• All About Fern
  • I Could Be a Celebrity (and Other Random Thoughts)

    I’m really good at thinking, but not so good at doing. Take this week, for example. I had many thoughts full of many ideas about really good blog posts. And did I write the blog posts? No. I did not. It would be easy to blame the school holidays on my inability to just sit down and do the things I tell myself I will do, but the truth is that even if the kids were at school I probably wouldn’t have written the things I could have written. I am quite lazy, you see. And also I’ve got my YouTube channel, which seems to be a lot easier than blogging for some reason. Maybe because speaking is more forgiving than writing. But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about, so I will move on.

    Because I am happy to both accept and admit that I am lazy, I am also happy to indulge my laziness. And so, I’m just going to bullet point some of the thoughts I had; some of the blog posts that could have been, if you will. This way I get to feel like I did blog the thoughts, and you, whoever you are, gets a small taste of what you’re missing out on (or not, as the case may be). So. Here we go.

    • I got my sister-in-law a copy of Yes Please by Amy Poehler for Christmas, because I was certain she would like it. She did like it, I discovered on Christmas eve, when I saw that exact book tucked into her suitcase. Crap. So, the new Yes Please went back to The Warehouse and was exchanged for something else, and the old Yes Please was passed on to me so I could read it, because yes, my sister (in law) had already finished reading it in its entirety.
      I haven’t made it past the preface, so I probably shouldn’t even be talking about the book yet, but I’ve got to say I found it all ridiculously inspiring. I’m not sure why, exactly, but Ms. Poehler was talking about how writing is really hard, and how it feels damn near impossible to make time to pen an entire book in between raising kids and working and generally being awesome. And somewhere in amongst all that my brain was all, Oh my god, Amy Poehler is just a person. 
      Now you might be reading that and rolling your eyes and thinking, Well, duh, but I’m pretty sure that most of us view celebrities as some sort of super-human subspecies. And it just started to occur to me that that is so not the case. All these people we look up to, whose work we watch and read and consume, are just like you and me. They’re really not that special. And I dunno, I just got to thinking that if a little girl called Amy could grow up to be a celebrated comedienne called Amy Poehler, then who’s to say that a little girl called Anita can’t grow up to be a kick-ass woman called Fern who is celebrated for her talents too?
      I mean, sure, it’s likely my imagination kind of ran away with me a bit, that happens to me quite a lot, but I’m beginning to feel like there’s nothing stopping me from achieving the things I want to achieve.
      2017 could be my year…
    • I’ve been getting really grumpy with my kids, and it’s not that they’re being extra annoying, it’s that I’m being extra impatient. This is one of those things that makes you feel a bit shitty about yourself, because the thought that you are the problem is a hard pill to swallow (cliche, don’t care), but whatever. Sometimes you just have to accept that you suck and then figure out a way to stop sucking so much.
      My way to suck less is to start my day with a slight attitude adjustment (please believe that I’m not trying to tell you how to suck less, this is just something I’m trying to do – I will probably forget all about this within a week). Instead of waking up and being all, Ugh my kids are so freaking annoying, why are they so loud, why are they so whiney, why do they want me to pay them attention when it’s only six thirty in the morning, I try to wake up being all, Wow, the kids seem pretty needy today, I better get up and help them get their breakfast, after all, I get super hangry about everything when I go too long without eating…
      It all sounds a wee bit lame, I know, but it does seem to make a difference. Oh, and turning on Netflix and dozing while the kids snuggle beside you and watch a shitty cartoon for half an hour or so helps too. May as well make the most of the school holidays, right?
    • We’ve been spending a crap ton of money lately and it’s really got to stop. First there was Christmas, and then there were general school holiday expenses, and now there is me sitting on my computer looking at all the emails that get sent to my spammy hotmail account advertising unmissable sales and unbeatable deals on pizza delivery.
      I’ve started thinking that I should attempt some sort of Frugal February thing (is that a thing? I feel like it should be a thing). Like maybe I should try and not spend any money outside of the essential living costs? Maybe I should try really hard to spend less on groceries each week, to stop buying takeaways all the time (Burger Fuel, I’m looking at you), to stick to regular blocks of cheese instead of treating myself to two or three rounds of camembert each week…
      I’m going to have to think about this one a little more, because I think we all know that I really do love to shop; I really do love to spend money. But I’m kind of realising that spending money doesn’t actually make me any happier, and as much as I fight it, my Dutch in-laws could teach me a lot about managing money and being content with what we’ve got.
      Not spending money is pretty boring though.

