Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The House That Jack Built.....

I have no idea where this saying comes from but I do feel sorry for Jack and all the crappy houses he has built!

My house is falling down.

Well that's a little bit dramatic. It's not literally falling down, more like coming a bit apart at the seams!

We live in a modest 4 bedroom 2 bathroom home that we bought 6 years ago just a few months before we were married. Before we acquired it, the house was an investment property and therefore had tenants. Tenants that did not look after the place very well. But the house was in a suburb we liked and was larger than the other more expensive houses we were looking at but needed a little TLC. How young and naive we were.

6 years later we have had a good stab at making it our own. We have completely ripped up the front and back gardens and replaced them, put in down lights, air conditioning, put up a wall in the playroom, painted a majority of the house, new flooring and window treatments. But it is still not finished and the parts that are not finished are REALLY getting me down.

This all happened yesterday...

The ceiling in my laundry has to be replaced because water has somehow got in and now my ceiling has mould. An insurance job, but it is the inconvenience that pees me off!


The towel rail in my bathroom just fell off.

The door handle to the playroom just came off in my hand.

Hubby replaced the tap in the kitchen incorrect so it swings the wrong way.

My tumble dryer is broke and will cost $200 to fix so am just going to get a new one next year as it's not worth fixing as the good weather is about to come in.

And that is just the start. There are a million other things but it will be too depressing to write them. And the kicker is me don't have the cash to do most of it at the moment.

I know that it does not sound like much, some of you may be doing major renovations and have whole pieces of your house missing. But it's all these little things that are making me want to scream, especially if they have been "fixed" and not "fixed" properly.

I just want my house how it looks in my minds eye. Is that too much to ask?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sticking To My Guns & The Curse of The Wii

Can you tell I couldn't decide which title to go with?

Anyhoo....Today Bling and I went to our local Baby & Kids Market. Basically it comes around once every few months and the stalls are all second hand baby stuff, kids toys and clothes...there is always a bargain to be had!

I wasn't going to go because my parents are away and couldn't look after Grotbag and I would rather have the fleas of a thousand camels infest my armpits than take a 4 year old to a basketball court filled with second hand Fisher Price Toys!! But Bling's Hubby, who will join the cast and be known as Pirate, kindly offered to look after Grotbag....and could Grotbag bring Mario Kart with him! Hmmm, who is the biggest kid?

I was after a bath seat and Jolly Jumper for Bugalugs (and managed to score both at the Markets at rock bottom prices - yay for me!) so quickly agreed.

Grotbag loves playing the Wii, especially Mario Kart and for the most part will stop playing when I tell him to. I put a timer on as it is very easy for a couple of hours to go by and not realise he is still playing, so the timer keeps it in check. The same with the TV. Especially as he is nice and quiet and mummy can get on reading blogs and writing her own!!! .

However, today he just totally freaked out (The Curse of the Wii!!) when it was time to leave Pirates and had a complete meltdown. I get so disappointed when he act's up like that but can usually calm him down. Yeah, uh today he didn't get that memo!!! So put him in Time Out and then told him he could not play the Wii or watch any TV until his Dad (Hubby) comes home.

Then realised that was two days away! WHAT WAS I THINKING???? I usually only take the Wii or TV away for 24 hours which is usually enough to curb the behaviour and have him apologise and appreciate it more.

But there it was, out in the open and I now have to stick to my guns through fear of being a walk over. And I won't go back on my word either! I've learnt my lesson the hard way with that one!

I have to admit though, since he has been home he has played with his Lego, Tech Decks, race cars and a game of Mouse Trap so he is more than capable of playing with his toys with out the background noise of the TV.

So the Curse of the Wii strikes again but I will be sticking to my guns until Tuesday when Hubby flies home. I may be sooo over Playdoh and Guess Who by then but at least he would have learnt a lesson. Won't he?

Have you ever regretted a consequence for your kids? And did you follow it through?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Only 125 days till Christmas!!!!!

Yes you have read the title correctly...this isn't a post from 2008.I have decided this year that I am going to be totally organised in the presents department for Christmas 2009.
5 years ago Before Kids (B.K.) I would have my Christmas shopping done by October. I would have scoped out some really cool stuff throughout the year and stockpiled till Christmas. Each year I usually find a new "thing" that I love and buy 4 of them so I have plenty to share around (and usually one for myself!) and would also have a few "Emergency Presents" for those unexpected circumstances. Actually I still do have Emergency Presents all through the year, but mostly kids presents. And I have done all the Christmas Toy shopping in the July Toy sales.
But the thing is that now I do have kids and life is a little bit more hectic I see things I like, think who I can buy them for, and then promptly forget and then 2 weeks before Christmas I am asking myself "now what was that cool thing I was going to get for ....". So today while I was food shopping I bought myself a small note book that I will now carry round for the sole purpose of noting good Christmas presents, where I saw them and who they would be good for.
I love finding things that are slightly different, or a twist on an old favourite. My favourite thing that I have found this year is this:

Isn't it gorgeous! Looks like a silver necklace with faux diamonds but it is in fact:

A 4GB USB Thumb Drive!!!!

