cope I can't imagine my life any other way.  I'm miserable, I'm physically and mentally exhausted, drained, I'm lacking in sleep, I'm struggling, I'm edging on depression - again.... as much as I'd give anything for some semblance of a normal life, I know this is it for me, and that there are reasons that we have been given these 6 little challenges...  We just have to find the strength to go on.  I'm praying that some sleep tonight will make the world look a little brighter in the morning...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

~ In search of a money tree ~

Oh so tired.



On the edge...

Yesterday took it's toll. 6 appointments in one day and a grocery shop to boot.  We thought getting all the appointments done at once would make sense, it did, but... There was a price to be paid.  The invoices for that started rolling in during the afternoon as the full on day pulled Mr D into "Meltdown Town". 


During our paed appointment for Mr D he had an initial assessment for being on the autism spectrum.  The paed isn't accredited in SA for diagnosis but is very experienced and would be able to diagnose in other states.  So as she wasn't accredited she couldn't state a full diagnosis, what she could say was that he has many indicators and mannerisms which point towards a diagnosis of autism and that we should prepare for a diagnosis.  She wants him assessed and formally diagnosed ASAP so we can plug into support and therapy for both him, the family and for school.  So we are now on the hunt for a money tree.  Public wait times for assessments are in excess of 12 months here (the public system only allocated 8 assessments PER YEAR in the Lower SE of SA where we live!!! how ridiculous is that?!?!?!) and even private will be a 3-6 month wait time.  So now on top of everyday family expenses we now need to try and raise $1500 minimum to pay outright for assessments so we can get our boy some help to deal with life and reach his maximum potential.  

So anyone with a money tree that grows legitimate Australian dollars please take a cutting for me so I can try and get our own happening.  This is the last thing we really needed to be facing, as much as we knew we were heading down the assessment route we didn't think he was so bad that he needed a diagnosis ASAP.  I mean, yes, he is bad, he is not coping but I think we were fooling ourselves with how we we
(and Mr D) were all coping.

Lots of phone calls and reading to be done.  With changes in funding we need to work out what we are looking at and where we are headed.  Up until now I've been playing "ostrich" and trying to ignore all references to NDIS etc but we now have to start learning, accepting and fighting for the best for Little D. 

I'm confused.

I'm tired.

I'm ready for a break...

But I'm determined and wont give up on any of our kidlets xxx

Monday, May 5, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

Our menu plans run Thursday to Wed based on our shopping routines. 

Week: May 8-14, 2014

~ Home ~

Standing outside, snapping photos of Mr T walking in his casts and breathing in the damp air perfumed with woodsmoke.  It dawns on me that no matter what the future holds that we love this little town where we live at the moment. 

The locals complain about the weather but for us it is super mild.  Very few winter frosts, lots of rain in the winter and when changing seasons. It does get super hot (well for us soft Taswegians) in summer, but we have air con for surviving that ;)

~ Our Children, Our Town ~
January 3, 2014
This is a tiny town of around 200 residents, give or take a few as jobs change and others realise they can't handle the "remoteness" of living 30kms from shops, delis, etc... We are on the highway, smack bang in the middle of a pine plantation - which incidentally is giving my allergies grief as they harvest a parcel of trees around us.  It's a "blink and you'll miss it" kind of place.  We have a wonderful primary school, a petrol station (which is closing in June unless they can find a new leaseholder) and a small family run deli (also on the market) which stocks basics, a few alcoholic bevvies and the local paper.  The post office is quaint (and like the other services in the area, also for sale!!).  There is no mail delivery here so everyone rocks up for a chat each day (or couple of days if we are being lazy) and to collect our mail from the post mistress.  It's basic, it's kinda remote, it's quiet and it suits us to the ground!

Our house is by no means a palace, but it is big enough for our family of 8, and functional.  At the moment the dishwasher has died and taps are dripping (some not working) but it is dry, warm and we have a roof over our heads, solid floor under our feet and more - trust me, we have been in much much MUCH worse!!!  One day we hope to purchase this property and really become a full time resident here!  Long range plans that we hope will become short term targets very very soon :) 

Defying predictions he can't walk in his bi-lateral foot casts.
May 5, 2014
So I am here, clicking away with my camera... 

Listening to the galahs, black cockatoos and rosellas all singing their songs as the sun starts to create a misty steam rise from the damp earth and I realise that we are home.  This is home.  I love the quiet, I love this town, I love this house...  I love that this is where we have ended up :) I hope and pray that in many many years to come we will still stand on the front deck, listening to the trees drip the excess water off their leaves from the overnight rains, smelling the wood smoke perfumed air and listening to the screech of the parrots who colour up the trees in our front yard...  We hope and pray that this little town will accept us and that we can finally start putting down roots and settling our family :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The New "us"

I've had a few blogs.  Moderately successful in the form of "self therapy" I guess if I could coin the phrase ;)  But yesterday my eldest son messaged me asking me to remove all references of him as kids at school had googled his name and discovered I had mentioned he had Aspergers Syndrome on there and he was afraid of the repercussions.  So rather than remove him I chose to remove the blog from online publication. 

The truth be told, I was kinda looking for an excuse to close the old one off as well.  I didn't fell it represented us any more.  It was "Little Tassie Terrors"  We are no longer living in Tasmania, and 1/4 of our family is now 100% South Australian, and another member is 4/5ths... so it was really time for a change. 

So this is a new us.  We are trying to embrace that we are not fully linked back to Tasmania any longer.  We have uprooted ourselves and are pushing forward with building a new life and raising our family in another state, thousands of kilometers away from our family.  We are forging ahead, alone and working hard to stay united and strong. 

So this will be our online home for the time being.  It will be my new "self therapy" and a place we can record the trials and the triumphs of our lives.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Simple Life

I don't really know what it is, or if my personal definition is correct.  I don't know how we are ever going to achieve it, but I know that I want it. 

I picture days of no to little stress.  I see blue skies with fluffy white clouds.  I picture bliss...  pure bliss.  I think that's it.. bliss and relaxation.  No worries...  It's a pie in the sky thing to be chasing, but I can dream eh...  Dreaming is not yet illegal in this country right? ;) 

Simple to me is home-cooked meals made from scratch, veggies from our own garden, snuggling in front of the fire in hand crochet or knitted afgahns.  Simple is family. Simple is having enough to be comfortable.  Simple is happy. Simple is love.

So this is what I am aiming for.  Our life is one complicated mess, a mess I want to somehow simplify and straighten out.  I want to be happy, calm, rational and centered.