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Sharon de Bruyn

Skype Brings Us Together

Family Life Comments Off on Skype Brings Us Together

Due to the huge distances between us, the internet has been a godsend for me.  My daughter publishes a lot of photos onto Photobucket and Facebook, so I can easily share in them.  From there, I am able to pass them onto others as well.

Skype Brings My Grandson Closer

I am eager to share how Skype is bringing us closer to family.  As you know Skype is used for chatting online or talking via video cam with friends and family.  It is great for accessibility and reducing phone bills.

Well now, it has opened up a whole new world for me.

My daughter rang and asked me to put Skype on.  Well, the video screen opens up and there I am watching her give Kaiden his first meal.  What an experience!  Rachel has a laptop, so regularly now, when it is convenient for her, she will call me on Skype or text me if I am not in the office, to hop online.  I am greeted with scenes of Kaiden, either being fed, on the floor playing or in his chair.

It is like they are in the same room as me.  I am able to talk to him and he responds.  Kaiden is able to see and hear me clearly.  It warms my heart to see him concentrating on the screen and babbling away to me.

Our little grandson is 6 months old now.  How times flies!  It doesn’t look like it will be long before he crawls.  I watch him on the mat, getting his backside up in the air and his legs moving, though his arms and legs have no idea yet that they need to work together.  Regardless, bit by bit, Kaiden is able to inch his way towards the laptop to get closer to me.  I guess it won’t be long before Rachel will have to keep the laptop out of his reach.  I remember mine rolling over and over to get where they wanted to be before they could crawl.

Rachel has started taking Kaiden to swimming lesson.  He is loving it.  I have posted one here for you to see.  He is cute isn’t he?

Here is another cute one 🙂

I look forward to catching you next time.

Have a top day 🙂

Sharon

Meet Kaiden…..He Is So Cute

Family Life Comments Off on Meet Kaiden…..He Is So Cute

My  goodness, the time has flown and it is now the end of September.  So much has happened, so much to be thankful for.

We Have A Lot To Be Thankful For…..

Our gorgeous little grandson arrived on the 26th April early in the morning.  Our daughter handled it all so well and Kaiden Joel arrived safe and sound without problems.  I was privileged to be present during the birth, a very special occasion.

Two months later my husband, son and I moved to Victoria.  The last few months have been very eventful for me.  We now live in a beautiful farming village fairly close to Melbourne.   So while we get to enjoy the beauty and relative quietness of the countryside, we are not far from the conveniences of the city.

I have booked flights to visit the north in the New Year for which I am very grateful.  Catching up with friends here has been a real treat.

We have had lots of rain here, so it will continue to be green here for a long time.  Quite a contrast to where my daughters live in North Queensland.  We live in an amazing country to be sure.

I won’t let it go so long before I post again.  Take good care until I see you again.

Sharon 🙂

When Will He Arrive?

Beginnings 4 Comments »

It is just under 3 weeks till our first grandchild is born.

Our Excitement Builds As Rachel’s Time Draws Near

The eight months or so have flown and now we have a countdown going. sharons-phone-003

We already know that it is to be a boy and the nursery is full of blue things.

I have had the delight of watching my daughter prepare for the arrival of her little man. With great joy she has bought what was needed and with the help of her husband painted and prepared the nursery.  Now we are all playing the waiting game.

It has been 8 fun months, watching the child grow, hearing about all that my daughter is experiencing and seeing in their eyes the love they are longing to share.  I remember the excitement I felt when I was in their place many years ago.  Having children is indeed being blessed.  I was fortunate enough to have four of my own and to see them living independent, responsible and happy lives brings me deep fulfillment.

As the days go by, I wonder, will it be today?  Secretly I am willing him to wait until his due date.  I am going to Vanuatu in 10 days and am hoping that the little one will wait until I am back to make his arrival.  Although, I do know that his mum would like it to be over soon.  The last month of pregnancy brings lots of discomfort and it is easy to want it all to hurry up.

I look forward to being able to hold the new baby in my arms and help out when his parents want a break.  This is the first of many grandchildren to come I hope.

Life brings us many joys and children would have to be at the top of the list.  Yes, they are hard work and at times, you wonder when you will ever get time off for yourself, yet you will and you do  I have time to myself now, the years have flown by very quickly.  I do remember being told many times when my children were young, not to wish it away and that they are gone before you know it.  It is true, it passes quickly, even if you don’t think so at the time.

I wonder who the baby will look like?  How his personality will be?  Will he be short or tall?  What family resemblances will  I see? Most of all I am pleased to be living close by where I can be involved in his life and help out wherever needed.