They were advertised in a parenting magazine for $59.95 but I couldn't justify the amount so managed to find them on EBay and got them from Hong Kong for half that price!!! So now I have to be on the look out for something else that makes me say "ohhh I just gotta have one of those!!!"

What your favourite "thing" this year?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

One Of Those Days

As I am getting more into this blogging lark I am starting to plan my blogs in advance and draft a few lines for each topic so if I have had a few uneventful days I have backup. I am even sleeping with a notebook by the bed as I seem to have my best topic ideas just before I go to sleep - and then usually by morning they have flown away from my brain.

But today's planned blog will have to go on hold because this blog is a rant as I have had "one of those days!"

You know the kind where it starts out OK and gradually deteriorates until you feel your head just might explode.

It started fairly normally. The boys woke just after 7am and Grotbag didn't have school till 12.15am so there was no morning rush to get out the door. I went into Bugalug's who was smiling and then it sounded like he barked. Bugger! He has caught the cough that me and than Grotbag had the last couple of weeks. I thought he had escaped it because I had got it first and he didn't get it. I then got a little irritated as I realised that my futile attempts to keep Grotbag from coughing in Bugalug's face all last week indeed failed.

Mother 0 - Universe 1.

I checked behind the table to see if Jasper (Cocker Spaniel, 5 years old) had peed overnight in his favourite spot and smiled as I realised he hadn't.

Mother 1 - Universe 1.

Realised that I still haven't been able to find Grotbag's other Kindy T-shirt that has disappeared into thin air, and I hadn't washed the one from Tuesday. Pulled Tuesdays out the wash basket gave it a sniff and a shake - it was good to go!

M1 - U2

Bugalugs didn't want to have his morning nap so got NOTHING done apart from have a shower through screaming.

M1 - U3

Ended up feeding Bugalugs his bottle early to avoid the screaming that I just couldn't take today and he fell asleep on me meaning I still couldn't do anything.

M1 - U4

Took Grotbag to school and of course it was raining so we all got soaked.

M1 - U5

Got home and felt bad for the doggies (also have Chocolate Brown Labrador named Sye who is 5 years old - and my favourite!) so let them in to their inside beds. Had some lunch while and Bugalugs slept for an hour and a half. Bliss!

M2 - U5

Picked Grotbag up from school and promptly got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for 20 minutes before having space to turn around and go the other way which was only marginally different.

M2 - U6

Took Grotbag to Tae Kwon Do where he cried all the way home because he didn't listen to me 3 times and I confiscated the Wii for the night. Then got home and put Grotbag in his PJ's so I wouldn't have to battle later. I had actually been organised and planned dinner earlier in the week so all I had to do is reheat only to put dinner on the table (where Grotbag was STILL crying) and realised that Jasper had peed under it when I had let him in earlier. GRRRRRRRRR

M2 - U7

Ate dinner with Bugalugs crying because he wanted his night time routine of bath, bottle & bed to begin NOW! Also had Grotbag sniffing beside me telling me my carrots were "disgusting".

M2 - U8

Finished dinner, reluctantly fed the dogs and got Bugalugs settled in for the night. I still haven't cleaned up the pee - just covered it with paper towel till I can face it. I still need to clean up after dinner, there is rice everywhere, make Bugalug's bottles for tomorrow and I can't see my counter top through all the crap that I have dumped on it. The dust bunnies are multiplying and Grotbag keeps wanting to make lots of noise RIGHT NEXT TO ME which is making me want to SCREAM VERY LOUDLY! I am changing my name to BOB as Muuummmm! is making my head spin. And to make matters worse Grotbag just came up to me and told me he loved me very much.

OK, I give up! Universe wins this round!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cooking With Kids

I love to cook! I am no "foodie" and since the kids came along I haven't dabbled in many new recipes but still, the kitchen is my favourite room in the house!

So it would not surprise you that my eldest Grotbag was named after my favourite TV Chef, that my favourite show this year was Masterchef Australia (oh how I miss it) and that I expect that my boys will be able to rustle up a few good meals by the time they leave the nest.

