A- Z Blogging challenge is finished but….

Here are a few neat things I’ve discovered…

  • I miss it already!!
  • I visited 214 of the 1,516 blogs listed (I thought I was doing OK but I think I could have done better)
  • in the 30 days of April, I got myself 33 new blog followers.. fellow A-Z’ers I guess and thank you very much!!
  • I stuck to my predetermined theme and posts (pretty much)


  • I also discovered I suck at writing short blog posts. I think this is because during the day my “job” is as Grandma to two small people 17 and 16 months, and I don’t use up enough words so then I come to blog and they spill out to make up the quota for the day….
  • I guess this means I’ll never be doing a “challenge” where I have to count my words (or at least nothing under say 3,000 words anyways!
  • At the start I doubted myself, about going the distance.. (what’s new I do it ALL the time) but then I found myself loving this new routine and really enjoying introducing my family and super close friends to everyone.

Here is a list of my posts with links, in case you missed any and want to go back and read them… Z is for Zoo  Y is for Yabbered and others   X is for X-tra Best friend – Deanne  W is for William AKA Star Son  V is for Victoria our home state!   U is for Update on my life.    T is for today, Tomorrow and Tony S is for St.Leonards (our holiday place)   R is for Rob (My Bloke)  Q is for camping in Queensland   P is for Penpalling (my other career)   O is for Other family  N is for Nieces and nephews M is for Memories (stories from others)   L is for Lee (my cousin and friend and sister figure)  K is for Kit, My son from another Mother J is for Jock, Jasmin and Jarrah (Father-in-law, Daughter and son)  I is for I am… H is for Hine.. the day I became a Hine    G is for Grandmahood  F is for Fran (my Mother in law)  E is for Easter  D is for Dad John Oliver Scarffe  C is for Cousin, Crochet and caravan. B is for Babies, meet my Grand children  A is for Amber

I’ve really enjoyed following along with other people’s challenge topics, I learnt all the names for God from one blogger and from another she ate her way through the alphabet, one had a music theme so I learnt some new music. There were many varied and different themes and I’ve learnt something new at each blog, so it’s been a learning curve for me as well. I’ve loved sharing my family with you all and now I have to start thinking about 2016’s theme!!

Z is for…..


This challenge is now officially over… but it was brought to you by:

and that means today is brought to you by the letter “Z”


And I am pretty sure any “family” which has been my blogging theme, will tell you that at least once they’ve been to the “Z”OO.. well except my family.. we go to the “Z”OO all the time, and when we travel the “Z”oo is the first place we look any new town.

So today I am going to tell you about and show you some of the “Z”oo’s we’ve visited.

Let’s start with the Melbourne “Z“oo, that o course is our “Home “Z“oo”

January 2014- the Grand babies first trip to the Zoo.. with Jasmin at the “Seal Encounters”

My Sister-in-law Lindy was in love with the cheeky Meercats!

We party best when we party with family!!

Me in the front,  (with the hat and sunnies) behind me was my second cousin Rachael, her sister Tahnee, my cousin Lee, with my daughter Jasmin and my Sister-in-law Lindy and a family friend Jess. Melbourne Zoo January 2014

The Kangaroo thought the Babies smelled nice!!

Jasmin with a “Z”ebra!

We as a family tend to go to the “Z”oo at least yearly because they are upgrading so many of the enclosures we go back to see whats new. Plus in the Summer months they have Live Music each week, and there are various other occasions to celebrate at the zoo, Mother’s Day is sold out but I see there is a winter “high tea” which could be fun!

Another “Z”oo we have visited is called “The Mansfield “Z”OO” That was Easter 2013

I admit I made everyone come along to that “Z”oo while we were away camping, maybe I didn’t make them but I said “WE are going to the “Z”oo, who wants to come?” and the other two couples had children who of course wanted to go.. but I would have been happy to go alone with my Bloke and star Son, I confess I only wanted to see the Bison..and it was alot closer and cheaper than going to the States!

I could have stood there all day and watched them!

The Bloke and Star Son fed a camel!

My Cousin hand fed this handsome beast!!

Star Son really appreciated the camels.

So basically whenever we go on a camping trip or away travelling one of the first things we look for is the “Z“oo

When we did our “Big Lap” of Australia, we went to at least one “Z“oo in each State..

My most favourite one was “Australia “Z”oo famous of course for being the home of world famous “Steve Irwin” the Crocodile Hunter, I have always been a fan of Steve’s and so it was on my bucket list to go there, we were able to do so in October 2012.

It was expensive to enter.. $59.00 for Adults and $35.00 for children.

But we knew that we would take our own food anyways so it was that one off price and I am so glad we went. From the minute we walked in the gate there were people walking around with critters, to pat, to hold, to meet.. first one we met was a cockatoo which I just loved, he chatted and was happy to pose for photos… we saw endless amounts of wild lizards, Steve started a thing where whenever he saves a lizard that couldn’t be released he let it go loose in his “Z“oo.. and here I was thinking that these lizards had escaped!! The most amazing part of the day was when my Bloke and star Son got to line up and hand feed an elephant! Awesome experience. Then as we were making or way to the gate we stopped to look at a camel.. the keepers were getting her ready to go for a walk with her head halter on, s the keeper brought “Esther” over to Star Son and asked if he wanted a kiss.. he stammered and then the camel reached  over and kissed him.. such a sweet moment.. and something so unexpected we all laughed! I loved the Tiger show and of course in the arena they had a free bird flight show, amazing being swooped by a macaw and an eagle!

Steve of course was famous for his Crocodile research and that is evident all through out the park.

Australia Zoo Crocodile Conservation

I am making a big call here, because I haven’t been to the rest of the “Z‘oo’s in Australia but so far that was my favourite “Z“oo.. and what I loved the most was the lack of wire enclosures, they looked so natural and used a lot of special glass rather than wire or mesh, much easier for taking photos.. of which I have none, they are packed away on some other hard drive.

Another “Z“oo we have visited, was the Adelaide “Zoo..

