Thursday, December 31, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
This was Grotbag on his first day of Kindy. I can't believe he has completed the year and has amased a great group of friends as have I with the Kindy mums.
He looks so young in this picture and I have to remember that he was only 3 when he started Kindy! He was just a baby!!!
Of course big changes happened in the first week of his Kindy in that I gave birth to his little brother so our household had alot of adjusting to do - and so I am really proud of him!
Below is Grotbag now - a precotious 4 year old who often sounds like he is 14 - God help me when the teenage years come!
So, we got a letter home saying that the last day of school there would be an incursion where a Magician would come in, they could dress up (Ben 10 is Grotbags hero of choice) and to bring a plate of "healthy" party food!
Now I am all for the healthy stuff, but come on it's the last day of their first ever year at school! So I have rebelled on behalf of and made Mini White Christmas Chocolate Crackles.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I asked Santa if he could send an Elf to us who had finished helping make all the toys and he sent Chris (who looks suspiciously like Grotbag?).
Chris is a little mischievous Elf who gets up to no good when we are all asleep. He also might leave little tasks for Grotbag to do or even hide so Grotbag has to search for him. He is also reporting back to Santa on Grotbag's behaviour.
Well this is what I have told Grotbag anyway.
This again is not one of my brilliant original ideas as all of those have already been light bulbs above somebody elses head. No I just stole it from Raising Z who wrote her post about Park The Elf arriving at her house a couple of weeks ago.
It seemed like a great tradition to start but the Elf Magic Website didn't post the Elves to Australia and I thought it was a bit late to start so thought I would do it next year! But then...I would like to say...magically...I saw Chris the Elf in a gift shop window in Melbourne literally 5 minutes before I had to leave for the airport and so dashed in and got him and brought him back to Perth.
Where, as luck would have it, they had a whole heap of Elves just like Chris in the Airport gift store...go figure?
So once Grotbag had gone to bed I pulled Chris out from my under my mountain of new clothes, bags and shoes I had purchased in Melbourne (yay) and started to tell Hubby the story when he pulled a funny face at me and made pointing motions to the door. After 5 years of marriage and 7 years of being his partner in Pictionary/Dramatic Charades I took this to mean that Grotbag and sneakily got out of bed and was listening at the door. So I told Hubby the story of Chris that I wanted Grotbag to know and then once Grotbag was asleep I put him at the end of Grotbag's bed for him to find in the morning.
Yeah, should have known my son a little better than that! He ran out in the morning asking where the Elf was and had completely missed him at the end of the bed! But once he found him it was like he was glued to Chris. He took the Elf EVERYWHERE with him all day.
I said he could take Chris to bed with him but he was a bit freaked out at the fact that Chris might come alive at night so left him with us.
So, below is how we left Chris last night for Grotbag to find this morning. Playing the Wii and eating Freddo Frogs (Grotbag's favourite chocolates!)
When Grotbag got up this morning we heard him gasp and start whispering to Chris and telling him off for eating the chocolate. Then Grotbag came storming into us to tell us what the naughty Elf had been up to. It was great fun I must admit! We also had to take Chris to school so he could tell his teacher about him so he has been a big hit with Grotbag. Tonight we are going to complete one of Grotbag's puzzles and make it look as if Chris has done it.
Any clean suggestions (all the dirty ones have been giggled over by me and Hubby!) as to what Chris can be getting up to at night will be appreciated in the comments!
Please also don't forget to vote for me...what am I on about...read yesterday's post HERE!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
WHY YOU SHOULDN'T TRY AND TAKE CHRISTMAS PHOTOS OF CHILDREN IN THE AFTERNOON WHEN THEY HAVE HAD NO SLEEP!
Now granted doing the shoot in the afternoon wasn't one of my most brilliant ideas. Especially since Grotbag had been to a play centre in the morning with his buddies from Kindy then went straight to a swimming lesson and so was kind of exhausted. Bugalugs hadn't slept all morning so woke up just before the shoot and poor little pickle hadn't slept all day either after a morning of swimming and mum's group. Yeah I know, set our selves up really didn't we!!
Anyhoo I wasn't very organised (ha funny that!!) I originally thought about doing the shoot outside on the grass (I thought the light would be better) but that would involve me actually picking up the dog poop when Hubby would be home tomorrow! So we decided to do it inside but I have brown leather couches and no Christmas Decorations up yet (Hubby home tomorrow and is the first job on his list, after the dog poop!!) so thought I would improvise with a bit of background colour. Naturally I thought red so I fished around in the linen cupboard and found Grotbag's single red fitted sheet to drape across my dull unfestive brown leather couch. I fitted it on but I had put it on the 3 seater instead of the 2 seater and realised that the boys wouldn't be able to sit on it without it pinging off. Grotbag, who loves a photo shoot, had been on at me all afternoon about taking the photos and instead of waiting (like he had been told 10 million times!!!!) he just jumped on the sheet.
Well it all happened quite quickly really and before I knew it all 4 corners had pinged off and completely surrounded Grotbag! It made him jump as he wasn't quite sure what was going on and then proceeded to burst into hysterical tears and try (unsuccessfully) to wriggle out of it.
So I did what any caring mother would do....I laughed hysterically and took photo evidence!
After he finally got out of the sheet he took off his Santa hat threw it on the floor and stormed out of the photo shoot! The male version of Naomi Campbell in the making!
But through the whole thing all I kept thinking was.....WOW! This is going to make a great entry in Parenting BY Dummies Merry Effing Christmas Competition. If you haven't checked out Parenting By Dummies you must having been living under a Blog Rock! It is one of my favourite blogs, so get out from under the rock and go check it out!! So have submitted the above for the competition and I am still laughing thinking about it!!!
The afternoon wasn't a complete disaster. After cajoling Grotbag to come back to the shoot we got underway. I now know why they say never work with animals and children (is there a difference?).
