Sampling the goods…

Last weekend we visited a couple of the iconic Sunshine Coast farms to sample the goods and to show the girls a bit of the paddock to the plate philosophy.

We started with picking strawberries at Strawberry Fields. (Now tell me you are not singing “strawberry fields forevvveeerrr”) 

If you’ve read some of my previous posts you would be aware that there has been a bit of bad weather recently on the Sunshine Coast. Translation: Strawberry Fields Mud Pit! Not that this deterred us or in particular worried  Marla, who has earned a bit of a reputation around Cotton Tree Holiday Park for being the kid that always jumps in puddles. In fact earning the nickname “Princess Puddleduck”. Of course my favourite part of this was when I directed Dave that the farm workers were putting bark chips over the mud puddles so that we could walk on them instead of through the mud. So Dave walked on them, and Dave being Dave is always wearing thongs and he sunk ankle deep into the mud. Ha! I’m still laughing.

We eventually waded through the mud down to the strawberry patches (when I say patches they are a bit more impressive than the couple of plants we had back in Adelaide that only ever produced one strawberry a year) and began to pick enough strawberries to feed a small nation.Just quietly we spent enough on them to fund the economies of said small nations and that didn’t include the fact that both Avalon and Marla probably ate their own body weight in strawberries while they picked them.

Oommeergggddd I think on the first taste we went to strawberry heaven. These were some of the most juicy and delicious strawberries I have ever had the pleasure of consuming. But then it got even better when they offered us chocolate dipping sauce!! Holy chocolate strawberry batman, way to win hearts.

strawberryfields

After lunch of chocolate strawberries we rolled into the car and went to Maleny to do the tour of the Maleny Dairy which we didn’t get to do a few weeks ago.

Despite the fact that I am lactose intolerant and unable to actually eat anything produced at the Dairy the rest of the GudLanges consume a massive amount of dairy products daily. Just between the youngest two we can easily go through a three litre bottle of milk a day, plus cheese, plus yogurt and since visiting the dairy the biggest hit, the Maleny Dairy custard.

The farm tour is a fantastic way to show the kids where their milk comes from, although Avalon wasn’t completely convinced that allowing a cow to spurt milk into her hand to drink was a great idea. It also gives them an opportunity to pat baby farm animals, which is always a winner. I think the free samples at the end was probably Dad’s favourite part though.

Malenydairy

The Maleny Dairy is a great example of how a local family based company can embrace and use the power of the tourism market to have a massive impact on how people consume products at the supermarket end of the chain. By showing people the production process, and by giving a face to the people who rely on the product it makes you really think about the impact the supermarket giants have on farmers and their families. The deregulation of the dairy industry forced many farmers to sell their farms. Maleny Dairy was one of the few that have survived by putting in their own production factory and sourcing milk from other local dairy farmers as well as their own cows.

Even if just one person each tour changes their milk consumption and buys farmers own milk then its a successful tour. It certainly made me rethink our own buying patterns.

Food for thought… and here’s a photo of the Big Pineapple – because big things.

bigPineapple

The GudLanges xx

Stand Up Paddle Boarding – Finding a new happy place

Back in the age of BC (before children) one of my happy places was to go surfing. I was probably the crappiest of the crap surfers that ever graced the ocean but I loved it. I loved being in the ocean, I loved the feeling of finally catching a wave, and I even loved being dumped by the waves. I loved the feeling that after being out in the surf for a couple of hours I was exhausted but felt exhilarated.

Other than music, nothing else gave me that happiness.

Then came my two amazing girls and I had to put surfing and playing in my band in the background.

Last October we went camping at Brighton in Adelaide. It was a practice go for the trip we were about to embark on. That was the first time I really took notice of people Stand Up Paddle Boarding and I wanted to try it so badly.

I didn’t get an opportunity then and at almost every port we’ve stopped at in the last six months I’ve said, this is it. I’m going to get out there and try it but for whatever reason it hasn’t happened. So today I finally got my first chance to SUP with Ocean Addicts at Maroochydore on the Maroochy River and I’m hooked.