    So yes, that’s about it really. I mean, it’s not, but that’s all I can be bothered writing, and the kids are asking about lunch, and there’s only so many times I can say, Yes, I’ll get it for you soon, I’m just working at the moment, before they completely lose the plot.

    If any of those things sound like any of the things that you think about then let me know. And if you want to join me in attempting to be frugal in February then flick me a message, because I kind of reckon it could be sorta fun if I have someone to hold my hand through my month of cheap(ish) living.

    In the mean time, you can watch this video about my plans – not goals – for 2017. None of it actually ties in with this blog post, but it does tie in with the theme of random and somewhat jumbled thoughts, so I feel like it works.

    Happy day, yo.
    – Fern xxx

     

    We Made This Life
    You Baby Me Mummy
  • 100 Days Project
  • Sorting Sh*t Out – Day 17

    The Kids’ Drawing Drawers

    Kids’ artwork. It’s parenting’s best kept secret. No one ever warns you just how freaking annoying all those pens and pencils and crayons are going to be. No one tells you that your children are going to end up with 100 different colouring, activity and puzzle books. No one explains that all kids are hoarders, and that every piece of paper they’ve ever laid a pen on must be kept until the end of time. Sadly, this is just one of those things that you only find out about once you’ve had kids of your own. And by then it’s too late.

    In our house we keep all the kids’ artwork sh*t in the bottom two drawers of a side table. We call them the drawing drawers. The drawing drawers are stuffed full of almost all the things my kids need to get creative. They are also stuffed full of junk and rubbish and crappy crayons that no one has ever used. And, for whatever reason, the drawers have recently become the baby’s favourite pastime. I sh*t you not, every single morning the first thing he does is crawl over to the drawing drawers so that he may pull them open and sprinkle pencils and pencil sharpenings all over the floor.

    img_0451

    Last weekend my daughter begged me to let her sort out some sh*t of her own.
    “I really want to tidy up the drawing drawers,” she said.
    “Okay fine,” I said.
    So she emptied everything out all over the floor, got all mad at her baby brother for ruining everything, and ended up stuffing all the junk right back into the drawers. I’m not even exaggerating. She actually made the drawing drawers situation worse. This is how they looked when I opened them this afternoon.

    img_0453
    img_0452

    To be frank, I was pretty ruthless. There was no f**king around. I was looking to throw over 50 percent of the contents of the drawers away, and I think I actually made it to 60. Any pen without a lid? Gone. Any colouring books with scribbles on more than half the pages? Gone. Any piece of “artwork” that my kids had left crumpled and forgotten? Gone. I chucked and I chucked and I chucked. And what we ended up with was this:

    img_0457

    img_0456

    All of a sudden two drawing drawers feels a little OTT.

    – Fern xxx

    Have you missed a day in my project? Don’t panic! Just click this link and every post I’ve written for my 100 Days series will appear on your screen like magic.

  • 100 Days Project
  • Sorting Sh*t Out – Day 16

    The Baby Boy’s Drawers

    At the risk of becoming the world’s most boring blogger, today’s post is basically a repeat of yesterday’s post. I’m sorry, it’s just the way things turned out. I couldn’t sort one side of the chest of drawers, and then not sort the other side of the chest of the drawers. So, because I’m afraid you’ll quit reading, I will share some interesting tidbits about my day before I get into the sh*t sorting side of things.

    1. I deeply upset my mother this morning when I told her that I am changing my name. This, in turn, upset me. My intention is not to tell my parents that the name they picked for me sucks. Rather, my intention is to make my life a lot easier. I didn’t choose the Fern life, the Fern life chose me.

    2. I ate two pies for lunch. Two. The butter chicken pie was a mistake, but the mince and cheese one was pretty tasty. I probably won’t bother buying pies again for quite some time though.

    3. I’m struggling to come up with a third tidbit. Let’s just talk about the sorting now.

    So today I went through the baby’s drawers. They weren’t even that messy, but there were clothes that were too small, clothes that were too ugly, and clothes that were too unnecessary. After a quick hunt through the box of bigger baby clothes, a cull of the current baby clothes, and a re-folding session, I had everything looking practically perfect.