Here are a few choice picks of the good ones...not brilliant...but OK!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Over my past few posts I have received some wonderful comments and also attracted a few more followers but have not had the time to reply to my comments or come and check out your blogs. This has been because of The List which I am loving plowing through but it has taken me away from my new best friend - the blogesphere!
I love reading comments and checking out new followers and their blogs so I will spending the next few days, not working on my posts but coming to check yours out and replying to my wonderful commenter's and checking out their blogs too!
I can't wait to meet you all you new bloggy friends and re-acquaint myself with some old buddies!!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The Weight Debate
I am currently attending Weight Watchers Meetings. Yes, hello, my name is Amanda and I have an eating problem. Well it's not a problem as much as a niggle (or jiggle) in my side.
I have never been ultra slim although looking back at photo's of me when I was at school I was pretty average and would be happy to be that average again. My weight started creeping on after I left school. I blame this on not riding my bike once I got my licence and having a disposable income to spend on takeaway. In my early 20's I realised that my height (158cm) was not conducive to my weight so I joined Weight Watchers and lost 5kg which was great and I felt fantastic, fitted into my old clothes etc.
At 23 I moved out of home and slowly it all started to creep on again, went to the UK a couple of times and added some Heathrow kilo's and so on and so on.
6 months before I got married I joined a gym, went everyday and lost a bit of weight but the change was mostly inches and toning of my muscles which I liked. A few months after I was married I fell pregnant with Grotbag and it's all been going down hill ever since.
After Grotbag I gave myself some leave and then we started trying for another baby so naturally my attitude was "well what's the point I will be preggers soon" and low and behold 18 months after Grotbag I did fall pregnant but unfortunately miscarried. The messing with hormones, the unhappiness of it all plus still wanting to fall pregnant again made weight loss a very low priority. 9 months later I fell pregnant but again miscarried. It was all too much, but I suddenly realised I needed a new focus as the baby making was all consuming.
So again I joined Weight Watchers along with Bling (my cousin, who is more like a sister and will make many an appearance in my blogs. So called as she likes a bit of Bling!). I lost 9kg just in time for my work Christmas party and felt fantastic. Then Hubby and I were told that to have another baby we would need IVF. I will probably talk about this in detail another blog but needless to say it involved lots of emotions, lots of drugs and lots of luck. And lucky we were. First time lucky and 9 months later Bugalugs entered this world! Through my pregnancy I got gestational diabetes and also had a hemorrhage which meant I couldn't do anything that raised my heartbeat which meant no exercise or even walking too far.
And so here I am again, carrying baby weight, emotional weight and the occasional Hungry Jacks weight. It's coming off. A lot slower this time and fluctuates depending on the time of the month but I have managed to shed to date 3.1kg (6.8 pounds) and feel much better for it too. I know I have to lose the weight. Having gestational diabetes means I am 50% more likely to get Type 2 diabetes when I am older and this is something that I really want to avoid. I have no more excuses, no more babies on the way and I need to be fit to keep up with my two growing boys, and I want to be a good example for them.
Some days are harder than others. I love food and love cooking so it's all about balance. But I will get there...because at the end of the day I have no alternative!
*** Post Script
I stopped going to Weight Watchers and the fluctuating weight (I was told this was to do with my hormones still correcting themselves after having Bugalugs) each week was doing my head in even if I had had a great week I would sometimes have put on half a kilo - it was too devastating. I realise that what I really need to do is exercise but so far it's just a theory! So the saga continues....
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I would love to take credit for this idea but like most fabulous ideas, someone else thought of them first! I found this little gem in "The Very Useful Christmas Book" by Taste.com.au which came free when you purchases 1of 6 other cooking magazines.
The recipe is called "Abby's Cookies in a Jar" Basically you put all the dry ingredients in a jar (the ones below are Decor 1L screw top jars from Big W), layered up all nicely like in my picture below....
Every year we get together with 3 other couples and their kids and have a Christmas lunch, we give small pressies to the kids and basically have a nice little catch up before Christmas. We did that today and I gave each family a jar of my cookie mix above. They LOVED the idea. But to sweeten the deal even more I made a batch of the cookies for them to try so they knew what to expect. My picture below of said made cookie....they were delish if I do say so myself!!
So...here is the recipe straight from the book if you can't be bothered going to the links above:
Abby's Cookies In a Jar
Equipment - You'll need a 1L glass jar with a lid
3/4 cup (110g) plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (75g) firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
3/4 cup (65g) rolled oats
100g craisins (dried cranberries), see variation (I used sultanas, dark & white chocolate in the ones I made above as I ran out of craisins for the gifts, m&ms would be cool too)
130g white chocolate chips
Extra ingredients for making cookies
125g butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl. Spoon the flour mixture into a 1L (4-cup) capacity glass jar. Top with brown sugar, then caster sugar. Top with oats, then craisins, then chocolate chips. Seal jar. Give as gift.
To make cookies, preheat oven to 190˚C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Empty jar into a large bowl. Add butter, egg and vanilla. Stir until well combined. Shape tablespoons of mixture into balls and place on baking trays approximately 5cm apart. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, swapping trays halfway during cooking, or until edges are lightly browned. Turn biscuits onto a wire rack to cool. Serve.
Notes & tips
For double choc chip biscuits, substitute craisins for dark or milk chocolate chips.
Download and print out the gift tag, complete with cooking instructions here
I understand this is quite a common idea in the USA so any of my readers from across the pond have any different variations to share please let me know!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Anywhoo, one of the first tasks I tackled after I wrote The List was clearing out my Tupperware cupboards - yes plural - I actually have one full kitchen corner cabinet, two dish drawers and a smaller draw all allocated to my plastic obsession (yeah, I know I can see your OMG expressions now!)
Hubby has no patience when it comes to putting dishes away, especially the plastic fantastic and so they just get thrown in and the door quickly shut hoping that they don't fall out the next time the draw is open. Which they usually do...the day after he has flown out again to work....so I have no one to swear at. This manifests into me doing the same thing having no time to neatly stack everything and so a jumbled mix of bowls and lids are left to their own devices.