We had been watching a television documentary about the Chinese pandas and how the “Z’oo Keepers had gone to China to pick out and then to collect the Panda, there were so many rules and regulations and then quarantine and speaking Chinese so that they could work with the Panda’s, my husband rarely watches TV but he even enjoyed that show and at the end we both looked at each other and said “I wanna go see them!” and so later that year we did!

We usually go for a two or three day “Pre-Christmas” camping trip each year, like our unwind from school/work and before the craziness of Christmas.. so that year was 2011 we went off to Adelaide, about a 10 hour drive from home and went camping in Glenelg, it was awful!! Evil Cyclonic winds, the tents around us collapsed through the night and we woke to downed branches, flattened tents and the first sight of blue sky, but it was still bloody windy!! Worst camping trip ever! but the “Z“oo saved the day!!

This is one of the photos from the Zoo.. because I guess I’ve taken mine off the hard drive and put onto a disc.

One more of the “Z”oo’s we have visited was on our “Big Lap” again, this time in Darwin, it was October 2012.. We went to “Crocodylus park”

Admission was $40 for adults and $20 for children, so again an expensive day out, but we learnt so much about the crocodiles and the other animals and had hands on experiences that a lot of people won’t have, I am a Mother that treasures the little things like the awe on his face as he fed that HUGE croc, and the gazillion of photos, journal entries and the odd souvenir, to me that is worth much more than gold! every so often we say “hey do you remember when….” and it amazing how much he does remember and he was only 10 yrs old.

I don’t have photos (sorry!) they are on the hard drive somewhere… anyways Star Son got to feed a 5 meter long croc with a fishing pole and the power of those snapping jaws, terrified me.. his response was “oh that’s so awesome!” Then in another part of the tour he got to hold a baby crocodile which again was pretty awesome.. there were other animals there too.. and so we wandered around to look at those.We saw American alligators, and more crocodiles, and Lions, Tigers and ocelot oh my… ( sorry no bears!)

Dingo, kangaroo, wallabies, numerous birds but for me the high light of the day was when the Bloke who is 6 foot tall walked over to see the Ostrich which was taller than him, and “She” took a fancy to him, ad followed him up and down the rail, the male however as less than impressed and did a striking little dance and fluffed himself up and stood much taller than my Bloke and attempted to peck him over the fence, I made the Bloke move away as quickly as possible.. but the female ostrich with the most amazingly long curled eye lashes!! still wanted to follow Rob, it was scary and funny and kinda cute all at the same time, they never did that to any one else who passed they just took a fancy to my bloke.

When you see the size of these guys and the size of their feet, you don’t wanna mess with one.

Another time we took a weekend trip to Darwin and we went for our wedding Anniversary and my husband and I went to “Crocosaurus Cove” again a crocodile place but this time we paid for the experience to “Swim with the Crocs” and we were put into a glass tube and lowered into the water with some crocs.. While technically this might not be classed as a “Z”oo.. I am thinking it saves endangered animals, it educates us about them and we get to see them in their natural living quarters so it’s close enough to a “Z’oo.

People asked “Why?” and I replied “Why not?” what are the chances of swimming with a croc and living to tell the tale?

About to step into the cage and water… funny thing was I wondered why my goggles were leaking… Umm, err,, they were on UPSIDE DOWN!!! idiot!!

As I fixed my leaking goggles I turned around to see this!! he was mighty close to my face!!

From another angle.. I have a whole new respect for crocs now!!

The Bloke in the cage beside me! e brought me a waterproof camera for just this occasion!

“He’s behind me isn’t he??” This is dirty Harry who was the star of the “Crocodile Dundee” movies with Paul Hogan, I’m with a movie star!!

The sound of these jaws snapping shut, and the force of it is an amazing thing to see.. I would not like to feel it though!

So I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting the “Zoo’s around Australia with me.. thank you to everyone who came to visit me during this blog and the ones who chose to follow me and keep coming back THANK-YOU!! I appreciate it,..

Y is for…


This amazing challenge, which is pushing me out of my comfort zone is brought to you by…

today is brought to you by the slightly harder letter “Y”


So I am pretty sure I won’t be able to tie the letter “Y” into my family theme but let’s see how I go.. I’ve googled a list of words starting with “Y” from this site:

Yabbered is worth 16 points in Scrabble, and 17 points in Words with Friends- No Definition of ‘yabbered‘ Found – It’s still good as a Scrabble word though!

Really?? how can they use it for scrabble of they don’t know what it means.. I know though, Yabbered is what I’ve done each day of this theme, I’ve “yabbered” on about my family, my friends, my life. Yabbered means when you talk on and on and on…. maybe it’s an “Aussie” word…

Ahh ha!! Just as I suspected.. check here:

yab·ber (yăb′ər) Australian

n .

Rapid or casual talk; chatter.
intr.v. yab·bered, yab·ber·ing, yab·bers

To talk or converse rapidly or casually.

[From Australian pidgin, probably from a source in the Pama-Nyungan languages of southeast Australia such as Wiradhuri ya-, to talk (perhaps influenced by English jabber).]

Ok, So I am randomly clicking on this list of “Y” words.. let’s see what else I can find.


Confusing much.. this word is in the Scrabble list and yet when you google it it comes up with this explanation…

yamalka or ˈyamulka

Definitions- noun

  1. (var. of) yarmulke

yarmulke- Definitions


  1. a skullcap variously worn by Jewish men and boys, esp. when at prayer or study, at meals, etc. (also )ˈyarmelke
  2. E Yiddish yarmulke < Pol jarmułka, orig., a skullcap worn as by priests < earlier ja murka, ult. < MLalmutia, cowl, hood

I’m glad I found that because I have wondered what they were called but I’ve never known anyone who was Jewish to ask the question and not to cause any offence.