    Ummm. Oh. Okay, well here’s a third tidbit after all. I just tried to upload today’s photos and they’re not on the memory card. They’re not on the memory card! I don’t know what the hell is going on, because I definitely took photos. Oh man, I totally took all the photos! There were even chubby little baby hands in the corners of a couple, because the chubby little baby was “helping” me sort his sh*t out. ARGH!

    It’s too late now, but tomorrow I will take new photos of the tidy drawers. There will be no before shots. Sob. I actually can’t believe this! What the hell?!

    Edited/Updated: I took new photos today. This is what the baby’s drawers look like. Just imagine how they’d look all messed up – that’s what it was like before I sorted this sh*t out.

    img_0458

    img_0460

    img_0462

    img_0464

    – Fern xxx

    Have you missed a day in my project? Don’t panic! Just click this link and every post I’ve written for my 100 Days series will appear on your screen like magic.

  • 100 Days Project
  • Sorting Sh*t Out – Day 15

    The Big Boy’s Drawers

    It finally happened. The excitement has worn off. Today I put off sorting my sh*t out until the very last minute. Well, okay, not quite the very last minute, but it was the end of the day. All four children were home. I needed to cook dinner. And this bloody project was hanging over my head causing my mind to think two opposing thoughts at once: Just don’t do it today, nobody will know /Just hurry up and do it, everybody will know. Obviously, the second thought beat the first. I found some sh*t to sort.

    I cleared off the top of my boys’ drawers the other day, but didn’t bother going through the drawers themselves. So, today I figured I may as well tackle the big boy’s drawers. I’ll save the baby’s for another day.

    The top drawer was the worst. Undies and socks. Slippers and tights. PJs and onesies. Winter hats and swimming shorts. They were all mixed up together in an incredibly shallow drawer. I took most of that sh*t out. What was I thinking, putting it all in one drawer? Past me is a total weirdo.

    IMG_0417

    IMG_0419

    Drawer number two was not problematic at all. Tops. All kinds of tops. Singlets, thermals, skivvies, long sleeved Ts, and shirts. I removed a couple of Too Small items, and the rest were simply folded and replaced. Tidily this time. Well done, Fern. You are a very good girl.

    IMG_0422

    IMG_0423

    Drawer three was a bit ridiculous. My son has somehow managed to acquire more hand-knitted jerseys than anyone could possibly need. He also has multiple hooded sweatshirts. How did this happen? How did we become a multi-jumpered family? And what is a mother supposed to do about it?

    Actually, I don’t know why I’m asking so many questions. I just took a couple of the jerseys out and put them into storage. Problem solved.

    IMG_0426

    IMG_0428

    The fourth and final drawer contained pants. Oh, and a rash shirt, of course. The pants situation was unremarkable, though I did make the executive decision to do away with the red pants. The red pants are about four sizes too big, and should never have been placed in the drawer to begin with. As for the rash shirt, well! Who mixes pants and rash shirts? Madness!

    IMG_0430

    IMG_0431

    In the space of 15 minutes I had completed my day’s work and was ready to crack on with dinner. I mean, sure I just moved the jumble of drawer rejects into the cupboard, but I’m planning on sorting out the cupboard anyway. At least I didn’t just leave it all piled on top of the chest of drawers…

    IMG_0433

    – Fern xxx

    Have you missed a day in my project? Don’t panic! Just click this link and every post I’ve written for my 100 Days series will appear on your screen like magic.

  • 100 Days Project
  • The Fern P Method (Sorting Sh*t Out – Day 14)

    Before I get into today’s project, there is a little something I need to get off my chest: The 100 Days Project is a creative venture that I, along with a couple of thousand other people, signed up to voluntarily. Some people are painting. Some people are collecting. But my creative venture is Sorting Sh*t Out. Perhaps that sounds a bit lame. Perhaps that doesn’t strike you as creative at all. But it is. It is my project, and I am tackling it in a creative manner. I come up with my own solutions to all my own messes. And then I write about it. And if that’s not creative then I don’t know what is.