At my Pink Ribbon Breakfast I had Tupperware come and show their wares as they donate 10% of all sales to the NBCF and also gave some great donations to the raffle. And of course I had to buy some so the day came when the delivery arrived and I literally had no where to put it. So this was number one of The List .
Well I even surprised myself with how much I had. Below is a picture of all the Tupperware that was in my cupboards.
This picture did NOT include:
- The myriad of inferior plastic that I also own (Decor anyone?)
- The kiddie plastic taking up one whole draw (IKEA, Take & Toss)
- The 32 (yes I counted) Tupperware containers that were in use in the pantry, fridge and freezers.
- My Tupperware Picnic set
- The new Tupperware that had been delivered including a 9 piece 'Outdoor Kitchen' set of funky black Tupperware.
This is the part where I get all defensive and justify it all. I'm good at it...I do it to Hubby all the time...
There are only a few things in that picture I do not use and after this clean out am donating to friends - they are the Fridge Smarts (the rectangle thingies with the breather holes) - never could get the hang of them, they take up too much room in my fridge and I go through my veggies too quickly for them to be any use.
That means that EVERYTHING else in that picture does actually get used. Especially my Illusion Bowls (left of the picture, blue lids with the salad servers sitting on them). In summer they are never in the cupboard but are full of salad. They are used at every BBQ and would have to be the best Tupperware purchase EVER.
My newest fabulous piece is the Rice Cooker (round red thingy front left) BEST RICE EVER and I can tell will be getting a lot of use.
Everything has now been put back, within easy reach and not just piled on top of each other so Hubby won't be bothered to put it back properly. I gave a few older bowls and lids to my mum for the holiday house as well as some inferior plastic and odds and ends as well. Everything now has a place and is easy to find and put away and gets used.
Many people have asked me over the years why don't I become a demonstrator. Well for one I don't have the kitchen space! And two, I don't want my love to be tainted which I think it might. Plus party plan income is really only good if you can have a lot of parties and with Hubby working away I would constantly have to get babysitters.
I have been to many parties over the years and can usually tell a new demonstrator what she needs to know and there are not many things left for me to buy. But it never stops me buying - I call it investment shopping! Hey there are worse things I could be doing right?
Well I am just happy this little task is off my list now and I can enjoy my fantastic plastic in all its glory sitting proudly in my cupboards. Now, where did I put that latest catalogue.......
Do you have a Tupperware addiction? What is your favourite piece? Is yours neatly stacked or a jumble of lids and bowls crammed into a draw? Let me know your plastic secret!!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
That has been what my life has been the last two weeks hence my lack of posts.
Let me tell you a little story....
When I was pregnant in Bugalugs last year Hubby and I got into panic mode about "getting things done to the house". I needed to change the BIG junk room to a SMALLER junk room so that the baby could have somewhere to sleep. We had also ripped up every shred of carpet as they were disgusting from the renters who had lived here before we bought our house and one day (after vacuuming and realising it had made no difference) I told Hubby I would rather walk on concrete than the carpet. We hired a skip the next day and Hubby ripped the lot up.
Then I panicked that we needed flooring because of Bugalugs imminent arrival plus the house was so dusty with concrete floors and Grotbag couldn't play very well on his playroom floor! The only place in the house which didn't have carpet was the kitchen/family/dining room plus the bathrooms and laundry. Yes, that meant that all the bedrooms, the junk room and the playroom didn't have carpet. Which also meant that to lay new flooring (not carpet, dog hair and carpet don't mix, we have commercial wood look vinyl) EVERYTHING had to come out of the rooms before it could be laid. Remember I am 7 months pregnant at this point.
We called in family to help and by the time the flooring guy came all that was left in the rooms were the beds. Everything else was on and in my dining room. I wish I had taken a picture because it was like a huge mountain of crap. Most of it was from the Junk room and as storage is a problem in our house, there was no where to put it. There was also lots and lots and lots of baby stuff, the cot, change table, baby bath - all that had been stored in the junk room from when it had been used by Grotbag. This was all done TWO WEEKS before the flooring guy came because of Hubby's work pattern. Hubby came home the week the floors were being laid and then flew back before there was a chance to move everything back. So for another week I sat with the contents of most of my home in my dining room.
Then one night after a wonder baby shower, my waters broke and I went into early labour.
I was having a planned C Section at my OB/GYN insistence because of previous procedures and it wasn't supposed to be for 3 weeks. Yeah, Bugalugs wanted out and wasn't going to wait. Hubby was away and couldn't believe he was going to miss it (he couldn't fly out till the next night as there were not planes!) and so Mum was called in and Bling too and Bugalugs made his safe arrival into the world.
With all the contents of my home still in my dining room.
I was not bringing a new baby home from hospital with the pile of crap from hell staring at me. So from the hospital bed I gave instructions that Hubby was to go get many of those large plastic storage tubs. The my mum and Auntie B rallied round and put all contents in the dining room into the boxes, labelled them and stacked them in the new 'spare room'. I had visions of pulling out a box at a time, sorting through it while Bugalugs slept and it would all be sorted in a few weeks.
HA! They haven't been touched in 9 months and what was a lovely stacked orderly room is now again a huge junk pile dumping ground and I can barely walk in the room.
So the biggest over whelming factor in my home is the clutter that needs to just GO. Time is obviously against me - I just have none and all this was really getting me down. My head was swimming with things that needed to be done, especially with Christmas coming up, me going to Melbourne, Lay-bys to pick up - well it is never ending.
I started waking in the morning dreading my day not knowing what to tackle first. I was moody and felt like I had no control. I couldn't see the woods for the trees if you know what I mean.
How did this happen? When I was in paid work I was soooooo organised. Everything had it's place, tasks were done to deadline and I never panicked about anything. I loved being busy.