Yearling- The definition of yearling, the meaning of the word Yearling:

  • n. – A young child
  • n. – A racehorse considered one year old until the second Jan. 1 following its birth
  • n. – An animal in its second year

Beautiful Movie, I still haven’t read the book, it’s in my “to read pile”

Oh well, I can relate to this word also.. since the three Grand babies would be considered “Yearlings” at 21 month, 17 months and 16 months they are all in their “second year” of life..


  • n. – Singing by changing back and forth between the chest voice and a falsetto
  • v. – Sing by changing register; sing by yodeling

Listen to Aussie Kasey Chambers with her yodelling… she gives me chills!! or this one.. its such a happy sound!!


  • n. – The face veil worn by Muslim women
  • Again this is a word I’d never heard of… 


  • n. – A young person (especially a young man or boy)

And yet when I googled it .. it came up with an American department store… so who really knows..


Yakitori (焼き鳥, やきとり, ヤキトリ?), grilled chicken, is commonly a Japanese type of skewered chicken. The term “yakitori” can also refer to skewered food in general.Kushiyaki (skewer grilled), is a formal term that encompasses both poultry and non-poultry items, skewered and grilled. Both yakitori and kushiyaki are used interchangeably in Japanese society.

I’ve actually had this and it’s goooood! yummy!!


  • n. – A long Turkish knife with a curved blade having a single edge ( I feel I am being very multicultural today!)


n, pl -vahs or -voth (Hebrew -vɔt)

1. (Judaism) a traditional Jewish school devoted chiefly to the study of rabbinic literature and the Talmud
2. (Judaism) a school run by Orthodox Jews for children of primary school age, providing both religious and secular instruction
Another Jewish word.


  • n. – A ship’s small boat (usually rowed by 4 or 6 oars)
  • n. – A sailing vessel with two masts; a small mizzen is aft of the rudderpost
  • v. – Emit long loud cries

So my friends, there is a short wander through the letter “Y” and what do you know? it’s a nice quick post this morning and still under 1,000 words.. In fact I am almost seven hundred-exactly!

X is for….


This fun, almost finished challenge, is brought to you by..

and today is brought to you by the Letter


Letter “X” was always going to be a struggle for me to with “family” in mind…

I guess I could class myself as being xenophilia being that love of foreigners, but then I could tell you about growing up in the inner city town of Richmond in Victoria in the late 60’s and early 70’s and how back then and aye even still today there were a lot of foreigners, Richmond back then was famous for it’s Greek population and sometimes it was kind of like “spot the Aussie” but I loved it, we learnt new words, we learnt about new foods, I remember swapping lunches with other girls who had thickly sliced weird bread with slices of spicy salami and strange looking chunks of cheese.. I’d happily swap my Vegemite and cheese sandwiches for those delights. And Easter with Greek friends was always fun too..then a few Chinese started appearing and again, new words and new tastes, back then on our birthday we were encouraged to bring party foods to share, maybe that’s where my love of all things travel” started, because suddenly we were hearing about places like Vietnam and Greece and seeing different flags and hearing different languages. Of course the Parentals were less than friendly, and were even down right racist, children are so much more forgiving. To us kids they were our class friends with the strange names like Houng and Dora, lots of Maria’s and Yanni and Giovanni and Carlos, didn’t matter where they came from we were just all friends.

OK, I’ll confess I’ve never heard of that word before I googled words starting with “X” but the rest of that story is true.

So today what I am about to do is switch it up a little.. I KNOW EXTRA does not start with X-tra but that;s what I am doing today.. illegal for this challenge maybe but hey I’ve been good following the rest of the rules I’ve visited more than half the people on the sign up list. I’ve liked, I’ve responded and I’ve made some lovely new bloggy friends. But I can NOT do this challenge without mentioning this person, although not “blood” related as family, she is the family that I gave myself and SHE is the best present I’ve ever given myself. I could have included her at “B” for “Bestest Best friend”, because that is her official title, and then I could have added her at “D” for Deanne which is her name, but that day I did Dad and I know Deanne loved Dad as much as me, so she wouldn’t mind me not adding her there.. I could have added her at “F” as Friend but she is so much more than that!! I could have added her at “S” for Sister, but she’s sooo much more than that, so then I had to figure out “Where can I add Deanne?

So I decided to make up a place just for Deanne at X- for X-tra Bestest Best Friend!!


Our Latest photo Easter 2015. St. Leonards

Deanne Lyndell Whykes (Nee Warne) is my bestest best friend.. we have been friends since the day we first met and Deanne is the first real friend I made when I moved to Preston. I was 20 yrs old, newly married and moved to a new area, I transferred my job, so I ended up in the Delicatessen department at the local supermarket. Deanne was one of the “after school” casuals and we ended up working the Friday night late shift together. She was 16 yrs old and not yet driving, so she was relying on lifts or catching the train home, it was late, we used to be open till 9.00 pm and then cleanup, and then it turned out we both had early morning set ups which meant 7.00 am starts, so I suggested that Deanne stay in my spare room, there started a life long friendship, and I am so grateful to my “Bestie


Deanne and Steve’s wedding Jan 1993

Something between us just clicked and we found we had many similarities, we were both the youngest of five children (Later I found out I was the youngest of 6!! and Deanne was there for moral support and encouragement!) We both had older sisters that we didn’t get on with and we both questioned  “Why couldn’t I have YOU as my sister?” and so we made a pact that we would be the sister we each wished we had. and it’s been that way ever since. During long shifts at work when we were tired and getting ready to go a bit crazy, the deli Manager would send us to the kitchen  (she thought it was punishment- but we loved it, we chatted and prepared the chickens in peace) to prepare the chickens for cooking in the rotisserie Deanne and I used to make up little songs and dance the chickens along the bench and thread them onto the long poles ready for cooking, it was a terrible job, the chickens were straight from the fridge so cold and stiff, our hand would suffer terrible, but we had our special “Chicken song” and that made it all worthwhile.

Deanne fit into my family so well, she was always right beside me at parties working in the kitchen or doing some silly little dance.