Life is so very good!

rachels-baby-shower-074

For Sale / For Rent

Purchase Or Rent 1 Comment »

What’s your house really worth?  If you choose to listen to the news lately, it is full of doom and gloom.  The world is in a state isn’t it!  Well, we have been through bad times before and we will again, so maybe now is a good time for all of us to do a spring clean on how we think financially to see where we can improve.

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DO YOU RENT OR OWN A HOME?

That is the question…..and only you can answer it for yourself.

Think for a moment, if we are in the process of owning our home, what will we eventually pay for it after all the repayments &  interest, council rates, maintenance and improvements etc?  At what age will we be free from the Bank?  Usually, unless a person is careful, they will spend a good part of their lives paying off their home.

Now if we were to rent and put the same money aside as if we were making repayments etc into a high interest account over the same period of time, a large sum would be available.  I am not suggesting you leave it all in the one bank account but just for an example.  There is an article well worth reading that goes into great detail about renting versus home ownership.  Click on the following title to read the article.

What’s your house really worth?

Now renting does not suit everyone:

– the rent may increase regularly

– the owners may sell the property and you might have to find somewhere else

– it may need improvements that can take forever to get done

There can be many variables but this goes hand in hand with renting.

If you choose to own your own home you may find it an endless pit of bills with rates, maintenance, renovating etc.

Many people buy investment homes, rent them out and then live in a rental themselves as this gives them more tax benefits.  In the end renting may prove a cheaper alternative but it is not for everyone.

We all make our own choice where and how we live.

Here is a picture of where my father lived as a boy.

kerosene-shack-grandads

His parents were poor.  They lived in a tent in the show grounds for some time before my grandfather built a house in the bush which he made out of kerosene tins and whatever else he could salvage.  My Nanna used flour and sugar bags as curtains, tea towels, pillow cases etc.  They were also used to make tough mats for the dirt floor. For a time they washed in the nearby creek.

nanna-washing-in-creek

Although my Dad’s family knew hardships, they were happy there.  They lived as they could afford to.  Later on, as they prospered they were able to move into town.

In today’s climate, people are getting upset and terribly worried about what is happening in the world around them.  Maybe it is time to check to see if we are living above our means.  Are our houses homes or are symbols of status?  Are we living beyond our means?

Think about what you really want in life.  Without planning, setting goals and putting them into action, you will find your progress slow.  Sometimes, you need to make tough decisions to get ahead in life.

So whether  you choose to live in your own home or rent is up to you  Life is full of choices, don’t just plod through life and see it as a hard slog.  We only get one life, so plan, set goals and work towards living the life of your dreams.

Best wishes,

Sharon
Copyright© 2009

POST SCRIPT:

My father gave me this updated information, so I thought I would share it with you:

This is an old Kerosene & tar drums house Snows dad Leslie built out in the bush, about 2 miles out of Atherton On the left side was a big bedroom, all slept in the 1 room dived off at one end.
On the right was the kitchen. It had dirt floors, a wooden table & stools. Used newspaper on the table for a tablecloth. A recess for the wooden stove. Had a hanging safe & put wet bags over it to keep it cool. A big round tin tub in the kitchen to bath in and all shared the same water. Mainly kept clean by swimming, took a cake of soap with us.
Had bags on the windows to keep out the sun an rain. A carbide light sat on the kitchen table and kerosene lanterns we carried around.
A copper to boil the clothes in. Had a good walk down to the creek to fill the kerosene tins with water for washing, cooking, drinking.
We use to catch chooks in the trees and bring them home and catch some wild ones and put them in the chook run. Had them for eating and eggs.
We had a tree climbing kangaroo as a pet, we would let him out of a morning and he would come back at night and we would lock him up.
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Our toilet was a Dunny which was a shed with a bag door.  A big hole in the ground with a square box over it to sit on. A big nail on the wall that held the newspaper squares, that was used as toilet paper.   It was quite a walk to the dunny.

Living on $20 a week, it was possible

Budget Living 1 Comment »

While I was reminiscing about when my children were small, the current world financial crisis was in the back of my mind.

I am not sure if some of you will be old enough to remember when the Pyramid Society crashed back in the 90’s.  Those my age and older certainly will.  We had two young children and a mortgage at the time.  The interest rates were going up, up and up.  We were paying 17. something %, say 18% interest on our loan, leaving only $20 left in the pay packet to live on.

3-girls-boolarra-2

Those were worrying times, a bit like today.  My husband and I managed to get through by living as cheaply as we could.  We only had one wage coming in so I could stay home with the children.

