Just down the river (shoo lie loo)

I’m really enjoying the song “Shoo Lie Loo” by Elizabeth Mitchell. It came to me as a gift just this week in the form of her cd Sunny Day. I recommend it as part of your collection of music for children – joyful songs, great rhythms, real music that appeals to a child’s world. The whole cd feels like adults and children alike had fun making it. “Shoo Lie Loo” has everything my children love: a catchy tune that won’t drive you nuts, simple lyrics that can be adapted, a celebration of childhood. I promise you’ll love it. There’s a clip of it at the end of this post, showing the circle game that goes with it.

Autumn Leaf Fairy3My children and I adapted this song yesterday when we went down to the river – it just burst out when we started taking note of all the bird life we have down there. We live on a quiet part of the Nerang river – just about the point where the water turns brackish and is just a little tidal still. It is more like a creek where we are, with mostly low ankle-deep water running over smooth rocks and soft weeds.

It is an interesting environment with SO MANY interesting birds. It is a very exciting event when we spot the pelican that comes to visit every now and then! It is quite odd, seeing a pelican paddling upon our quiet creek. Once my husband watched an eagle fishing, and I’ve been delighted by the flash of brilliant blue from a kingfisher.

Once we started singing, we just kept thinking of more and more birds we have seen in our area and of course we started to make a list. Our next thought is to take a photo of each of the birds and make a poster or a guide-book of our own with them

Our song goes like this:

This cheeky little one landed in our backyard and lived with us for about a month before flying away again.

This cheeky little one landed in our backyard and lived with us for about a month before flying away again.

Just down the river (shoo lie loo)

To see who lives here (shoo lie loo)

Hey Cockatoo (shoo lie loo)

Fly away over yonder (shoo lie loo)

Our song went on and on with willy wagtail, swamp hen, eagle, magpie, butcher bird, galah, ibis, pelican …. the little ones and I danced in a circle, spinning around with our arms out as we flew away over yonder. So much fun.

End of the Doll Drought?


Lots of Lavendilly Dolls were born here a few years ago – and then my third child was born and all my energies went into her magical presence, along with her brother and sister. I was asked a few weeks ago if I could make a doll for a special little girl and I thought, “Hooray! It’s time for another Lavendilly Baby!”


Here she is. Sewing with a two-year-old is not necessarily a very productive experience! My little cheeky bubba ensured I made her a new doll of her own by smearing the first one with a bit something – so that has become hers and I had to start again to finish this little dolly, keeping her up high out of tempting reach for little arms when I wasn’t working on her. And then only working on her when my toddler was asleep, which was difficult as we keep the same hours these days. I don’t think I’ll be making many new dollies before Christmas, but I did enjoy bringing this one into the world. I love the bright colours of her clothes – all recycled fabric that I kept for something special like this. Her hair is soft fluffy mohair and her fringe doesn’t want to behave, but who’s hair does what it is supposed to do? She’s keeping it real. All the same, she will probably get another little trim before it is time to go 🙂

Welcome little one. What is your name?

Pocket Money and House Work – To pay or not to pay?

Do you climb Mt Laundry as often as I do? This is my Rosella sitting on top of Mt Laundry. It was a big climb up to the top and it was heaps of fun, before it exploded in a lava flow of clean clothes. Mt Laundry has an uncanny ability to erupt and re-build itself several times a week in this house hold. With two families living here, and six children, one of whom is in cloth nappies, the washing machine goes two, often three times a day. Our verandah is very rarely seen without a colourful display of clothing pegged to the wire fence.

I don’t mind folding laundry, but I do mind how often it needs to be folded, and some days I feel like I will never reach the peak of Mt Laundry at all. The children are well able to sort out their own clothes and at seven years and almost-four years of age they can do a fair job of folding their own clothes and putting them away, and jobs like this have by  necessity become a daily event.

Money for ‘treats’ is the thing for the oldest children in our house at the moment, but I am in a dilemma about whether to pay pocket-money for household jobs or not. My feeling is not to pay for things like doing the laundry, cleaning bedrooms, sweeping etc.

My kids have their daily and their weekly jobs: before breakfast they make their beds and tidy the floor of their room. They tidy the playroom before dinner, and sort out their clothes at the end of the day. On the weekend they help to tidy the house by cleaning their bathroom, vacuuming their carpet and tidying the verandah.

My feeling is that these tasks should be shared because they are a part of caring for our home, and as we all live here then we should all participate in the caring, and this should not be rewarded with money. Besides, I don’t get paid for house keeping, so how can I out-source this?! I really don’t want participation in household jobs to be reliant on how much the job is worth.

But I am prepared to pay for jobs that are not daily or weekly things. My son has earned his treat money for his school market day by dusting and vacuuming the inside of our car. He worked so hard and so diligently, and is so proud of his job. I’ve also got school holiday boredom sorted by offering to pay children to roll felt balls and felt strings for me. I can use the felt  for my craft and my felting business, and the work is wet, soapy and perfect for hands that need to be kept busy.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, and how you manage pocket-money with your children at home.