So... you have some questions. That's okay. We're all curious by nature. Hopefully some of your questions are answered here. But if you have more, that's okay. I'm happy to answer in person too!
How did you come up with your blog name?
It such an original title, don't you think ;) Well, I didn't seem to have one particular thing I wanted to write about, and when I started this blog, all other bloggers that existed seemed to have a craft of sorts (scrapbooking anyone?), which I just don't do. I wanted the title to be general enough that it could be about anything, yet about the every day stuff too.
How long have you been blogging?
This blog started in June 2006 because my best friend made me do it. "So that we can all see the progress of your baby", she said. That was because we lived far, far away. On a small south pacific island called Papua New Guinea to be exact. And our family was, well, everywhere else but.
What on earth were you doing living in Papua New Guinea?
One of the many things I love about my husband is that he lives to serve, and we both have this innate sense of calling. There was this amazing opportunity to work for a large aid organisation for four years, and contributing to helping those in need. A part of our hearts were left there, and we've often talked about going back to live there again. I'd go back to being an aid worker in a heartbeat and share the amazing world with my lads. We've recently decided we would like to live overseas again in another country like Vietnam, Cambodia, or Bangladesh. Or France (my husband and eldest step-daughter speak french).
Before you were a mum, what did you 'do'?
I've had lots of jobs in completely different areas. I worked out once that I've made four career changes. A few roles have included working as Finance Controller in an Aboriginal community in the remote Western Desert of Australia, events coordinator for one of Australia's largest private hospitals (in Sydney), marketing assistant for a private school (in Melbourne), youth worker (in Adelaide), and my personal favourite - working in a photo processing shop called "Rabbit Photos". I've worked mostly in the not-for-profit sector. Seems I like to make a difference.
While I loved the diversity in what I've done up until now, being a mother is the hardest/best/most challenging work yet. It's now the longest job I've ever held down, and even gives me a chance to hone up on my multi-tasking skills!
You seem to be a bit vague about your husband's details... what's with that?
Well, my husband is the incredibly private kind. He's one of those tortured, deep thinking musicians who likes to play his guitar and stuff. And think about philosophy and history and have deep conversations... anyway, he asked me not to put his life "out there". And because I love him to bits, I want to respect this request. So, any photos or references to him in this blog have been blessed by him.
Oh, and there is nothing he cannot do. NOTHING!
How tall are you?
I'm 168cm or 5'6" and a size AU10/US8.
It's said on your profile that you are a "Child Of God". What does that mean? (You're not one of those fruit-loops, are you?)
Well, I certainly don't think I'm a fruit loop. I consider myself to be very normal and always strive for balance in my life. I believe that we were created by a greater being, not part of an evolutionary process, and that there is purpose to this life. I believe in treating people as I would want to be treated, and living by a simple set of guidelines: love God, yourself and others, respect your parents, don't lie, steal or kill, be faithful to your partner, and be content - even happy! - with the life you have.
So yes, I'm a child of God. I'm a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and in fact currently work for its national office in Indigenous ministries. It's something I'm very passionate about. If you would like to know more about being an Adventist Christian, I have written a little about it here and here, or you can go to the Church's official website.
Does being an Adventist mean you're not aloud to do certain things?
I'm allowed to do whatever I please. (And if you know me, you know this is true!) But there are things I'm so glad I know about thanks to my church's beliefs and what The Bible says. Thankfully, science continues to prove what the Seventh-day Adventist Church has stood for for many years.
We take a day 'off' one day a week. We don't think about the stresses of what has to be done tomorrow, just rest, be with family and/or friends, contribute to the community and be part of it.
I choose not to take drugs or smoke, drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks, and I don't eat any red meat or seafood. There are many Adventist Christians who are fully vegetarian or vegan (and many who eat meat too). I'm not vegan, but do limit dairy foods and sugar in our family's diet where I can.
My choice to abstain from these things is simply because my body is a temple. And when you look after your body, your body looks after you.
In 2011, you went sugar free. What was all that about?
Sometimes a health book comes along which totally changes your life. One of those books for me was Sweet Poison.