Nathan from Ocean Addicts was great and gave me a beginners lesson and then it was basically just get on and go.

sup4

My legs were a bit wobbly to start with but I got up and stayed up! I apparently wasn’t paddling deep enough for the first hour I was out there and I was moving an awful lot slower than everyone else but I was up and I was loving it. Again I was probably the crappiest of the crap SUP rider on the river but I was out there and loving it! I seriously think I’ve found a new happy place.

I got stuck on a sand bar, I saw massive crabs scurrying away under the board and a sting ray swam under me. It was amazing and I was a bit quicker in the second hour after having some correctional advice on how I was paddling.

Today’s conditions were perfect. The river was still and I managed to stay dry for the whole time, although it got a bit dicey when a boat went past and I had to balance over the ripples. The level of skill required for paddling in the surf is clearly a whole other level. Maybe one day I’ll get there.

I promised the girls a go as well so they were both pretty excited to get to sit on the front and have a ride around in the shallow water. Avalon loved it, Marla wasn’t so sure but once she relaxed she enjoyed her ride too.

Dave even got out and had a go. I’m not sure he will take it up as a preferred sport but he enjoyed it.

sup3

So the verdict, after such a long wait to try was that I absolutely loved stand up paddle boarding. Thanks again to Ocean Addicts and to Nathan for getting me going.

The GudLanges xx

I wish I was a doctor so I could make your sad go away

"I wish I was a doctor so I could make your sad go away". That's what my almost four year old said to me today. And my heart shattered into a million pieces.

Today hasn't been a great day.

I've had a rotten few nights sleep because there have been some pretty strong winds around. In all honesty I didn't sleep because I was a bit freaked out about whether our little caravan could withstand it all. Along with the noise of tarps flapping around. 

All I wanted was to make sure my family were safe and in the middle of the night with those winds I wasn't sure I could.

The caravan was fine but sleep deprivation, along with mega three year old tantrums, and an almost two year old also starting to assert herself, meant my temper was at a pretty short length. 

Add into that an inability to work out because of the weather and no child free time, with the looming deadline of a half marathon, and it's pretty much a recipie for an unhappy house on wheels. 

I'm not proud of how I've handled today. I try and practice as many elements of peaceful parenting as I can but sometimes it gets too much.

So I guess the point of this post is to show that although we are living the dream sometimes it's still hard work. 

Now though I am setting the reset button giving my babies a big hug and moving forward.

The GudLanges

Glasshouse Mountains

more love rainbow

I want to start today by stating my absolute horror at the news of another mass shooting in the USA. I don’t give a rats what religion you follow or don’t follow. There is no other entity that would condone the hate behind such an act of violence. There is no religion  that can shield what is an act of homophobia which quite frankly in today’s society should not even exist.

The Stonewallers, the Mardi Gras 78’s and every queer activist that has gone before put everything on the line to fight for the right to live with dignity, respect and acceptance. That an act such as this can continue to happen shows just how much further the world needs to come.

I know I am leading a fairly sheltered life at the moment. I don’t have a lot of interaction with the news cycle which is a massive leap from where I was in the ‘real world’. But even in my little house on wheels bubble this makes me so angry.

What on earth will it take for the US government to start taking gun control seriously? America has already buried so many children, so many brothers, sisters, mums and dads. Surely as the body count increases there has to be some commitment to dealing with this.

So onto more pleasant things, this week we went camping at the amazing Glasshouse Mountains in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, (yes Mum I know you think we are camping already but in a tent rather than our little house on wheels).

glasshouse mountains

We stayed at the Glasshouse Mountains camping ground just on the edge of the national park. The camping ground is run by one of the most eccentric characters we’ve come across. He was quick to point out that a lot of people don’t like him and he doesn’t care. And it seems he has a bit of a reputation around town with the Visitors Centre staff asking us how we were getting on with him.

I personally thought the camping ground needs to have a character like him in charge. It adds to the experience.

Setting up camp of course presented a couple of issues as it always does. We discovered that our blow up mattress had holes in it and it was then too late to find a new one. We tried to patch it up but it seemed there were too many holes. A few glasses of wine fixed the mummy guilt I had at sleeping on the perfect single mattress while my husband and children slept on the slowly deflating queen mattress. But then I woke in the morning to them all sleeping on the flat ground. Whoops.