    What isn’t particularly creative, in my opinion, is following a method that someone else penned and that a million people decided was the best thing ever. I’m happy to admit that the KonMari method could actually be the best thing ever. And I’m even happier that it has worked, or is working, or will work for many of you out there. But personally, just personally, I am not interested in the KonMari method. In fact, I couldn’t care less about the KonMari method. You see, I kind of feel like a mess is a mess, and although the photos I’ve been sharing with you lately may suggest otherwise, I do know how to clean up a mess. I’m more than capable of cleaning up a mess. And I am really quite enjoying cleaning up my own mess in my own way. The Fern P Method to Sorting Sh*t Out is working. So, while I appreciate people are just trying to be helpful, I would appreciate it even more if you could all just appreciate my way of doing things.

    Whew. Okay. Let’s get on to today’s mess…

    The Hallway Cupboard

    Ah, hallway cupboards. They’re linen cupboards really, at least they’re supposed to be, but in my house (and I’m sure countless others out there) they contain a hell of a lot more than linen. For example:

    IMG_0407

    IMG_0409

    What you’re looking at here is a combination of cleaning appliances, sewing appliances, and dehumidifying appliances. You’re also seeing shopping bags, school bags, and overnight bags (all empty). On top of that there are air beds, air pumps, craft supplies, extension cords, and an old cushion that I’ve been saving for five years in case I ever need stuffing for something. I mean, you never know when you might need stuffing for something…

    Truth be told, I was in a sh*tter of a mood today and really did not want to sort any of this out. I tried to shove all the crafty type stuff (including the sewing machine) into a 90L storage container. And when it didn’t fit I got all pissy and had to take a break. Turns out I just needed a snack, because after three pieces of toast with banana (yes, three, I’m a lactating mother, dammit) I had the lower levels of the “linen” cupboard looking like this:

    IMG_0413

    IMG_0411

    IMG_0415

    Where’d the pillows come from? Well you see, this amazing thing happened when I put everything inside the cupboard away properly. There was suddenly an empty space on the shelf! So I moved the pile of pillows down from the very top shelf (not pictured), thus eliminating a very real health and safety hazard, protecting my family from suffocation by fallen pillow stack.

    The Fern P Method to Sorting Sh*t Out: Saving lives since six hours ago.

    – Fern xxx

    Have you missed a day in my project? Don’t panic! Just click this link and every post I’ve written for my 100 Days series will appear on your screen like magic.

  • 100 Days Project
  • Sorting Sh*t Out – Day 13

    The Top of the Drawers (Boys’ Room)

    Three weeks ago we had a weekend away. For most families that seems to be a semi-regular occurrence. For my family it was a Big Deal. We loaded up four children and enough luggage to get us through an entire month without doing any laundry, and we headed out of town. I took the girls to Disney On Ice. It was amazing.

    We got home very late on the Sunday afternoon. We were tired. But, as I pointed out to my husband with pride, I didn’t just pile all our bags up in the living room. No. I was a very good girl, and I returned everything we’d taken with us to the rooms in which they belong. Tomorrow, I remember telling myself, I will unpack it all properly.

    IMG_0403

    I am the worst. Not only were both boys’ Weekend Away bags (still full of clothes) piled on top of their drawers, but so were a few random washing stacks (clean), nappy packets (empty), shoes (well, half a pair), and a ridiculously enormous plastic storage container that held a small assortment of baby clothes that we will never use. I honestly do not know why I allow myself to live this way. There is something wrong with me, I’m sure of it.

    On the bright side, mess like this is fairly quick and easy to sort through and clear away. Sure, there were a bunch of things I just shoved into the boys’ already overflowing wardrobe, but I made sure I put at least some of it away properly: Jerseys into jersey drawers. Shoes onto shoe racks. Discarded wrappers into rubbish bins. Yes, I am definitely making progress (and I don’t just mean in terms of sh*t sorting).

    IMG_0406

    Looks much better, eh?
    – Fern xxx

    Have you missed a day in my project? Don’t panic! Just click this link and every post I’ve written for my 100 Days series will appear on your screen like magic.

  • 100 Days Project
  • Sorting Sh*t Out – Day 12

    The Laundry Cupboard

    Because I am an amazing mother, I store dangerous chemicals and cleaning products up high where the children can’t reach them. I mean, okay, not all the dangerous chemicals and cleaning products, but most of them. Some of them. A select few. Alright, basically it’s the cleaning products that I barely ever use that are actually stored in the cupboard. And I think the reason I barely ever use them is that I forget they exist. Today I opened the up high laundry cupboard, and this is what I saw.