Sweet Poison is all about why sugar makes us fat. It was in the first chapter, and I just stopped eating sugar cold turkey. It results in headaches for the first day, terrible sugar cravings the next two, and then a wonderful discovery! No cravings or desire to eat it in less than a week! Sugar became sickly sweet and I didn't even enjoy it anymore. Then Christmas came and I persisted with the sugar headaches because it was easier than being brave, but now I'm back on track. We no longer have granulated white sugar in the house, and I cook using dextrose. And even better, I bake healthy treats that do not require any sugar replacement whatsoever. As I've said earlier, I strive for balance. I want what is healthy for my family, but we're not missing out on anything.
If on the rare occasion when I have sugar, I don't beat myself up about it. I have it, and then move on, remembering how yucky it makes me feel!
You have an amazing garden! Do you grow your own vegetables?
My husband is a hippie from way back (when hippies first came about, actually). He's a big on self-sufficiency. So, yes we have a lovely organic vegetable garden, a whopping compost bin, and lots of fruit trees.
We eat what is in season, and resist temptation to purchase out of season produce from overseas. It's something that I've taken a few years to get use to, but I've finally found the rhythm. In fact, it's something I now enjoy... popping out to the garden before preparing dinner to pick, pluck and cut the vegetables which we are about to eat. I can't emphasize how amazing it feels to be able to do this!
We've even begun to preserve a little more frantically as our garden has continued to grow in size, and our trees now bear ridiculous amounts of fruit. This year my husband has just finished preserving beetroot, tomatoes in all sorts of ways (puree, pasta sauce, tomato sauce, chutney), plums, nectarines and apples.
You say that you are a step-mum. Is being a step-mum hard?
Being a mum is hard whether kids grow in your uterus or not. I was a step-mum for almost six years before giving birth to my eldest son, and I will admit it was difficult at times. They were girls entering their teens. I hadn't been around for long and I was inexperienced. I'd never been a mother before, and I'd also been irresponsible relating to anything remotely connected to long-term commitment up until that time.
Of course, I'd like to imagine that I am nothing like the wicked stepmothers in those horrid fairy tales (I like to think of myself as the Fairy Stepmother - much nicer!), but I think the girls might disagree. I'm a bit bossy, and there was this time when I made Leah eat mushrooms once. So you can imagine, we've had our moments.
That being said, I am proud as ever to be part of the girls' lives and wouldn't have it any other way. It's difficult to explain, but the love I have for them was chosen rather than the automatic bond which usually happens at birth. I think they're pretty awesome and love them with all my heart.
Would you have preferred if your husband hadn't come complete with an ex-wife and children?
I wouldn't change a thing. He's my best friend and the kindest and most generous person I know. I'd marry him all over again. Complete with pre-hormonal tweens.
What's the age gap between your kids?
We have four children: Kelly (25), Leah (23), Madison (6) and Noah (3).
There's 22 years between the oldest and the youngest. Yes, you could say that Kelly is old enough to be Noah's mother, but that's just too weird. Plus, the idea would totally freak her out. And on days when Leah (the second eldest) takes Madison (the second youngest) out, she looks a bit like a young single mum as they look so alike.
Plus the thought of his girls having kids so soon gives my husband a teeny weeny seizure, because that would mean that his children and his grandchildren would be playmates.
Are there copyright on your pictures?
When I started this blog I made a conscious effort not to use anyone else's photos, and to take them all myself. While I confess that I'm no professional photographer, all photos and design layout are 100% mine. Please respect that, and if you'd like to use any, please give credit where credit's due (and ask first).
Where on earth do you find time to blog?
This is the question I'm asked most often. And if I told you that I hardly watch television, and struggle with blog-life balance, would you believe me?
Any other trivia bits you'd like to share?
In no particular order I love weekends with my family, daily adventures with my lads, wearing chunky wedges, collecting funky jewellery, playing with paper, sleeping, giving anything a try once, making lists, morning tea with my friends, baking, and dreaming of the many places I'd like to go.
I love a challenge! In 2011, I tried something new every week, and in 2012, I reduced my spending by Buying Nothing New. In 2013, there will be lots of renovating happening around this spot.
And if you insist... I'm a computer nerd. I love everything about it: learning about it, working on it, and spending hours designing, googling and blogging. People laugh when I tell them I'm a nerd. They just don't believe me.
But it's true.