Deanne doing serving duties at the Bloke’s “Hawaii 5-0” party

Deanne, like just about everyone else groans when they receive a party invite from me.. the first question is “What is she making us dress as this time?” but you can beat your last dollar that Deanne will be the first to arrive, the best dressed and stay the longest to help clean up. We have had Hawaiian theme for the Bloke’s 50th, for my 40th we had “Arabian nights” complete with a belly dancer, we have had Burlesque, and Masquerade, we’ve had a colour party where we had to dress as a smartie colour. Lots of themes!!

Amber’s 21st, “Masquerade Party” March 2013 In the Kitchen again!!

We left the kitchen long enough to do some dancing!!

Over the years we  have had many happy times together.. for Steve (Deanne’s Bloke) 40th Birthday we had to go dressed as something beginning with “S”

I came as “Santa’s Mrs” and Deanne was a “School Girl”

Deanne was proudly my Chief Bridesmaid for my Medieval wedding to the Bloke.. you can read more about that here:

Feb 29th 2004, Lady Kim and Lady Hawk.

Steve, Deanne, Me and Rob at Jasmin’s 21st Birthday “Burlesque theme” July 2011

When I had the two girls circa 1993 and decided to get them Baptised, there was never any other choice as to who would be Godmother.. Deanne and she’s taken her role very seriously. That was before Steve but when it came time to baptize Jarrah, Steve and Deanne became his God Parents too.

Deanne is the Godmother to the eldest Children.

Deanne and I are lucky that our Blokes get on as well as we do it makes it easy to hang out together. Our Blokes are of a similar mind “Happy wife Happy Life” and so now that the children are older, we are able to spend a bit more time together, so far we;ve been camping to Wye River in Victoria and then the following January we went camping in Alexandra in Victoria and then this Easter we spent Easter together at St. Leonards and Steve and Deanne have just gotten their first camper trailer so LOTS more family camping trips will be planned. Deanne and I spent a lot of time chatting or crocheting or just sitting side by side reading. There is never an awkward silence.

Lord Robert with Lord Steve,

We have been lucky enough to have our children close in ages, Deanne’s Eldest and my first boy Jarrah are five months difference, and our youngest boys are two months difference. So we can go away camping as families and enjoy each others families.

Most of the Whykes family camping in Alexandria Victoria Australia day weekend 2014.

Jasmin and “Da God Mumma” Deanne

Over the years we have got many layers of friendship built, lots of happy memories and some sad ones, we’ve shared births, deaths, marriages, divorce (mine) and remarriage, highs and lows and been there for each other, I moved away from Deanne in 2002 to move up to Sunbury, about 40 minutes away, but we keep in touch through phone calls and visits and camping trips and facebook.

Camping Easter 2015.. Jasmin and her “God family”

Feb 2008… I think celebrating Steve’s birthday, BBQ at Deanne’s house.

If I could give everyone a gift I’d wish you could all have a Bestie like my X-tra Best Friend Deanne.. but I am a jealous friend and I don’t share well, so I’m keeping this one.. sorry!!

W is for…


This  fun challenge is brought to you by :

and today by the letter “W


The letter “W” was the easiest one, and it’s a no brainer.. today you all get to meet he who was formally known as “Star son” I’m sure as my blog goes on I will continue to slip into calling hi “Star son” but at least now you’ll know who I mean.

Today I’d like you to meet the youngest member of our family.. well, I should say of the family I gave birth to or inherited.. he is also known as “the glue” the brought two broken families together and made us one raggle taggle bunch.

My Buddha Boy… William John Hine.


His Sister’s 21st birthday, Will got his first Suit!

William John Hine ( my brother (who wasn’t raised with me) is William, and my Dad was John, but even more amazing my husbands Great Grand father was John William, so it’s a REAL family name) Many Many years ago, before my walk with the Lord when I didn’t know better, I went to see a clairvoyant, and she took my hand and looked at ti and told me I’d have four children, I laughed because I’d just had daughter number two. So a few years later when Jarrah arrived and I got my much wanted son, I said “That’s it it’s all over” and sent my ex husband for the “snip” I laughed thinking I’d proved the clairvoyant wrong.. she got the last laugh when 8 years later while recovering from Gall Bladder surgery, I fell pregnant!! I say “fell” because he surely wasn’t planned and I stupidly didn’t even think that all that vomiting had messed with my cycle.. my Bestest best friend “Deanne” who you’ll meet tomorrow as “X-tra best friend” gently reminded me about what the Clairvoyant had said.. hmmm.. You can read a bit more of the back story here


Our wedding day he was two years old and one month!

So into the world early by force came “William John HIne” I had gestational diabetes with him, and he was big and so they decided to bring him out early.. two weeks early and just as well he was my biggest at 9 pound 4 ounces. The Dr’s said if he stayed till full term he would have been a 10 pounder.. thank goodness they took him then! he got stuck with shoulder distoscia and for a while they were talking “emergency c-section” I’ve never pushed so hard in my life!! But then he was a little stressed when he was dragged into the world and so he was straight off to special care nursery. for a while the Dr’s were concerned about the “bruising” from the forceps and wanted to keep an eye on him, it turned out that it was in fact a huge birth mark and not bruising. The technical term for his birth mark s “Cafe Au Lait” because it’s not the red, purple or dark brown, a light coffee colour.. which I found out much later after various DR’s appointments that it could indicate brain troubles. in his case however it did not and again I say “Someone was looking out for us all” 

His Rock ‘n’ Roll learning came early, his first Rock ‘n’ Roll dance was 5 weeks old and he started reading the magazine at 6 months! this photo actually ended up in the next months edition!

When William was younger, he was a short boy, he’s still shorter than most of his peers, but I know the growth spurt will happen any day now, it did for his brothers Kit and Jarrah at about 15-16 yrs old they shot up and are now both taller than Rob. But William was small so we called him “Billy” or “Billy Boy” or Bopster” or many other names, when it came time to start kindergarten we asked him “what do you want the kindy teachers to call you? Billy or William?” he was confused he didn’t know that “William” was his real name.. so he enrolled as “William” and because I had spent the year before his kinder year home schooling Jarrah and had Will doing the same work beside him, by the time he got to kinder he could cut, paste and write his name roughly. Then when it came time to start school again we asked him, “What name do you want everyone to call you?” and he said “I’m a big school kid now I’ll be “Will” and Will he’s been ever since, except when Mum forgets and calls him Billy..