    IMG_0397

    Obviously I do keep my laundry powder and fabric softener in the cupboard, so I do open it most days. But there’s a difference between opening a cupboard to quickly grab a particular product that you could find with your eyes closed, and opening a cupboard purposefully to ascertain what the hell you’ve been storing inside it for the last three and a half years of your life. As it turns out, there were products on the top shelf that I have not used once the entire time we have lived in this house. They were dusty. The metal on the bottom of the cans of carpet cleaner and furniture polish was corroded. Three different bottles contained only a swish of chemical in the bottom anyway. So I chucked them out. Goodbye!

    I’m all out of my all time favourite Kmart baskets, so I went all thrifty-frugal-mama on it and used ice cream containers to store sh*t in instead. It actually wasn’t a new idea, there are ice cream containers in the before photo, but a) they weren’t matching and b) one of them was on top of the cupboard. So. The new way is better.

    IMG_0400

    What the photo doesn’t show is all the extra work I did in the laundry room today. I (the husband) actually pulled the washing machine out from the wall and I (not the husband) cleaned the floor and walls behind it. I also wiped down all the shelves, cleaned the glass in the front door, and removed dust and cobwebs from the corners of the room. Considering that I’ve also washed three loads of laundry, prepared a cooked breakfast for the entire family, played board games with the children, and helped the biggest kid make a loaf of banana bread today, I think I can safely call myself a Number One Mum. Move aside, Father’s Day. Today should really be all about me.

    – Fern xxx

    Have you missed a day in my project? Don’t panic! Just click this link and every post I’ve written for my 100 Days series will appear on your screen like magic.

     

  • 100 Days Project
  • Sorting Shit Out – Day 11

    Shoe Storage

    Unlike most women, I really do not care about shoes. In fact, I kind of hate shoes. In fact, I once went through this phase of just not wearing shoes. Ever. It went on for almost a year, the whole barefoot thing, and spanned an entire winter. Even having to walk across frosty fields to get to my lectures on time wasn’t enough to deter me from my naked-footed life. Yeah, I was weird.

    So anyway, shoes. I still find them quite annoying. I find them especially annoying when everyone leaves them lying around willy nilly, creating mess and clutter at every turn. That’s not to say that shoes are the cause of all the mess around here, but they play a big part. I mean, just look at these photos:

    IMG_0389

    This is the dusty shoe rack in my dusty laundry that, as I mentioned yesterday, doubles up as an entry way. This is where we are supposed to put our shoes.

    IMG_0390

    This is the area right outside our front door. This is not where we are supposed to put our shoes. And it’s certainly not where we are supposed to put our dirty socks. But, here we are.

    I wasn’t entirely sure how to sort this sh*t out. So, rather than go into it with a plan of attack, I decided to just start cleaning and tidying in the hopes that something would come to me. And, thank the universe, something did. When I moved the shoe rack out its spot so I could clean the floor underneath it I realised that actually the laundry/entrance way looks a sh*t load better without a dusty black rack shoved in the corner of the room. Space! Clarity! Cleanliness! It was everything I’d ever dreamed of, and I knew the rack could not return.

    IMG_0391

    IMG_0393

    That left the area outside the front door. I’d cleaned the shoe rack off and it looked a lot better, but it just wasn’t going to provide enough shoe storage for our needs. Then I remembered I had a second shoe rack exactly the same. And that the second shoe rack is actually able to be connected to the first shoe rack to create a mega shoe rack. Four levels of family shoe storage? That’s not excessive at all.

    IMG_0395

    – Fern xxx

    Have you missed a day in my project? Don’t panic! Just click this link and every post I’ve written for my 100 Days series will appear on your screen like magic.

  • 100 Days Project
  • Sorting Sh*t Out – Day 10

    The Washing Machine

    Just in case you thought my life was even remotely glamorous, this morning I woke up with a swollen, painful boob. Mastitis. Great. There’s nothing quite like knowing you have sh*t to sort when you feel like sh*t.

    Understandably, today’s sh*t sorting was more of a token effort. The top of the washing machine.