Then one of my best friend V gave me the advice I had been looking for. I told her how I had been feeling and she said that she had felt that way too a couple of months ago. And then one day she just sat down and wrote a list. One huge mother of a list of everything that she needed or wanted to do. Small things and big things. Then she just planned her days around different tasks on the list.
OMG! Really, could it be that easy? I used to make lists all the time in my paid working life and I loved the pleasure and sense of accomplishment when I ticked a task off my list.
V brought the biggest smile to my face, and the next day that is exactly what I did. I wrote everything I wanted or needed to do. Appointments I needed to make, organisation tasks, big tasks like painting the playroom and small tasks like email friend cupcake recipe.
So far The List is 2.5 lined A4 pages long and I have been adding too it everyday. I have already marked quite a few tasks off. Everyday I check The List and make a mini list of what I want to accomplish that day. It may only be one thing but once done, it's off the list. I can't believe I ever thought I would remember everything in my head that is now on The List. I must have been delusional.
I can't tell you how much better I feel. It really is quite amazing. I am not constantly trying to remember tasks as they are all on paper and out of my head. I can prioritise tasks. I can concentrate on one task at a time without worrying whether I should be doing something else instead. I can plan certain tasks for when Hubby is home and he can also work from the list.
So unfortunately Blogging has taken to "scorching it's butt on my back burner" this week while I prioritise some tasks from the list. One of today's tasks was to blog about The List (yay anothere task I can cross off) and so addicted to blogging and telling you about my life, I couldn't complete some of my tasks without documenting the ones I felt were good blog fodder!!! So stay tuned!
And V thanks, you saved my sanity, my kids and Hubby from a very grumpy mum/wife!
Do you keep A List? How do you keep on top of everything in your life? Is your house about to burst at the seams from clutter? Do you have any clutter buster tips for me? What's your best organisational tip? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Friday, November 6, 2009
If your so inclined you can find that post HERE (which also features a fabulous banana bread recipe!)
Anywhoo, I thought I would first explain about our little Book Club. AKA Wine Club, Therapy Session, Desert Club etc. Most of our partners do not believe we actually read books and that it is just an excuse to have a catch up.
Our Book Club started a couple of years back on the way home from a girls night out. We were talking books and one of us mentioned a book we wanted to read. We all have similar tastes and would usually swap books. We all agreed we wanted to read said book and so started our own Book Club. We also agreed it would be a great way to have a regular catch up as with our ever growing families this was becoming harder and harder.
There were 5 of us to begin with (AB, Me, V, ES & J) and 4 of us had known each other 20 odd years. ES ended up moving to Albany - 5 hours drive away, had to opt out and J decided she couldn't get through her stack of books let alone a book club book so then there were 3. We recruited another friend of ours ET (her initials, not the alien!) and so now we are 4.
We have read some brilliant books, and some doozies. We have tried to be over intellectual (Anna Karenina) and struggled and then too low brow for discussion (This Charming Man by Marian Keyes). We each take turns picking books and we haven't always agreed which is fantastic considering we have similar tastes. I have to note too that my fellow Book Clubbers were very understanding while I was pregnant and couldn't read as it made me nauseous. Thank goodness for ipods and audio books!
Just as a side bar, the audio book (Breath by Tim Winton) experience for me was fantastic but it did give me a completely different perspective on the book to everyone else in Book Club. Many thought it was quite a slow book but I think because I was hearing it with accents and inflections it seemed to flow really well. Just thought I would mention it.
I also credit our little Book Club to opening the doors to the Twilight series and many books I would other wise have not read or been exposed to.
So our latest book, Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey (a West Australian author - Yay!) was picked by ET. ET was going to pick his first novel called Rhubarb but noted that Craig Silvey was going to talk about Jasper Jones at the University of Western Australia as part of the Perth International Writers Festival so we jumped at the opportunity to go see him. So last night was our Book Club Excursion.
I love to go hear writers talk about their novels. It gives a different perspective of the characters, what made the author choose certain elements of the book and where their inspiration comes from. And Craig Silvey did not disappoint.
He talked about how he came to write the book. The pressure of writing a second book when the first was so critically acclaimed. How he actually shelved his second book and started Jasper Jones. He read from the book which I so adore from and author and answered questions from the audience. I asked him a question regarding one of the characters and why he made them have the personality they did. He answered with a joke and then clearly described his reasoning. It didn't change my opinion of the character, but did give me a new respect for the character. Another question from the audience was whether Craig had held 'real' jobs. Of which he had, and told us how he had been writing for 10 years but had only just got paid. He was asked his influences which were Mark Twain and Haper Lee and that is why he wrote Jasper Jones as a bow to Southern Gothic novels. I was most disappointed when an audience member questioned him on the grammar in the book and whether something was dialogue or not. I didn't really find it appropriate and it was almost like she was picking a fight and it really wasn't relevant questioning for the evening. Call his editor?
The evening went all too quickly and before we knew it we were being ushered out for Craig to sign books. I would have loved to have sat and discussed the book with him he really was a great speaker and so passionate about his work (what author isn't?).
We all went for coffee and cake afterwards but since I was the only one to finish the book we decided to meet in a week to discuss it properly. I really did love the book. There are not many books I would read again but this one I definitely would. It maybe that one of my favourite books is To Kill A Mocking Bird and I am predicting that Jasper Jones will also be a classic book read and discussed by many in years to come. So if you are looking for your next Book Club book, this just might be the one! Fantastic well rounded characters and lots to discuss.
So, I would love to hear if you are in a Book Club and what type it is - good friends or organised by a library or other group. What have been some great books you have read that you would not have other wise read? What are ones that you think should be avoided? What is your favourite book or author? Basically comment about your love of books - I would love to read you bookish thoughts!
Jasper Jones: "Late on a hot summer night in the tail end of 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress.Jasper takes him through town and to his secret glade in the bush, and it's here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper's horrible discovery. With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion as he locks horns with his tempestuous mother; falls nervously in love and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend, Jeffrey Lu. And in vainly attempting to restore the parts that have been shaken loose, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth, and why white lies creep like a curse. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart."