Grotbag could say Jamie Oliver before he could say Bob the Builder, knows Nigella just by the sound of her voice and can name all the contestants and judges on Masterchef Australia! When I used to take him shopping as a toddler I would name all the things as I put them into the trolley knowing one day he would repeat them back. The first one he repeated in his gorgeous toddler voice was Salami!

I am really passionate about getting Grotbag and of course Bugalugs interested in cooking and food. They don't have to want to be chefs, but at least know where their food comes from, follow a good recipe and also be able to just throw something together from the pantry. I think it is really important, especially in this day and age of the microwave meal and fast food, that they learn the basics of proper cooking.

So, at every chance possible I get him to help me in the kitchen. Yesterday I cooked up a whole load of meals for the week and also a batch of puree's for Bugalugs. I got Grotbag cutting up the fruit and vegetables for the purees. He has his own small wooden chopping board and a knife which is actually a spreading knife so has a rounded end that way he can't stab himself. It is also sharp enough to cut through the food but blunt enough that Bugalugs won't find the end of his finger in his lunch!

Grotbag cutting apple to be pureed

Grotbag loves doing this, it's good hand eye coordination and we talk about how we are going to cook the food and I get him to taste it too. It's also great quality time we spend together. I have a fantasy where he is cooking a meal for his own family in years to come, maybe from my collection of cooking books that have been passed down to him and he is telling them how he always helped me in the kitchen (Sniff). He also loves the fact he has helped cook his brothers food and tells my 6 month old every time he is in his highchair!

We cook fun stuff too, his favourite is Banana & Choc Chip Muffins and he has become interested in my cake decorating set so in a few days we are going to make some cupcakes for him to decorate! I will have to make sure I am not to OCD about them being perfect.
I hope to continue this tradition with Bugalugs too so both my boys will be great cooks and in years to come invite their old mum round for dinner!

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Favourite Things - Mini Spatulas

They don't look so mini in the picture but these gorgeous mini spatulas are only 20cm long. They are one of my favourite thing in my kitchen at the moment. I bought them about a year ago because I thought they were cute (?) but didn't really use them till about 4 months ago. That is a burn mark at the bottom of the one closest in the picture - not food!!

I would probably use these everyday now. My favourite use for them is for emptying jars or containers of stir in sauces, baby food, canned stuff or tomato paste. I can get every drop of sauce out of the jar with these little babies. They are also good for icing cupcakes, spreading fillings on sandwiches or spreading other things like potato on shepherds pie or meringue on lemon meringue pie.

Because of the wooden handle they don't go in the dishwasher, their only downfall, but I still love these little babies!!


Before I sign off my blog on my favourite things I just want to say how sad I am that my friend Mary-Jane, for personal reasons, has stopped writing her blog. Her blog was funny, topical and very honest and she is one of the most inspirational mothers I know. I will miss her blog and hope she comes back soon. She inspired me to start my own blog and so if you get a chance, stop by and have a read at her wonderful blog at

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Banoffie Pies - Yum!

Look divine don't they!

Let me start by saying that I can actually take no
credit for this "recipe" or really it should be called a "Put Together". My BFF Anastasia Beaverhausen (lets call her AB) brought them to my house as a desert for a dinner party I threw.

The best dinner parties are always when the guests bring there own little something something!!

Another guest had commented that she had made them herself a few weeks before and it took her 2 hours. AB snorted and said "these babies took me 5 minutes and 4 teaspoons!!"

We all leaned in closer for the secret to these delicious little morsels of delight. I LOVE to cook but am not that keen on baking so this was heaven to my ears. So today I share the secret with you. The ones in the picture above are ones I made this morning to take to my Auntie's birthday get together this afternoon. My step-dad has one of the sweetest teeth I know so really they are for him. He loves it when I "bake"!! (Shhh!)

AB's Banoffie Pies
12 Shortcrust Tartlet Cases
1 Can of Nestle Top'n'Fill Caramel
1 Banana
1 Tub of Thick "Dollop" cream (no whipping here!!)
1 Cadbury Flake

Open packet of tartlets.
Open can of Top'n'Fill.
Spoon caramel into tart cases.
Cut banana into thin slices and place on top of Caramel
Dollop cream on top of bananas.
Sprinkle flake onto cream! Refrigerate till needed or scoff at will!

Voila - Banoffie Pies!!

Some notable notes. I used light cream to be a bit more virtuous and also made two with canned light whipped cream as Bling will be there today and she is on Weight Watchers (they work out to about 5 points). But AB made hers with double thick cream and they were delicious. I didn't actually use the whole can of the caramel there was still some left at the bottom and I only used half the carton of cream.

