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A gift is defined as something given willingly to someone without payment.  Over the last few days I have received gifts of different sorts, all given willingly and without payment, and am feeling very blessed.

My children have returned!   (A gift itself).  My house has been so quiet in their absence.  Now they are back, and the usual chorus of demands, complaints about their siblings, inability to find their own possessions, and arguments over what they are watching on TV in the late afternoon has returned.  With that has also come many, many, spontaneous long hugs from all three, tales of their adventures while they were away, and joy at reuniting with their friends (one friend rang an hour after she returned from her family holiday to invite the middle chick over for a sleepover that night!)  We have had a Uno tournament (I am the least successful participant so far – yes I am trying to avoid calling myself a loser), Lego building, and fort building using the kit that the boy received from his aunt for Christmas (sheets, ropes, clamps – brilliant).  So many gifts captured in that one paragraph – hugs, time, joy, love.

The artist in residence has been working her way through the book of papercraft that she received for Christmas.  (I bought it online from the Book Depository (one of my favourite sites) and didn’t realise until it arrived that it contained patterns from several of my favourite craft bloggers!  Bonus! )   She and the eldest chick helped me to choose fabric from Hawthorne Threads yesterday (another of my favourite sites), and are planning sewing time and projects for themselves.  The boy has learnt to use a hammer to nail in loose nails on the deck, and today washed the deck with his water pistol.

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Of course the return to the household and our usual chaos is not without hiccups –kids and mother all getting a bit irritable as we readjust to being in the same space again.  So today I rounded them up, plus a visiting friend, and the dog, and we went for a walk to find a geocache in our neighbourhood.

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We haven’t been geocaching for a few months, so once the kids remembered the joy in finding caches (including the eldest willingly climbing a gum tree covered in giant bull ants to retrieve the cache) we then had to find more!  A trip in the car around the nearby area saw us find four in total, including one very tiny micro-cache, hidden in plain sight, that impressed us all.  So with rediscovered enthusiasm we are planning a day of geocaching later in the week.  For those unaware of geocaching, it is a form of outdoor treasure hunting – a free pastime that involves us finding caches that others have left simply for the joy of having people find them and log them.  You can learn more, or register here. True gift giving!

I managed to complete a custom sewing order for a friend last night, and achieve two new firsts – I used bamboo wadding, rather than fusible fleece, and quilted the cover of the art wallet in a form of free motion quilting.  While I have a long way to go, it was a good experience and I am keen to keep practising and experimenting with the technique.  That came about through the gift of support from my friends in my new venture, and the ability to use advice generously and freely shared on the internet.

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One of the consequences of the children returning is that I need to get more organised, and tidy up my sewing projects rather than leaving them lying around as I work on them.  I have been sewing at one end of the house and ironing at the other (as a result of a built in ironing board) and kept thinking that a smaller, portable, or table top ironing board would be a good addition, and might reduce the trail of scraps and threads from spreading quite so quickly through the house.  Then last night I saw one come up on Freecycle, asked for it, and was able to pick it up this morning – and it is like new!   A physical gift!  Next up is some more fabric storage.  Might have to look at freecycle for that too.

After days of very high temperatures and a couple of days of extreme fire danger, today we didn’t reach 30˚C, we have had some light rain, and the whole day was overcast.  Just the relief we (and our fire fighters) needed before we head into another week of high temperatures.

The final gift to be mentioned in this post is food related.  A friend dropped in on her way home from the shops last night to leave me with a beautiful fresh piece of salmon, announcing that she had bought too much for her family to eat.  Seared on the barbeque, and eaten for dinner last night with potato and salad (while the heathen children had sausages after refusing the fish) it was a gift to the taste buds!  As I know she reads the blog I can say thank you here as well as in person!  (I have to add that the boy announced that his “favourite fish is flake.  I know it is shark Mum.  I like eating sharks”. Insert the image of a mother rolling her eyes here.)

Of course, just taking and not giving myself would be a good way to ruin the karmic balance, so as a small gesture towards redressing that balance can I encourage you to look at the facebook page of a friend, set up to assist people to understand the benefits of hypnosis. I have never tried this, but after reading her information have a much better idea of the benefits offered. She lives in country Queensland, but is able to provide her services through the wonders of skype, so you can contact her from anywhere in the world! You can find all the details here – https://www.facebook.com/#!/JessieHodgsonHypnosis

So – what gifts did you receive this week?

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