Then there was the issue of the night being oh so cold. That’s easy fixed when you are married to a tradie. Lets just fire up the heat gun. Voila instant heat.

camp

Travelling with kids means that we can be limited to the types of hiking experiences we have in places like this but the kids handled the Glasshouse Mountains Lookout track pretty well. And yes we hiked with a pram again. What a ridiculous thing to do.But its really important to me that I instill a love of walking in the bush in my girls. It can be one of the most exhilarating and grounding things and we are so amazingly lucky in Australia to have so many experiences so accessible.

We had lunch at the Glasshouse Mountains Lookout Cafe after working up our appetite and then did a dash to Caloundra to get a new mattress so that everyone was comfortable on night two.

In the afternoon Dave took the girls back to camp so I could get some time on my own to run up Mount Ngungun. The view from the summit was amazing. And a run was exactly what I needed to clear my head from the red wine fog from last night. Night two was much quieter in comparison.

view from the top

On Sunday we packed up and drove to nearby Maleny to do the Nature Trail walk. Just over 4km one way through some hinterland rainforest. Its beautiful. The Opi Opi River is home to lots of platypus and there are a couple of ‘viewing stations’ but we weren’t there at the right time of the day to actually spot any this time. The only wildlife we spotted were some kangaroos in the distance and a few cows. At least yesterday we came in close contact with a goanna which was pretty exciting.

After the walk the plan was to have lunch and then walk back to the car and then go to the Maleny Dairy for a look but then  – disaster. Dave went to pay for lunch and all of his bank cards were missing from his wallet. It seems that when the girls were playing in the car yesterday, pretending to be mummy and daddy, they took all the cards out of the wallet and they were somewhere in the car. So Dave sprinted back to the car and turned it upside down looking for them. He eventually found them and a quick lunch turned into a more than two hour episode trying to keep two children under four under control!

We still wanted to check out the dairy but looking up the address also uncovered the important fact that they weren’t open on Sundays. Guess the cows need a day off too.

We did however discover that Maleny hosts a knitting festival! Who knew wool was so versatile.

Now to unpack everything and get it cleaned before the rain comes this week.

The GudLanges xx

It’s raining so now what….

We have been on the road for almost six months and part of our thinking in basing ourselves no further than Townsville over summer was so we would miss the worst of the wet season. So far we have barely seen any real rain or major wind on our travels and I guess we had become a little complacent with regards to the weather. Easy to do when only four days before the official start of winter we were still swimming in the ocean.

almost winter

So now four days into winter and I am writing this after experiencing the worst of the weather we have seen. And to be honest we didn’t even see the worst of this weather event.

Based here in Maroochydore, I believe the official rainfall for the last 24 hours was around 85mm. This is nothing compared to a couple of hours down the road on the Gold Coast where they received around 280mm over a 24 hour period and its still raining there.

The rain and wind have now stopped here thank goodness. We have been really lucky and our little pop up caravan and all our tarps and awnings have held up and kept us and everything we have dry. Some of our fellow travellers have not been so lucky,one of our neighbours has had their camper trailer collapse under the weight of the water and everything has gotten wet.

First thing this morning I walked over to the beach to see what the ocean was doing and it was amazing. It was a massive, amazing, wild mess. The sky was just grey and the rain stung as it hit me in the face. It was an incredible reminder of the beauty and the danger of what the ocean can be.

The rain has been hanging around here for the last two days and apart from the distractions of making sure our camp is secure, there is the other major factor. How do you keep two children under the age of four amused and happy while they are essentially confined to a space of around 3.5 metres x 2 metres?

Its not easy but we have survived. I’ve of course succumbed to the biggest parenting fail and allowed the television to be switched on during the day, but we’ve also managed to include some actual learning and structure to the experience as well.

Luckily my girls love to create. We’ve done lots of drawing, and lots of practising writing letters and numbers with my eldest while my youngest has fun drawing on the table (thank goodness baby wipes remove crayon). We’ve read books, often the same book over and over. We’ve had tea parties and put the teddies and dollies to sleep and woken them up.