His first Skate boarding moment..

I think the year of home schooling Jarrah really helped the boys because Will started school confidently and soon became popular, over the years he’s had lots of comments about his birth mark, some good and some downright nasty.. I’ll never-forget the day we were in the local shops and there was a small boy about 4 the same age as Will and he was with his Mum and he pointed at Will and said loudly “MUUUUUM look at that boys face, he’s got chocolate everywhere” the Mother quickly shhh’ed the boy and tried to steer him away, but he wandered over to us and I am silently praying for him to “just please go away!” when he walks up to Will and asks him about the “chocolate” on his face, will turned around to the boy and says “it’s not chocolate, it’s a birth mark, that;s where the Angels wing touched me when she brought me” he was calm and so grown up and inwardly I smiled, I sneaked a peek at the other Mother who had a little smile.. as her son went back to her he said “oh Mum that boy is so cool, an Angel touched him!”

His first Big bed and his first dog! Avalon and Will have grown up together,,

We had told Will many years previous when he was one or two when he started noticing he was different from everyone else in the family that he was so special an Angel brought him to us and her wing touched him, and that’s what caused his birth mark, and he remembered that story… that was one of the happier ones, many of them are not so nice and now he is 13 and playing football against bigger opponents they are down right mean! but he’s a compassionate boy and shrugs it off saying “Oh they just don’t know what they’re talking about and they hate it because I’m smaller and can play better!” bravo for my Boy!!

Touched by an Angel!

Each step of his schooling I’ve been nervous, Kindergarten was good, the teacher sat everyone down and explained about his birthmark let everyone ask questions and demystified it, so it became “William” and they were used to it.. then I dreaded him starting school, but the same thing, it was a part of “will” and they dealt with it, his kinder friends gathered around for moral support.. then last year the start of secondary school, he’s a teenager, peer pressure etc etc, but so far so good, we;ve had one small issue to deal with but he’s got those same group of Kindergarten/Primary-school friends around him for moral support,, he’s doing ok, a lot of the time people think he’s extra cool. Only once in his life has he asked for it to be taken off so we saw the plastic surgeon who also referred us to the Laser specialist, they both said because it covers his eye, the amount of work to remove it would leave worse scars, when he’s old enough and now lasers have evolved so much more, maybe he’ll want to do something about it but that’s his call.

Dad’s 50th Birthday “Hawaii 5-0” theme.

One time my Bloke decided to photo shop off the birthmark and I didn’t recognize my son, he looked like all the other 10 yr old boys and another time, the school photographer flipped the class photos and I was complaining “Where is Will” he told me the row and where he was and I eventually found him BUT it wasn’t MY SON, the birthmark had also been flipped to the other side, I don’t know how they did it but it surely wasn’t MY will!

He likes chocolate!!

He’s a happy, popular boy, he likes all kinds of sports, and he tries it once and can excell at it.. he doesn’t get that from me.. he’s smart too, of course it’s not cool to be good at school work, but he is but he hates being the school “Nerd” and so he plays dumb sometimes. He’s a good reader when we make him be, and he’s good at Math he also didn’t get that from me. He hates History which makes me sad, and when he tries he’s good at Art but again, it’s not cool…the first thing each teacher will say about Will at parent teacher interviews is “he talks alot” I guess he gets that from me!!

Which shoes go with this bag??

Right back when he was 8 yrs old he knew what he wanted.. and here is his “Vision Board”

Now my boy is 13 yrs old, he’s been such a joy so far, I always say he’s the last because we got the best! And occasionally he’s wanted a little brother or sister, but now he has nieces and a nephew so it’s kinda the same thing..


and now he’s “Uncle Big Will”


Will and Scarlett


He’s still his Mother’s Son! on his 13th Birthday!

Mother and Son selfies

Mother and Son selfies

Selfies with Mum on the way to Football training.

So that’s all of the family.. tune in tomorrow for X-tra best friend Deanne!

V is for….


 This challenge is brought to you by:


and the letter “V”

So we are coming up fast to the finish line, my first attempt at A-Z, and I was always worried about these last few words to be honest, because how would I relate those to “family” which like my blog has been my theme. I could talk to you today about my Cousin Vicky, who is a Wiccan and leads a very exciting life, but I haven’t seen her for quite a while so it would be old news. So instead I thought I’d share with you about “Victoria” the state where we live.

Since my Blog is about “family” and most of the family live in Victoria, it I thought I’d share with you about that. Maybe I can convince you all to come for a visit.. so settle back with your drink of choice and come visit my place!

Sunbury, where we live in in the little pink area which is labelled “Kyneton” which is about about 20 minutes further away. Wiki tells us…

Victoria (abbreviated as Vic) is a state in the south-east of Australia. Victoria is Australia’s most densely populated state and its second-most populous state overall. Most of its population is concentrated in the area surrounding Port Phillip Bay, which includes the metropolitan area of its capital and largest city, Melbourne, which is Australia’s second-largest city. Geographically the smallest state on the Australian mainland, Victoria is bordered by Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south,New South Wales to the north, the Tasman Sea to the east, and South Australia to the west.

 After the founding of the colony of New South Wales in 1788, Australia was divided into an eastern half named New South Wales and a western half named New Holland, under the administration of the colonial government in Sydney. The first European settlement in the area later known as Victoria was established in October 1803 under Lieutenant-Governor David Collins at Sullivan Bay on Port Phillip. It consisted of 402 people (5 Government officials, 9 officers of marines, 2 drummers, and 39 privates, 5 soldiers’ wives, and a child, 307 convicts, 17 convicts’ wives, and 7 children).[7] They had been sent from England in HMSCalcutta under the command of Captain Daniel Woodriff, principally out of fear that the French, who had been exploring the area, might establish their own settlement and thereby challenge British rights to the continent.