    IMG_0380

    I am extremely lucky in that every person who enters my home has to pass through the laundry. Nothing makes me feel more house proud than opening the door to a guest, and inviting them into my wash room. I mean, just the other day I had an actually glamorous woman stop by my house, and I was not at all embarrassed by the balls of dryer lint and scraps of paper littering the top of my washing machine. There was not a second that I felt like I wanted to curl into a ball and die. Especially not when I saw her looking at the giant ball of dryer lint I’d left on the top of the washing machine. No siree!

    The top of the washing machine, if you have a front loader, is a really great place to leave things you don’t know what to do with. For example, your husband’s old hair clipper set that doesn’t work properly, or the collections of miniature toys and items of nature that your six-year-old stuffs in her pockets every day. It’s also a great place for collecting all the dust and fluff and sand that the clothes dryer blows all through the laundry. It’s very handy.

    For the sake of this project, however, I am willing to give up one of my favourite sh*t dumping grounds. I am also willing to do away with the linty film to which I have become accustomed. In fact, despite the sore boob and pounding head, I managed to wipe down, clean up, and clear off the top of the washing machine in no time at all. And now it looks like this:

    IMG_0385

    I done good.

    – Fern xxx

  • 100 Days Project
  • Sorting Sh*t Out – Day Nine

    The Rubbish Bin Corner

    As much as I would like to go around claiming I am a nature-loving, earth-worshiping hippy, the truth is my family and I produce a lot of waste. Do we recycle? Yes. Do we use cloth nappies? Yes. Does that mean we’re doing everything in our power to help reduce waste? No. Not by a long shot. Some things, you see, just don’t fit in with my lifestyle. Take online grocery shopping, for example. This is not something I am willing to give up. It’s true that Countdown doesn’t seem to give two sh*ts about the planet, using as many plastic bags as humanly possible when they pack my groceries, but I would give two sh*ts if I had to actually step foot inside a supermarket every week. And if that means we always have a million plastic bags floating around the house then so be it. Sorry, Mother Earth.

    Another thing we do in this household is burn innocent, defenseless, oxygen-giving trees for warmth. We chop them down and cut them up and dump them all in a pile out the back of our garage. The husband then brings the dead trees from the pile up to the house in fugly black, plastic tubs. He then piles them outside the living room door. And I then have to stare at them all day every day for at least three months of every year.

    Now that you have a better understanding of the kind of people we really are, I think you are ready to see today’s before photo:

    IMG_0364

    What you are looking at here is:
    – One rubbish bin (with lid), almost completely full of rubbish
    – One rubbish bin (without lid), full of plastic bags (concealed)
    – Two plastic bags, full of more plastic bags
    – Four enormous cardboard boxes, all of which have been used by the children as playthings, one of which is full of other ripped up boxes (yes, that includes pizza boxes), another of which is housing a half-full bag of (more) rubbish
    – Two fugly black plastic boxes full of chopped up dead trees
    – Two strings of fairy lights that I put up at Christmas time and never bothered to take down

    Trust me, I am aware that all these things together make one ungodly eyesore. Remember, I could see this mess from my living room. And I am always in my living room.

    IMG_0365

    Remember how I said I’m not a real hippy? Okay, well, I have to admit that I did something Very Bad today. I started pulling all the plastic bags out of the bin with the intention of dropping them all off at the kindergarten (kindergartens always need more plastic bags). But the bags were wet. And dirty. And stinky. Like actually too stinky to be used for transporting soiled toddler undies. So I threw them all away. I stuffed them all inside that half-full rubbish bag and tied off the top. I assume I will now come back as a cockroach when I die.

    On a more environmentally friendly note, I did recycle all the cardboard (except the pizza boxes, which got burned in the fireplace just like the ones from yesterday). I feel good about that, but it does mean we won’t be able to recycle anything else for a while. The wheelie bin is chockablock.

    As for the dead trees, well they were returned to the pile at the back of the garage, and replaced by a living tree in a pot. Well, just living. I kind of forgot that plants need water, which meant that the poor little lemon tree had its first drink in months just the other day. Eep. I’m hoping that now I can see it from the living room, I’ll actually remember to nourish it. It might even give me lemons (the good kind!) in return.

    IMG_0370

    – Fern xxx

    Have you missed a day in my project? Don’t panic! Just click this link and every post I’ve written for my 100 Days series will appear on your screen like magic.