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Rules of course are:
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Well the day was a great success and really fun. All the girls (no boys allowed - kicked Hubby and my boys out!) came dressed in pink and brought a little something to eat and share. The food was FABULOUS just look at the photos below. AB out did herself from last year with her Pink Ribbon Cake and Ren's pink lamingtons we as fluffy as clouds. We had a raffle and it worked out I had just enough prizes for everyone to take something home! It was like a politically correct kids party with everyone getting a prize!!
We basically spent the rest of the time chatting and gossiping and ooohhhing and ahhhing at the latest Tupperware. Tupperware give 10% of all sales made on the day to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and also provided a few raffle prizes as well! So I invite them to be part of the day each year.
Anyway below are a few photos from the day - I am totally all pinked out but will be back to host another Pink Ribbon Day next year. Like the title says, in a house full of boys it's the only time I get to have a 'pink' party!!
You can help me achieve my fundraising goal by making a donation, with all money raised going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation's research programs, It's quick and easy. You can make a secure online donation to my breakfast using your credit card by clicking HERE.
Did ya miss me??
I missed you guys real bad! But it was nice to take a break from the computer screen and relax and recharge!
So where have I been?
Me, Hubby and the Boys travelled 3 hours in the car down the coast of Western Australia to the South West to a small town called Busselton. My parents rent out a holiday home there and so the perks of that is that out of peak times we get to stay there for free.
This is Busselton:
Well that's Busselton Jetty but you get the idea - some of the best beaches in the world are in the South West.
Only 45km from Busselton is Margaret River which contains more wineries than you can poke a stick at and half a dozen boutique breweries as well. There is tons for the kids to do too, with farms, mazes, mini golf etc etc so it is a great place for a family holiday. Yallingup and Dunsborough are just down the road too a favourite for haunt for surfers.
We spent 5 days there and had a great relaxing time. We went to farms, breweries, the Busselton Show was on while we were in town, we went to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory (YUM!), went to the beach and just basically chilled out as a family!
Usually I take the opportunity to take the home chef hat off while we are away, as I cook every night at home so while we are away we usually eat out for every meal other than breakfast But as it is just before Christmas it's not the best time to be flashing the cash on holiday. Also the holiday house is set up as a home away from home (literally, most of my old kitchen plates, cups and glasses have migrated down there, even my old hair dryer - it's like the ghosts of household items past) then I decided to be a bit more frugal this year.
I packed lunches for during the day for 4 out of the 5 days also cooked 3 out of the 5 nights rather than eating out. The one day we did have lunch out we didn't have dinner as we were so full! Preparing our own meals made a huge difference to the holiday budget and we hardly noticed it. Most places are set up to be able to have a picnic lunch anyway and it was lovely sitting by the beach having our lunch than ordering an expensive (as it is a tourist destination, eating out can be pricey) meal. In fact the most expensive part of the holiday was paying to kennel my dogs!
So what has this got to do with Lonely Planet?
Well on our car trip back they announced on the radio that Lonely Planet has named the South West in it's worlds top ten holiday destinations. They have designated a chapter in their Best In Travel 2010 edition.
The world will now know what us West Australian's have known for years. It was our little secret. While others ranted on about Sydney and Brisbane and shopping in Melbourne we would snicker knowing we had our little 'South West'.
Well thanks Lonely Planet - the secret is out! As long as they don't tell anyone about the North West....D'oh!!!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Ding Dong AVON Calling!
My 'territory' was one suburb over (apparently the whole of my suburb is the territory or just one person - go figure) and also right next to a train station so I parked the car, put Bugalugs in the buggy and off I set.
It was a beautiful day, really warm, a bit over cast but lovely and I was relishing the fact that I would be getting some exercise as well as (hopefully) earning a bit of extra cash for Christmas.
No sooner had I delivered about 10 books I saw 'creepy guy' coming down the road in the opposite direction. Now although it was pure daylight there really was no-one around. He looked to be talking to himself, looked like he hadn't washed in weeks and sported a beard that looked like it had things living in it. So I thought it would be safer to cross the road and the double back on myself. I saw him turn into a street and then saw him heading toward the train station. Phew!
Bugalugs had fallen asleep and I was enjoying the walk. I turned into a cul-de-sac and delivered a couple more books. I turned around and who should be coming down the cul-de-sac but 'creepy guy'! There really was no one around and as it was a cul-de-sac I had to walk right past him. He was looking around and then straight at me. So I walked straight past him and kept looking right at him staring him down. He eventually looked away and then said 'er..do you have the time" I told him no and kept walking. All I could think of was Bugalugs asleep in the pram. Creepy guy just kind of just stopped and loitered at the end of the cul-de-sac and I kept looking around to make sure he was still there. He completely avoided eye contact and I high taled it out of there. All the way back to the car I kept looking over my shoulder and got Bugalugs in the car quick smart. I had the eebbiie jibbies by then and just wanted to get home.
As soon as I got home I called the lady who had signed me up and left her a message telling her she could have the territory back!! Ain't going there again!!! (it's 9 o'clock at night and she hasn't called me back....hmmmm!)
After I came home and calmed down I tried not to think of what would have happened if he had come up behind me before I saw him coming down the cul-de-sac. I also realise he might live streets around there and so really don't want to have to maybe bump into him again. He may have just come on the train and was wandering but I don't want to take that chance. The thing is the suburb is a really good suburb so it wasn't like I was on the wrong side of the tracks.
Anyhoo....it kind of tainted my first AVON experience. I think I might give up having a territory and just stick to doing it socially among people I know. A lot safer that way! I am under no obligation anyway so can just quit anytime so will see if it is worth my while.
On a brighter Pinker note I am holding my 2nd Annual Pink Ribbon Breakfast this Saturday for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Last year I raised just over $550 so am hoping to double it this year. It really is fun day. All the girls come dressed in pink and bring a little something to eat and share. We have a raffle and basically chat and gossip the morning away!!! I will be sure to post some pictures of the day!