In the year 1826 Colonel Stewart, Captain S. Wright, and Lieutenant Burchell were sent in H.M.S. Fly (Captain Wetherall) and the brigs Dragon and Amity, took a number of convicts and a small force composed of detachments of the 3rd and 93rd regiments. The expedition landed at Settlement Point (now Corinella), on the eastern side of the bay, which was the headquarters until the abandonment of Western Port at the instance of Governor Darling about twelve months afterwards.[

Victoria’s next settlement was at Portland, on the south west coast of what is now Victoria. Edward Henty settled Portland Bay in 1834.

Melbourne was founded in 1835 by John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner. From settlement the region around Melbourne was known as the Port Phillip District, a separately administered part of New South Wales.

On 1 July 1851, writs were issued for the election of the first Victorian Legislative Council, and the absolute independence of Victoria from New South Wales was established proclaiming a new Colony of Victoria.[11] Days later, still in 1851 gold was discovered near Ballarat, and subsequently at Bendigo. Later discoveries occurred at many sites across Victoria. This triggered one of the largest gold rushes the world has ever seen. The colony grew rapidly in both population and economic power. In ten years the population of Victoria increased sevenfold from 76,000 to 540,000. All sorts of gold records were produced including the “richest shallow alluvial goldfield in the world” and the largest gold nugget. Victoria produced in the decade 1851–1860 20 million ounces of gold, one third of the world’s output

Now for some fun facts..

Epacris impressa photo

Common Heath

Epacris impressa

(plant family: Epacridaceae)

Floral Emblem of Victoria

Representatives of interested Victorian government departments, societies and individuals met on 18 September 1951 and unanimously agreed on Common Heath as the State floral emblem. The pink form of Common Heath, Epacris impressa, was proclaimed the floral emblem of Victoria on 11 November 1958. Victoria was the first Australian State to give official recognition to such an emblem


Temperatures vary widely but most of the State falls within the warm, temperate belt of the south-east corner of Australia, characterised by warm and dry summers and cool to mild, wet, winters.

Daily summer temperatures range from 14 to 23 C in the coastal areas, 11 to 20 C in the mountains and 16 to 31 C inland. In winter, temperatures range from 7 C to 14 C in coastal areas, 0 C to 5 C in the mountains and 5 C to 16 C inland. Snow settles on the Australian Alps in the north-east of Victoria from June to September.

Rainfall is heaviest in the eastern highlands, in Gippsland in the east of the State and in the Otway Ranges in western Victoria. Some areas receive annual rainfalls of more than 1000 mm. Lowest falls are in the Mallee region, where the average is 327 mm. Melbourne’s average rainfall is about 660 mm a year.

Victoria Bird Emblem

Victoria's Bird EmblemThe Helmeted Honeyeater Lichenostomus melanops cassidix (Gould, 1867) is the larger and more brilliantly coloured race of the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater. Previously regarded as a separate species , recent studies indicate an area of interbreeding between it and the Yellow-tufted Honeyeater.

Pure populations of this attractive honeyeater are now restricted to a small area on Woori Yallock Creek near Yellingbo on the outskirts of Melbourne. The Yellingbo State Wildlife Reserve was established to protect the few remaining colonies numbering some 100-150 birds. The Helmeted Honeyeater is particularly vulnerable to habitat disturbances as it requires a combination of manna and swamp gums, with tea-trees and shrubby bushes alongside grass-lined watercourses.

The birds are about 20cm in total length and the sexes are similar. The upperparts of the body are olive-grey with the outer wing and tail feathers greenish-yellow. Underparts are yellowish-green with dark streaks. The sides of the head are glossy black with golden ear-tufts and a yellow throat. Both crown and fore-head are golden yellow with the latter displaying plushlike feathers projecting slightly over the base of the bill and forming a distinctive helmet

Victoria Animal Emblem

VIctoria's Animal EmblemAs far as is known, Leadbeater’s possum Gymnobelideus leadbeateri McCoy lives only in Victoria. It is confined to the mountain ash forests of the central highlands, from Healesville and Marysville to Mt Baw Baw.

Even in the days of the early naturalists in Victoria, this possum was regarded as one of the rarer members of our fauna. McCoy’s original specimens were collected in 1867 north of the Wonthaggi area of West Gippsland, and a few more were found up to 1909, when the possum was thought to be extinct. It was a great surprise to science when the species was rediscovered near Marysville in 1961.

Whilst it is scattered over a large area, individual possums are usually found in pockets of relatively high density, particularly in old trees with hollows which provide sites for nesting.

The well being of this species seems to be closely associated with the botanical succession within the mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forests. It is important that adequate provision be made for it amongst the diverse demands on our hardwood forests.

The length of Leadbeater’s Possum is about 40cm from nose to tail tip. About half of the animal is taken up by the tail. Soft, dense fur covers the body, becoming progressively longer on the distinctively club-shaped tail. The colour of the animal is a dark greyish-brown with whitish under-parts. The face is quite beautifully marked.

Unlike some of the possums close to its size, it does not have any gliding membrane.. It is a nimble species, which jumps around from branch to branch. It feeds on insects living on the foliage and under the bark of eucalypts, plant exudates, honey-dew from insects and some sap and gum. The Leadbeater’s Possum breeds from February to November producing 1-2 young in a litter. The future of this species lies heavily in the hands of those governing management processes in it’s native habitat.

Proclaimed 2nd March, 1971.

So that’s the technical stuff.. because maybe some one cares about that.

Now for some fun facts..

Melbourne is the capital of Victoria..

Tourism in Melbourne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is Flinder’s Station one of the most famous landmarks in Mebourne, and people have been meeting “Under the clocks at Flinders Street” forever.

