Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Donuts on a string...

December...a time of so much fun and so much weariness.

The school boys are tired after a long year at school, kinder boys are gearing up for Christmas concerts, Michael is busy with work and house building and I'm trying to keep life as simple as possible and not get caught up in the stress of the "silly season". 

We have all been a little on edge which is not where I like us to be as a family.

So, I decided to have a little fun with everyone this afternoon.  I purchased some (junky) cinnamon donuts and tied up them up with some string to the clothes line. 

The boys were intrigued as to why I would do such a thing.

I explained that with their hands behind their backs they would each have 1 minute to eat as much donut as possible!

Now, this could be done all at once as a competition, however my boys are competitive enough and I really just wanted them to have fun.  So we let them go one at a time. 

It was such a laugh.

Perfect way to have some fun and the boys got a treat for afternoon tea. 

I find that when we are all feeling off track, and there's tears and tantrums, it's really important to reconnect as a family.  Inject some fun and enjoy the lighter side of life even if it's just for a moment.

As mothers (and fathers) we often set the tone for the home. It's so easy to get caught in a state of complaining about our children's behaviour, wondering why it seems like everything is falling apart. When this happens I find it so important to take a step back and work out what behaviours we need to recognise in ourselves, rather than always blaming our children for their misbehaviours and bad attitudes.

I have found time and time again, that this inward reflection and shift in our own attitude changes the whole dynamic of the family for the better.  As hard as it can be sometimes, all change must start with ourselves.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gooram Falls...

So I felt like we all needed a little local adventure.  To get out in nature and away from screens. 

The sun was shining and it was a beautiful afternoon...

Poor Jayden and Dylan had fallen asleep in the car before we wasn't far away but they were tired after a late night at the primary school bushdance the night before...

The walk in was beautiful...we started in the bottom car park which meant about a 400m walk through the bush to get to the falls...

We were so close to the falls when Ethan, who was walking just in front of me pointed to the ground calmly and said "snake"...

There to the right of us, about half a metre away was a brown snake wriggling around.  I panicked and half picked Ethan up, half pushed him along to get up ahead to Michael, Dylan and Jayden. 

Michael said he has never seen me look like that before...I told him that look was called fear...

I was shaking like a leaf and my legs were like jelly.  I may live in the country now, but that is only the 4th snake I've seen in my life and never so close before...

It was then I realised that although our walk was a great idea, we really weren't prepared for any accidents.  No snake or first aid kit in the car.  Lesson learnt in a really scary but luckily harmless way...

I was shaken up after that knowing we had to walk back the same way to get back to the car...

The boys were so calm about it though...Louis (who was at a friends house) asked me later if I took a photo of the snake...the answer to that question would be NO! haha.

It was absolutely beautiful there though...

We will visit again with Louis, in winter (no snakes, more water)

Oh...and we did have another brush with a little more pleasant wildlife on the way back...a gorgeous little echidna doing his best to hide from us...echidnas would have to be one of my favourite animals, they are just so cute! 

Progress at Homegrown Farm...

It's all starting to happen!  It feels quite surreal actually.  Very exciting times!

First we received our building permit...I can't even begin to tell you how excited we were about that!

The beginning of our house paddock...

The boys and I had a visit to see how it was coming along...

Enjoying the view...

and the sunshine...

Our big fat mooies before heading off to market...I do struggle being a vegetarian with cows but that's another blog post...

Jumping forward...the boys got to have a turn of the big toys...

Boys and dirt piles just go hand in hand...

I've just been realising how many photos of Ethan I have put up, I think it's because he's usually the only one that will pose for

We sold our 8 cows and replaced them with 12 steers...

Breaking ground on the house...drilling stump holes

Michael and his Dad have been working so hard every weekend and any spare moment...

Last weekend we had a bit of a crew of volunteers to help out with the next set of stumps...certainly made that round a little easier!

 Michael and his Uncle making sure it's all as it should be...

The boys had a great view watching all of the work...notice how everything has dried out now that summer is on it's's happened so quickly!

It's so exciting to watch it all unfolding.  We are still such a long way off living up there, but to see it all being built, one step at a time with our own hands is really amazing. 