You can help me achieve my fundraising goal by making a donation, with all money raised going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation's research programs, It's quick and easy. You can make a secure online donation to my breakfast using your credit card by clicking HERE.
And even more exciting news...my Hubby is home tomorrow YAY! It's early as he is not supposed to be back until Tuesday but is attending a conference so they are flying him home earlier so we get a 'free' weekend together. Well, I am kicking him out while the breakfast is on....well no men allowed!!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
However, every now and then there is a company that provides good customer service or has an idea in customer service that in my opinion EVERY company should adopt.
This morning I received a nice little email from my ISP telling me that I have reached my download limit for the month and so although I won't get charged anymore they will slow me down in the peak period. I was expecting this little gem as last week I got the preliminary email telling me I had reached the 80% - it was like a little 'whoa slow down sister or we will do it for you' message.
So having decided that I cannot deal with slow Internet speed I called them (they are available 24/7 - yes people 24/7 it's Sunday morning here as I write this) - and as usual I find myself in a queue. But low and behold this was the message that I heard:
"Hi there, you must be really busy and not want to spend the next 20 minutes holding for the next operator so guess what....we will call YOU back. Yep just type in your number then press hash and tell us your name so we know who to ask for. And don't worry your little self about losing your place in the queue, we will save your spot and we should be able to call you in the next *pause* 12 to 19 minutes. So off you go, go hang your washing out, have a cup of tea or read a few more blogs and we will give you a call in just a mo!"
Well not verbatim OK .... I am inflicting artistic licence here but seriously is that good or what?
I don't know any other company that does this but all call centres should adopt it - think how much happier all us little customers would be.
So in the time I COULD have been waiting on the phone I put my washing away put another load on and put Bugalugs down for a sleep. And they called me back about 15 minutes later and they put me back on normal speed, changed my plan for next month all within a few minutes.
Ahhh what a way to start a Sunday morning....
Do you have any good call centre customer service stories? Any cool practices that you think others should adopt? Let me know in the comments...
Friday, October 16, 2009
But then I realised that we all have our unique situations and we all cope with them differently and maybe something I write might help or give an idea to someone else. Plus it is a big part of who I am and my life that I wanted to share.
The thing is there are so many aspects to having your Husband home only one week in every three that when I started making notes I realised the post would be horrendously long and bore the pants of anyone who read it. So I thought I would start a little series and write about different parts positives and negatives of our family arrangement.
In this post I wanted to talk about how we deal with social engagements for us as a couple and me on my own. Last weekend when Hubby was home we had 3 party invites for the Saturday night. Apparently October 10th is a popular day for birthdays!
We had already made plans with another two couples to come to our place for a curry night, so had to decline the 3 invites we had. You might think that we would have cancelled or rescheduled our night but babysitters had been booked for the other couples and the plans had been made first and well in advance.
This often happens on Hubby's weekend home. We have quite a few different circles of friends (well aren't we the popular couple *she says sarcastically*) and we often 'book' in to see friends in advance so when other stuff comes up we usually have to decline.
This means that Hubby does miss out on quite a few social events on the 'other' weekends and depending on whether I can get a baby sitter or take the kids I pretty much go to almost everything I am invited to even if he is not home. I am so used to this that I have a little method of deciding what we go to and what we decline.
Weddings and Funerals trump everything. Regardless of previous plans made. I have never had either on the same day so haven't had to decide between the two. Hubby will always try and make them even if it means having a few days annual leave.
Previous plans take precedent over everything else. If we have committed to something we will pretty much always follow through with it. The exceptions are of course the Weddings & Funerals and also if we get invited to something that is a once off like a going away party where we won't get to see the person for a long time.
Special considerations are also given to BFF's and Family. Like on my Mum's birthday this year Hubby is away and I have also been invited to a going away party for a good friend of mine. So first I check with Mum if she has any plans for her birthday like a family dinner or anything. No, she is off to a wedding the next day so is heading off for the weekend. Bonus! I don't feel bad about having to cancel one or the other and as Mum has the day off work to get her hair done and pack I can see her during the day!
BTW if Mum had been planning something I would have tried to get her to do something the next night (I am an only child so no need to worry about siblings!) and no, I wouldn't have got her to babysit on her birthday - I'm not that bad...but if she had offered.....
I am very lucky that most of my friends are mindful of my situation with Hubby working away and so we try to plan book club when he is home or I will plan other things with the girls when he is home too as he acts as an instant babysitter. Or I will plan to have things take place at my house when the kids have gone to bed.
As with babysitters we are very lucky that we have a few people we can ask but I won't waste babysitting opportunities. I realise that sometimes we just have to say no!
Needless to say the week that Hubby is home we are both very busy, me having a bit of time with my girlfriends without the kids and catching up with couples or attending parties, going out for dinner.
The most important engagement though is Date Night with Hubby. We make sure we always have one night where we chill out together at home watching a movie and getting take away or we go out on our own for dinner and movie or something along those lines!
So, do you have filter system like me with your social engagements? How do you decide if it is worth getting a babysitter? Do you have Date Night with your Hubby?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Grotbag and I headed off one of his Kindy friends 5th birthday party today and as the weather was nice he was told to bring his swimming stuff so all the kids can go in the pool.
Bit too cold for me and the rest of the mums but we smothered the kids in sunscreen and let them swim standing around the pool watching them enjoy the sunshine! This was the first time I had let Grotbag go in the pool without me being in with him.
Now Grotbag has swimming lessons every week (and had been to a lesson this morning) but is a bit scared of deep water where he can't touch the bottom. Believe me he is no risk taker this kid except when you put him on wheels - scooters & skateboards are a preference then I have my heart in my mouth watching him.
Anyway he decided the best thing to do was hang out with one of his mates on the steps. All us mums were inside the pool fence watching the kids and chatting. No more than arms reach away from the kids. Everyone is having fun.