Tourism in Melbourne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Yarra river, another famous spot in Melbourne, popular for bike riding and picnics and each year various festivals are held on the banks of the Yarra,

Tourism in Melbourne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shrine of Remembrance, today being ANZAC day this is of huge importance

Tourism in Melbourne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Yarra at night, always romantic

** All photos were from the website

If however you are not big on BIG cities and night life and shopping and fancy food.. then you might want to visit elsewhere in Victoria.. so let’s see some of my favourites..

One of my favorite escape places but it’s so trendy now and  popular we don’t go as often as we used to.. mainly due to the mineral springs.

The Convent Gallery

For the art lovers among us there is the “Convent gallery” beautiful, historic and peaceful and they have different artists displays.

Lake Daylesford, Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges, Victoria, Australia

For the Nature lovers, a walk around Lake Daylesford is always fun.

Jimmy's Bar and Dining Room

For the “foodies” out there.. you are spoilt for choices..

Daylesford has something for everyone. I love the Chocolate shop which has hand made goodies.

So now let’s hop back in the car and go to the next favourite of mine..

Ballarat.. the gold Fields.


Victoria’s largest inland city, Ballarat is a thriving hub of contemporary arts, events and food and wine, with a fascinating heritage backdrop.

Golden dreams
Explore the legacy of the gold rush, still evident in the magnificent architecture and tree-lined streets of the town today. Admire the city’s Victorian and Edwardian buildings, parks, gardens and statues by following one of the visitor information centre’s self-guided heritage walks.

Blood on the tracks
Pan for gold and watch the hustle and bustle of an 1850s gold mining settlement at Sovereign Hill. Don’t miss the dramatic Blood on the Southern Cross sound and light show, recreating the story of the Eureka Rebellion.

Out and about
Spend a day enjoying the fantastic collection of Australian art at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Australia’s oldest and largest regional gallery. Catch a show at Her Majesty’s Theatre, originally opened in 1875, and wander through specialty shops stocking everything from boutique clothing and books to homewares, crafts and homemade supplies.

I am a bit of a history freak so I love anything old.. first stop if you were travelling with me would be “Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill

 Sovereign Hill, you can do gold mining and learn the history of the Gold Rush

Read about it here:

Another favourite of mine is called Kryal Castle.. much less well known, it’s all about Medieval history and how I planned my wedding.


If that’s enough history for you let’s go do lunch…

Lake Wendouree, Ballarat, Goldfields, Victoria, Australia

Lake Wendouree is a favourite of ours,

Picnics and cafes
Pack a picnic and make the most of the great picnic and barbecue facilities. (Arrive early in summer to get a good spot!) Or, let someone else take care of catering while you take in the views from lakeside cafes and restaurants.

Historic trams
Make tracks to the Ballarat Tramway Museum on the west side of the lake and take a scenic ride on a historic tram through the Botanic Gardens and part way around the lake.

Walking, running and cycling
Feel the local athletic history and hit the six-kilometre trail circling the lake, named after local Olympic marathon runner Steve Moneghetti. Join countless locals running, strolling and cycling the track year-round. (Bicycles are available for hire at the lake.)

Water sports
Make a splash canoeing, kayaking and sailing the lake. The site of the canoeing, kayaking and rowing events of the 1956 Olympics, the lake continues to host major rowing regattas and is favourite spot for water sports enthusiasts.

Join keen anglers casting a line from purpose-built fishing platforms around the lake. Local catch includes rainbow trout and redfin.

Bird watching
Bring your binoculars and twitch away. The lake’s reed beds are home to an abundant range of water birds including swans, ducks, gulls and cormorants.

Take the smallest family members to explore the two lakeside playgrounds, suitable for toddlers and up.

Time your visit with weekend markets to stock up on local produce and products. Try the Lakeside Farmers Market on the second and fourth Saturday morning of each month.

Another place in the “Gold Field” region that we like to visit is called “Castlemaine” Kit spent alot of time living in Castlemaine and so we would drive up and visit him. Castlemaine is about an hour drive from home, nice easy run and again historic.

Buda Historic Home & Garden Spring 2012


Visit historic Castlemaine, a bustling town renowned for its eclectic arts scene, rich gold rush history, and growing reputation as a fine food destination.

Getting creative
Stop by a local artist’s studio to find sculpture, ceramics, jewellery, paintings and textiles, or experience the village’s artistic heritage by taking in a concert at the Theatre Royal, Australia’s oldest continually operating theatre. For a day viewing major Australian and international works, head to the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum.

Wines and fresh produce
Foodies and wine lovers won’t be disappointed. A number of talented chefs have made the move to the area, so book a table and try some of the region’s finest food coupled with exceptional local wines. Stock up on olive oil, cheeses, preserves and fresh regional produce at farm gates and specialty provedores across the region.

Antiques and collectables
Collectors, brace yourselves: Castlemaine is a veritable treasure trove. Allow plenty of time to browse the stores lining Mostyn and Barker streets and the intriguing wall-to-wall relics at the Restorers Barn.

Paved with gold
Explore Castlemaine’s rich history and heritage with a self-guided tour of its grand public buildings, wide streets, ornate hotels and century-old shops. You’ll find a range of self-guided walks that take in the village and beyond. Hire an MP3 player from the Visitor Information Centre in the historic Market Building on Mostyn Street and start exploring.

The open air
Enjoy a relaxing afternoon by the lake in the Botanical Gardens. Established in 1856 the gardens have recently undergone a multi-million dollar refurbishment. Visit Buda Historic Home and Garden with its magnificent 19th Century gardens and house, or head out along the Goldfields Track by foot or on two wheels.

Fishing, Grampians National Park, Grampians, Victoria, Australia

Another one further away is beautiful called “The Grampians” a great camping place.. very surreal and mystical.


Spring is the perfect season to visit the Grampians. Nature-lovers will savour the walking tracks, wildlife, lookouts and waterfalls in the breathtaking rugged landscape. The Grampians Wine Region is celebrating 150 years of grape growing, so there’s even more reason to visit regional cellar doors and chat with winemakers. This season the Grampians celebrates its food and wine, famous sporting spectacles, music, and more.