Some of the ways we managed to save a bit was as follows:

We bought powdered milk (yuk but it did the job).  Ate very little red meat, if we did it was a small amount of mince mixed with sausage mince  With this I made small meat balls with lots of sauce, savoury mince dishes, spaghetti bolognaise etc.  To extend the mince, I bought packets of TVP (dried soy grits), soaked it and added it to the mince.  It wasn’t really noticeable.  I soaked beans and added them to most hot meals.

We bought the cheapest bread we could and used every bit of it.  Any left overs, were put in with the meat, or put in the bottom of a baking dish, topped with whatever I could find, sprinkled with cheese and beaten eggs poured over the top.  (Salt, spices, herbs added for flavour)  Always very filling.  Rice was a good filler and added to most things.

Breakfast was good old fashioned oats or rice if that was all I had.

I made chicken soup out of chicken carcasses as I couldn’t afford to buy the whole thing.  This was boiled up for the flavour and the soup filled with whatever goodies could be found.  This was served over a bowl full of rice with Maggi on top.

We were blessed to have friends and family who would arrive at times with a bagful of groceries for us.  The goodness in others touched us deeply.  Neighbors would bring over veges from their gardens.  Ron and I would go along the bush roads and collect the wild green apples.  These we would peel and cook into apple sauce which was a delight on cereals, rice, custards etc.

I made our own washing machine liquid by boiling down cakes of pure soap.  We used the car only when needed, walking was the norm.  I brushed my teeth with salt to save the paste for the kids.  Their clothes were homemade and the bed quilts were patchworked from scraps.  No fancy materials back then.

We managed and remained healthy.  When hard times come, you just cope, you have to. We knew it wouldn’t last, things always get better.  Even bad situations look good if you see it in the right light.  We learnt heaps from our experience and are thankful for it.

So with the media making the world sound so grim lately, remember the world has been through very tough times before and in those times, there were people who through desire and need, saw opportunities around them and acted on them while others sank in despair.

Look around you, opportunity is always there.

See you next time.

Sharon
Copyright © 2008

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A Bun In The Oven

Family Life no comments »

As I write this, I am filled with joy and anticipation in the knowledge that we will be grandparents in the New Year.  27th April 2009 to be exact.

rachel-n-leon2

Holding a newborn baby in my arms is a wonderful experience but to know that this child will be our first grandchild fills me with great emotion.  Memories flood back to my own children as babies.  It sounds a long time ago but it doesn’t seem that long.  I have been looking forward to grandchildren for some time even before my own children were fully grown.  Babies, I love babies!  As mine grew, I longed for another and another.  But after four, my husband said he thought that was enough.  Over time, I gradually adjusted to the idea and was very thankful for the family we now had.

My Mother was one of 12 and my Dad, one of 4.  Having four children was a reasonably small family unit as I grew up but by the time we began to start our own, a family of four was classed as large.  Usually, people had to buy another car with a bench seat, a 4WD or a Tarago.  We drove around in two cars for the first 6 months if we needed to go out as a family or one person would stay behind.  These days, there are many more cars to choose from and more family friendly.

On the accommodation side of things, we added an extra bedroom after a few years.  I remember visiting my Grandma’s house and wondering how she slept all her children in the tiny two bedroom home.  My mum laughs and says that they slept 3-4 in the double bed and top to toe in the single beds on the veranda.  I might add that the verandah was not enclosed so they used to burn manure outside at night to keep the mozzies away!  Also as the new babies came along the older ones left home.  Gran’s kids lived outside during the day and only came in for meals, baths and bed.  They lived a very happy, carefree life.

Times change and I wonder how people’s lives will be in another 30 years or so.  Technology has progressed so quickly, it is hard to keep up, but also it brings us together.  The World Wide Web has brought us so many possibilities.  We can choose to shop online, study online, explore online, talk to family and friends online.  Even work online.  The possibilities are endless!

I have been browsing maternity sites, nursery sites, baby name sites, book sites and it goes on and off from the comfort of my own home.  Actually, time disappears when I am online.  There is so much to see and be involved in.  My daughter keeps in touch through the net, so she doesn’t feel far away.

I am sure we will be grandparents more than once and I look forward to it all.  To see life through the eyes of a child is to relive your own childhood experiences again.  If anyone out there is in the same boat as me and awaiting a grandchild, please add a comment to my blog so we can share in your joy as well.

To give is to receive.

Want to know how our family survived living on $20 a week?  Look out for my next blog….  😉

Sincerely,

Sharon
Copyright © 2008