After about 20 Min's Grotbag decides he would like to have a go on one of the boogie boards, lay on it and have a kick around. I said he could but to be careful.
It happened in seconds, the boogie board tipped and he went under. He came up but panicked and forgot how to swim and so I jumped in and pulled him up (yes fully clothed).
He was OK! He cried! And rightly so he was spooked! So I sat with him on the step. I didn't want to make a HUGE deal out of it for him because I didn't want to create a bad association with swimming and pools. We live in Australia and swimming is a MUST here, the last thing I want is for him to have a big fear of water. So I just held him told him he was fine now and gave him a big cuddle. Within 5 Min's he was fine and back splashing. Mum to the rescue!
It only takes a second. And in that second I was so scared but also focused on getting him up, nothing else mattered.
He has never worn armbands or a float vest but I think I will be investing in one tomorrow and joining him in the pool from now on even if the water is a bit cold! The alternative is unthinkable!
So, have you ever had any close calls with your kids or family members? Has it changed the way you think or do anything to change the outcome next time?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Later you find out she went out partying with someone else. A pattern she follows of more fun somewhere else!
No bother, you again excuse her poor behaviour because, hey, you've been friends for a long time and it's just the way she is.
She turns up at your doorstep and asks to stay. She has no where to go. You tell her 'just for a week'. She keeps you up every night while she's downing a bottle or two of wine (even though your not drinking) telling you yet again how broke and in debt she is, that her boss is picking on her, how 'That Girl' is a b**ch and how 'lucky' you are to have what you have.
Regardless of the fact that you have to get up at the crack of dawn and feed a baby. And that you too have to go to work because being 'lucky' means having to work part-time as well as being a mum.
Again you give advice knowing full well it won't be taken and you will hear the same story again in a few months because god forbid if she should change her ways. She says she's broke but hey, aren't they new shoes? And didn't you just buy two bottles of wine and instead of eating the dinner I made you, order pizza because now you have the munchies?
No bother, you again excuse her poor behaviour because, hey, you've been friends for a long time and it's just 'the way she is'.
You go out with her to a pub or a club even though that's not your scene anymore. She again consumes more alcohol than needed. She wants a 'man' but stand aloof and looks down her nose at any guy that comes along. You make chit chat with a guy standing near and all of a sudden she's not talking to you because you should have known telepathically that she wanted to get to know him. So you introduce them, she is all over him and he runs a mile. Apparently its 'your' fault. You want to go home and she says your spoiling 'her' fun. You get her inside and put her to bed while you 'don't' sleep on the couch. The next morning she wakes and says what an awesome night that was and you should both go out together more often.
No bother, you again excuse her poor behaviour because, hey, you've been friends for a long time and it's just 'the way she is'.
And then there the time that you had to go and pick her up after a incoherent phone call she makes to you doesn't know where she is so is wandering around. Of course you go and get her. She would do it for you. Right?
Or how she hasn't been able to hold down a job or keep the many 'acquaintances' she has had over the years because someone is always 'out to get her'. But she would be there for you too. Wouldn't she?
You listen to her whine and complain about some of her friends and you think to yourself "hey what is she saying about me when I am not around?" Couples are 'boring' but as soon as there is someone new on her scene you don't hear from her for weeks.
She tells you that you are the only one who 'gets her'. Actually your the only one who will put up with her crap.
But you know that one day, when yet again her crap comes a knocking you would have had enough. You will tell her the truth. But the truth is hard to swallow especially from someone who always looked the other way.
Will it matter to her that you always excused her poor behaviour or that you've been friends for such a long time? Will she give a crap that there is history there? Or will you just be chalked up as just another aqcuaintince in a long line before you.
But by telling the truth you will never get the phone call cancelling your plans, or drunk calls to pick her up. You will never 'annoy' her again by chatting to the guy she thinks is 'hers' or have to stay up late listening to her woes which she could change but never does.
Your shoulders will feel lighter but your friendship heart will hurt. Because instead of holding on to the one thing that was constant, she will, once she is told the truth, set you adrift.
So do you take the risk? Do you tell the truth or keep making the excuses?
'She' is a work of fiction, but if 'She' was real - what would you do?
Monday, October 12, 2009
Or not, suit yourself!
The recycled post below was the third post I wrote for my blog and is one of my favourites. It only received one comment. From someone I knew who had recently been to my house and gave me a beautiful bunch of yellow roses. (Hi Nic!!)
Talk about feeling guilty!
However, I still feel the same about the subject and feel it is worthy of bringing out again in the the The Lazy Blogger series. It is controversial (oooooohhhhh!) so I expect good comments!!
He Don't Bring Me Flowers!
This is going to be controversial in my opinion here but I have always been a bit funny/weird/bewildered by them. Don't get me wrong, I have had plenty of flowers sent to me for different reasons over the years and I truly believe the sentiment from the people sending them has always been heartfelt and I have appreciated every single bunch...but I just don't get it!!.
When I met my husband I told him straight away that I don't "do" flowers. He of course thought I was sending some strange female reverse psychology message and proceeded to buy me them and usually for no reason at all. And not just you run of the mill "picked up on my way home from the local BP" jobby's, these were beautiful bouquets from florists that cost him a fortune. And I think there in lies the problem. And please do not hate me for saying this but, I think they are a bit of waste of money. There I said it. Please keep reading....
Birthday flowers. I received flowers today for my birthday (which is tomorrow...more on that later) from my Uncle in the UK. They are absolutely beautiful, and a lovely thought. And it is the thought I am appreciative of because it means I have had someone think about me and remember me. However, as I do not receive flowers very often I didn't have a big enough vase for them and proceeded to hack at them, pulled a few bits out and arrange them in the shorter vase that I did have available. And arrange them very badly indeed. All I could think of was that my friend who is a florist would be horrified. So now I have this weird looking vase of flowers. They smell divine but I fear I may get a slight headache from the perfume. And I know that in a weeks time they would have all died (reminding me in the meantime that I am getting older) cause I wouldn't have changed the water. They would have dropped leaves and pollen which is impossible to remove from anything let alone the new top I got for my birthday which would have got a smear of the pollen on it from brushing past. And there will still be a smell coming from them, but it will be the smell of the rotting water. So then I will finally throw them out (after complaining about the pollen & smell everyday till they are thrown out) put the vase next to the sink to be bleached cause of the smell and the brown ring that has occurred and then that's it.