There are so many beautiful places to visit in Victoria, the trouble is even I haven’t seen them all and we continue to explore whenever we can, I could go on and on, but I won’t one more region to visit is “The Murray River

Paddle steamer, The Murray, Victoria, Australia


Replenish the soul, reconnect with nature and share the best of the outdoor life amid the sunny climes of the vibrant Murray River region. Splash around on sandy river beaches, wander through towering red gum forests, or take a cruise downriver on a paddle steamer or canoe. Enjoy a party? Kick up your heels at music, food and wine festivals all year-round, delve into the rich pioneer history, and then stroll the fairways of some the country’s finest golf courses.

Barmah State Park

All the Information in this post has been taken from the website.

So Monday is the bog one “W” and you’ll finally get to meet my “Star SonWilliam….officially the last of my Flock.

U is for….


This fun challenge is brought to you by:

and today is the letter “U

The theme of my blog and this challenge has been about “family” because they are my job and they are who I spend the most time with so I have introduced you to most of them one more for letter “W” coming up, so these last few letters are starting to get tricky…so I am using “U” for “U”pdate!

I had endeavored to do my blog daily I’ve pretty much succeeded and along the way I do the odd challenge, like the NABLOPOMO which I did for Nov, Dec,January and February. I don’t know why I missed March but never mind, it did the trick which was to write each day with a prompt (or not) which was provided.. you can find out more about those monthly challenges here: I am lucky that my family support my blogging and allow me to use their funny, weird and wonderful stories I asked them all before I wrote about them… actually all except for Kit and Jarrah.

Another challenge I’ve been doing is “A year of Australian Writing” and that is run by Pip Lincolne over at : When I signed up for this I said “I am NOT buying any more books” ha! yeah right!! I did find a bunch on my bookshelves of Aussie authors..I also ended up at a Church book sale in January this year and I asked the lady who was working there do they have an “Australian Author” table? she pointed me to the place and I was chatting to her saying “I am doing a reading challenge to read only Australian authors” when one of the other ladies in the hall said “Are you blogging with Pip Lincolne?” I said “yes I am” and she went on to tell me that Pip is a friend of hers and although she’s not doing it this year she’s done challenges with Pip in the past! Small world! but it was also helpful because she and her friend went on a mission and found me a bunch of books from Aussie authors I’d not heard of and it’s scary to buy on someone else suggestions, but I read Nikki Gemmel’s “Shiver” and I brought her other book which she wrote anonymously called “The Bride Stripped bare” I haven’t started it yet though.

IMG_0148     IMG_0161

Here is a small sample of what I’ve got piled up waiting to read..

According to “Good reads” I’ve read.. 12 Australian books and one I gave up on.. so far this year!!

 I am currently reading “Adam’s Empire” by Evan Green which is a nice long book.. What I do with my books is part of a much larger challenge which I began in 2007.. the goal was “To read a Million Pages” When I have finished a book I try to do a book review on it.. so keep watching for those any book lovers out there.

As of right now I have read :180,432. Clearly this will be the rest of my life goal.

Another thing I started doing on my blog was a weekly check in with my Bible studies, but even I got tired of that, This week Bible study returned it’s been on a break and so we have just started “The Book of Leviticus”

GMG Bible Coloring Chart

This is the colour chart we use and so my bible is now getting very colourful.


 With the colour chart method


Close up of how different lines are coloured differently.. I am too pedantic most don’t do that.


Book of Leviticus we just started it this week, 


My Sister-in-law was eager to try a new crochet pattern so she made me this book mark

Another thing I was regularly blogging about was my Garden. Over the summer season I designed and planted a vegetable garden, I really enjoyed it, but now I’ve decided to give the garden bed a rest due to the fact that we are going to be going away travelling.

And finally the reason I started this blog so long ago, was to share my art with my pan pals who did not have Facebook. so I started a blog. Recently after becoming a Grandma I stopped doing art because I was so busy gazing lovingly at these little people.. but then late last year I realized I missed  my art, I miss the”getting lost” in my art, some days when Star Son was at school I could paint from 10 and till 3.00 pm and even forget to eat, and sure it was not something that I would share with others, but it was my way of chillaxin’ and maybe even running away from the real world. I had been doing online classes with different teachers, learning different skills and compiling them all in an art journal. This year I decided I was taking back my “Art time”   So My cousin read about her here: we have decided that once a month we will escape our houses and families and do an art class, one day or half day a month..

January we went to Woodend and did a “faces” class where we learnt to use different mediums and techniques.

February- We won a place in an art class held by Perth Western Australian Artist Melini Parker.

You can read more here:

March-  We started doing “Life Art” classes, having no idea we would be painting naked men or women.. we lasted two weeks.


Not my greatest of works, but hey it was an experience.

April- We did a 2 hour class with Melbourne artist Gayle Stone.. more inf here;

An Intuitive art class and we made a big mess but it was fun..

IMG_1505 IMG_1506

Intuitive art with Gayle stone.

Also in April, we did a two-hour class with Julie at the local art shop learning to use “Gelli Plates”

I brought the Gelli Plate to use for other things at home

Also during this time I have been working on a few little projects at home.

My Mother-in-law has recently gone into a care facility fondly called “the retirement home” you can follow along here: So my Star Son said he’d paint her a painting for her wall, I was allowed to help.. which translated into “you do it I suck!” so i had such a good time doing it and I was happy with how it turned out, I decided to do another one for myself…

Tanny’s version- Pugaliscious


My Version called “pugs ‘ n’ kisses

Pugs'n'kisses #2

Pugs’n’kisses #2

Tanny with her Pugaliscious painting Easter 2015

Tanny with her Pugaliscious painting Easter 2015



Pugaliscious on Tanny’s wall.

I love it so much and I don’t even like pugs!!

Then I started doing my first oil Painting, I haven’t even played with oils before, so I signed up for a course with Lucy Chen go here:  because she was going to teach us to paint “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” which is my favourite painting.

So that my friends, is an “U“pdate on what I’ve been up to recently outside of the A-Z blogging.