This is my first link up with Essentially Jess because IBOT!

Friday, November 22, 2013


My family is my everything...I have spent many an hour researching, reading, learning about what goes into a close and connected family. 

Of course, what we read and can actually translate into real life is sometimes very different things.
My main goals are to have great relationships with my children now and as they grow, to create an encouraging and supportive home environment and have lots of fun traditions and adventures together to ensure lasting positive memories. 
I have drawn on many resources to learn these foundations. Some ideas I just found too complicated, too formal or just didn't seem to suit our family.  What we have come up with right now is perfect for us and the boys have really enjoyed having a strong foundation of our family set.

This is our family team name...I know it sounds corny, however the boys love it because it sounds like it's from a computer game!  I know if I want to connect with 4 boys I need to make it work for them as well as for us as parents. 
I actually borrowed this from Linda and Richard Eyre who have written so many amazing parenting books.  They have a wealth of really great information and a lot of their books can be read for free at Eyres Free Books(Just a side note...the Eyres are LDS (Morman) religion, which I am not, however I believe the information is so relevant regardless of beliefs).
VisseRealm Logo (you can see it roughly drawn in orange in the image above and below)
We're big on hearts in this family so the heart shape started it off. Then I turned the bottom into an infinity symbol which gives everyone that strong sense of security as a family.  Yep, we're a family forever! No matter how much of a bad mood anyone is in, you better work it out because this family sticks together!
In the bottom of the heart is the "V" for Visser also...
Michael and I have talked about getting tattoo's of our logo however I don't think I'm brave enough for that...maybe we can just design a t-shirt? Ha ha...
Our family guidelines

1. Love More

2. Live Simply

3. Respect Yourself

4. Help Others

5. Always Learn

6. Try New Things

7. Enjoy Nature

8. Explore The World

9. Have Fun

10. Be Grateful

We have the guidelines on the side of the fridge where everyone can see them and we refer to them often.  It can be an easy way to encourage the boys to try something because in this family we "try new things".  If they are talking themselves down they are reminded to "respect themselves".  We've also been very excitedly planning for a small summer camping holiday because we "explore the world" and "enjoy nature" and "have fun".  So, rather than a whole lot of strict rules the family guidelines can be a lot more fun and work on the longer term attitudes that we would like to encourage rather than the little individual behavioural complaints that we can get caught up with in rules like no hitting, no kicking etc. 

So, this is one way that we identify and connect as a family.  I would love to hear some of your traditions and ideas that connect your family in the comments below!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Welcome to Homegrown Farm!

Welcome to our little piece of paradise.  33 acres in Bonnie Doon, Victoria. 

So it's not much of a farm yet but we have big plans and dreams! 

At this stage we have 8 cows, a caravan, outside toilet and power pole as well as a house and shed site. 

We are currently waiting for our owner builder permit and then our final building permit so we can get started on the house. 

The power is yet to be connected due to the wet weather and the location of the poles, but it shouldn't be too far off.

We have saved thousands of dollars already by Michael doing all of the excavations and driveway.  We found so much gravel we have not had to buy any in which has been great.

We also designed our own home and Michael found a free online program to complete all of the drawings to submit for permits.  It was a huge undertaking with a lot of challenges, however we were informed we probably saved ourselves about $8-9,000 doing it ourselves. 

I am so grateful for such a resourceful and clever hubby.  His persistence and willingness to give something a go is something I greatly admire in him.  He luckily also has the support and help of his Dad who is such a source of information and wisdom in this process as well.

(This soil is will be used for our veggie garden!  It's got compost in it and heaps of worms - should be great)

I'll be documenting our progress here for our records as well as for others to see how we manage things.  We have a tight budget and will be building as cheaply and resourcefully as we can. 

We're so excited!

So next on the list is our house paddock.  Our mooies (cows) love to explore anything new that comes on to the property so before we start building the site needs to be enclosed.  This will also give us a chance to start working on the gardens slowly but surely.

So that's our farm so far...I hope you enjoy sharing our journey with us and watching it grow!