I feel the same about bereavement flowers, for most of the reasons above. But also, just them hanging around reminds you everyday of the awful thing you have just experienced. And then they too die. Flowers for babies...again no use, just have to try and find room in the car to get them home and its just more work for the new mum after the whole pollen falling etc has happened. New mums can barely throw away the pile of nappy bags piling up at the back door for the "big" bin outside let alone 6 bunches of dead flowers now smelling worse than the nappies!
But by far are the worst flowers are the "I'm Sorry" flowers! I told my husband in the beginning that if he really wanted to buy me flowers after I explained all my reasons above as to why it would be a waste, he should NEVER under any circumstances buy me flowers as an apology. The Sorry Flowers are usually sent, lets be honest, when something pretty big has gone down. And most women want to TALK about it not get flowers. A man who gave me sorry flowers would be chucked quicker than the flowers would be!
I know, I have read this back and admit that I do sound extremely ungrateful. I am really not. Honest. I just think at the end of the day they are expensive and something more original would be more exciting and memorable and preferably something that doesn't die. Maybe that's it...maybe I don't like gifts that die! Please if you are reading this and have ever sent me flowers don't think I have not gladly received them, I have and love you for sending them...even if the above was floating around in my subconscious.
Before my hubby and I were married we lived in a townhouse. And one day I came home and he had put m&m's all the way up the stairs in a little trail for me to follow to where he just hugged me and told me he loved me.
Now ask me if I remember any of the flowers he bought me.....
Sunday, October 11, 2009
We had friends over last night and I cooked an Indian Banquet. 3 curries, pompadoms, chutneys, riata's, nann bread and rice. I even have the balti dishes and burners that they sit on all laid out down the middle of the table. So my post today was to show you this magnificent feast. But I forgot to take photos.
So if there is no proof (apart from left overs in my fridge) in blog land....did it really happen?
So in leiu of an original post I looked back on some of the very first posts I wrote. Back when I only had 4 people reading (and they all knew me) and before I pimped myself out to SITS.
I found two (the other one I will post tomorrow) that I really liked and would like my new followers and those popping in from SITS (Hi there!!) to read. Plus I have a million dishes to clean and to find some way to get the smell of curry out of my house, all while the Hubby has his ass fused to the couch watching Bathurst! My Aussie bloggers will know what I mean!
So enjoy part one of The Lazy Blogger series!
A HEAVY BAG.
Today, Hubby & I met 2 other couples for lunch at Feral Brewery in the Swan Valley. I love the fact that even though it is Winter in Perth the place was busy with people enjoying good food and drink even if it meant co-ordinating a scarf with your outfit. This was one of a few meals out we have been too while Hubby has been home.
The difference between our table and the majority of the other tables today were the addition of kids. Small kids. Three 4 year olds & two babies (and one on the way which doesn't count as they brought their own seat)!
A few years ago Before Kids (BK) lunch with friends just meant an impromptu phone call, picking a nice outfit, jumping in the car and spending a leisurely afternoon (and possibly evening) chatting, drinking and eating. Oh how times have changed. First you have to organise a date and make sure everyone is free. Especially for us seeing as my Hubby's job involves him flying in and out. So the date is usually set months in advance. God help me if it has to be changed!!
Gone are the days of spending an hour getting ready! I'm lucky if I manage to have a shower without an audience and its long enough to wash my hair (drying it may be optional!). There are 2 other people to get ready, well, 3 if you include Hubby. But luckily, although he can dress himself.
Then there is "The Bag" to pack!
"The Bag" has to consist of everything you 'might' need while on the outing. Basics includes, nappies & bottles and other baby stuff for Bugalugs plus a plethora of entertainment items for Grotbag to keep him occupied. Because inevitably if you are at a kid friendly restaurant the kids will be fed first leaving them to be completely bored by the time you receive your meal. Colouring books, ipods and handheld game consoles have become life savers in these times of need. I can never leave Hubby to pack the bag as something is always left out and I end up having to fold origami style nappies out of paper towels!
Once at the restaurant there is a shuffle of seating arrangement to accommodate prams, men and women and kids in between. Hubby hates to be seated in the wrong position making him privy to menstrual cycles, birthing stories, the latest on Masterchef and other such girly topics. Gone are the days of political banter and mixed sex conversations. Time is of the essence and plus, colouring in while talking about Kevin Rudd can be a bit distracting.
There is never all the adults at the table at the one time. They are either off supervising the kids on playground equipment or seeing to the younger set of babies. Food turns up and you eat it as quickly as possible so that you can take the baby off your partner so he can eat his dinner which is getting colder by the minute. Meanwhile ice cream turns up for the kids so you know that the meal is nearly over before you have even looked at your desert menu. Then you look at the time and realise the dreaded 'witching' hour is close at hand and the kids heads are going to start spinning round exorcist style spewing phrases like "I'm tired", "can we go home now", "I don't want to go home" etc etc.
So you say your goodbyes, and say that "you must simply do this more often, why do we leave it so long". Talk about how you should all "go away one weekend with the kids" all while trying to get your kids to say goodbye nicely and not run in front of cars in the car park!
The thing is, I love meeting my friends for lunch out and about with the kids. We all have a great time despite and because of all the things above. Going out for a meal may not be the same as a few short years ago, but I would rather go out and have to be a bit more organised than not go! How lucky am I that I have the opportunity to go and have lunch with friends? Having to do it differently is not better or worse than before kids, it just takes more organisation and more stuff.
In other words. Your bag just gets heavier!!