And when it got too much, thankfully there was the odd break in the rain and we went outside and jumped in puddles and rode bikes and scooters around the caravan park to try and burn off some energy.

Of course Marla, my almost two year old, has also chosen this week to give up on day sleeps so its been even more full on, especially when she’s gotten to the 4 o’clock witching hour and wants to go to sleep then. Not happening sunshine.. push it out now till bedtime.

This has probably been the most challenging few days of our trip so far, just because we’ve not had the option of just going to the beach or the playground or for a walk in the pram to calm tempers (usually mine) and distract bad behaviour (usually theirs but not always).

The best thing is though we’ve got through with no damage to either our little caravan or most importantly ourselves. In fact if anything I think the girls have even learnt about having to compromise due to factors completely out of anyone’s control. These are things they probably would have learned at home too but living in a caravan I’ve found experiences seem to be amplified. The good stuff is off the radar amazing and the not so good stuff is the basis for major life lessons on how to handle (or not handle) a situation.

So now I’m going to enjoy this glass of wine and go to bed, and hopefully not be woken by crazy loud wind and rain pelting down on us tonight.

Sweet dreams

The GudLanges xx

Run Noosa Run…

noosa sunrise

As many people, both those who I know and those that may just follow our adventures on social media would be aware, last weekend I completed my first half marathon since becoming a mum.

The last time I ran this distance was in May 2011 when I ran the Greenbelt half marathon #greenbelthalfmarathon in Adelaide, which is a beautiful run along Linear Park. At the time I was in training to do the Trailblazer 100km (as it was then known) which raises money for Operation Flinders #operationflinderschallenge. I was part of a team of three and we completed a grueling 100kms in around 32 hours of hiking. At the time I had all the time in the world for training and thought I was at peak fitness. I completed the half in 2:20.

My training for the Noosa half marathon has been fairly disjointed. Obviously there’s the factor that we are living in a caravan and Dave is going off to work early most mornings which means early morning and long runs are only a weekend luxury. There is also the child factor. During the week I am most times limited to walking and running with the kids in the pram, which we do a lot of. I often get comments around the caravan parks about how much we walk. I have also been doing a lot of High Intensity Interval Training #HIIT which has been great for strength training and also great because it doesn’t take up a lot of time.

I lost focus when we recently went back to Adelaide but with the help of Kelly Delfos and her #fitmum12weekchallenge which I have been taking part in the last 4 weeks I’ve got back on track with my nutrition and training. The result of this was completing the #noosaultimate #runnoosa in 2:01:05. A time I am so proud of!

noosa finish

noosa results

Recently I also joined a national running group for mums, Running Mums Australia #rma. This is important because I turned up to the start line on my own but with the identifying #rma t-shirts and headbands among the starters I found a supportive and friendly group of other women also running. So much so that I found myself running the whole race with a fellow RMA. What an incredible experience when women support women. Thank you again to this wonderful human. You really made it so much easier when it started getting tough.

We also had our first experience at a Big 4 Caravan Park. #noosabig4 What fantastic places to stay when you have kids. We would have loved to stay longer with the massive jumping cushion, swimming pool, decked out games room, onsite hairdresser and cafe but maybe next time.The girls loved it and I have to say it was kind of nice to have hard walls for a night in the cabin, as much as I love our little #jaycodove pop up caravan.

The #noosaultimate Sports Festival was a fantastic event to restart what will hopefully be my ongoing running training. Before the run started, although it was the coldest morning the Sunshine Coast has apparently experienced ever, I got to see one of the most incredible sunrises over #mainbeach. (Photo above) Hastings Street in Noosa is always busy but to see this town, with the only other people around all heading to the start line, before the sun came up, with the fairy lights showing the street, and then only one other person at the beach was incredibly special.

Now to recover and continue with my training because in only four short weeks is the Gold Coast Airport Marathon #gcam which I have registered to do the half marathon there as well  #goldcoastasicshalfmarathon. Lets see if I can crack the 2 hours.

The GudLanges xxx