So, please feel free to make your shortcrust pastry, boil your can of condensed milk and whip your cream - but for me I am more than happy to say that I "threw these together" and literally mean it!

Now I have more time to do my hair!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bringing Up Boys - Learning to Eat

So I have embarked on the world of ‘Solids’ for Bugalugs. Or in the immortal words of Kaz Cooke ‘Mashes”. Because the only thing solid is what comes out the other end!

Grotbag LOVED his mashes from the moment they past his lips and he hasn’t stopped eating since. He was a joy to cook for, even though he was lactose intolerant, and would scoff down anything I made for him.

“They” always say you get one of each so I think that Bugalugs will be my fussy eater. On the 9th of August he will be 6 months and for the past couple of weeks has been showing all of the signs of wanting more than just the bottle. So last week started him on one meal a day of rice cereal. He was a little perplexed but swallowed the first few mouthfuls. But lets face it - rice cereal is like eating torn up bits of cardboard. So he has been having pureed apple and pear the last few days. The more he eats the better he is - but not sure what he thinks of his mums cooking!!

I am trying not to take offence. I mean, pureed apple is pureed apple and can’t be tweaked for babies (IE add a bit of cinnamon perhaps!). Maybe he is a savoury kid and will prefer the pumpkin I prepare for him tomorrow!

I will persevere and hope he comes to love his mum’s food. I also forgot about all the 'stuff' that comes with solids. My dishes have multiplied now yet another boy in my house is eating semi-normal food!

Still, in a way I am quite proud as this is yet another milestone for my baby as he grows into a gorgeous little boy. Sigh!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Masterchef & Sunburn

How cute is this? My friend in Sydney got this made for Grotbag (also known around here as Oliver - yes named after Jamie Oliver!) as she knows that he is a huge fan of Masterchef (who isn't?). He loves it and now we have to make Banana & Chocolate Muffins tomorrow for him to Christen it! My friend is also a big foodie and I am very jealous of the fact that she has been to Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Restaurant in London and Matt Moran's restaurant Aria in Sydney and met both chefs and has lovely pictures to prove it.

The gift was also very apt as yesterday I went to the Perth Good Food & Wine show where I saw Gary Mehigan & George Calombaris, two of the judges from Masterchef Australia & Matt Moran "do" their shows cooking live on stage. I went with my mum and we had a fantastic time, quaffing wine and sampling yummy food - especially because I was sans children! Hmm no diet or counting points yesterday! I am going to try a few of the recipes out so will feature them in future blogs.

As today is Happy Monday and was a beautiful 21 degree Winter day I took Grotbag to the park to meet another friend of his and his mum. It was gorgeous sitting in the sun and I preened like a cat at the warmth. Glorious...until I got home and noticed the sunburn. Now, although I am originally from the East End of London, I have actually lived here in Perth for 24 years, since I was 12. You would think that I would know to put sunscreen on when out in the sun. Some lesson are hard taught.
But fear not, my children were armed with slip slop slap including Bugalugs who had to wear a toddler hat too big for him because I picked up the wrong one!! I just seemed to miss myself out!
So now tomorrow I will greet my Hubby at the airport with owl eyes and a bright red neck and arms that are only half red! He will just shake his head at me and I will give him a look that says "I know I know...24 years!!!"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Anything But This

I should be doing lots of other things except writing this blog. However, my poor little blog has been neglected lately and I really enjoy writing it so have put it on the top of the "To Do" list.

Here's whats on the rest of the list (not in any particular order):

  1. Tidy Up (This never leaves the list)
  2. Unload the dishwasher (again on the list every day)
  3. Vacuum (by the time I vacuum the house it's ready to be done again)
  4. Dust (see 3)
  5. Washing - doing, putting out, getting in and putting away
  6. Sort Bugalug's clothes from ones he has grown out of and the next size he is in
  7. Same with Grotbags clothes
  8. Give clothes to Good Sammy's or sell on EBay
  9. Call repair man about broken tumble dryer
  10. Call the Dog Kennels again to get dogs booked in for October
  11. Call taxman to come and do tax returns
  12. Take charms in to get put on charm bracelet
  13. Load digital picture frame
  14. Shred papers not needed
  15. Call Foxtel about IQ2
  16. Sell the box of stuff labelled EBay on EBay
  17. Sort dinner out for tonight
  18. Go to Medicare

blah blah blah...and the list goes on and on and on and on....

It's soooo overwhelming I just think...sod it...pass me the Wii controller!!!!

Hubby is home Tuesday.....I'll pass some of the list on to him!


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