Archive | January, 2013

Essential kitchen equipment

31 Jan

I got a food processor for Christmas.  Oh how I love my food processor.  It is fantastic at pureeing all the random things I put in cookies for Hannah – dates, chickpeas, etc.  I can mince my own meat, and even make my own peanut butter (because despite what you may think, store bought peanut butter is usually not just made from peanuts.  Seriously, check the label).

I do love all things kitchen (minus the washing up), so I found today’s guest post rather interesting:

Modern kitchens can, and do, tend to come with a host of gadgets and mod-cons built in. But for those starting out in a property that comes without a walk-in fridge, built-in garbage disposal or wall-mounted electronic tin opener, buying a few essentials isn’t really something you can opt out of. If you are restricted by space and/or budget it can be hard to know where you need to start and end your kitchen essentials shopping list, here are a few pointers:
Cutlery is something that can be amassed over time and if you have no qualms setting out a mismatched collection at a dinner party, it’s something you can start small. That said, having a good set of kitchen knives is a complete essential if you plan to cook from scratch. You really do need different knives for different tasks if you want to effectively avoid injury and get the most out of the equipment you do have.
A good set of non-stick pans may cost you more initially but the time you’ll save is invaluable, not to mention the lower spend required on oil, washing up liquid and scrubbing pads in the course of their lifetime.
Like cutlery, it’s not essential that all of your crockery matches as long as you have a core matching set for regular use. It can also be bought very cheaply second hand if you watch out for chips, which harbour germs and cause items to break more easily.

Although food processors are the ultimate kitchen appliance, they are expensive items. Make an initial investment in a hand blender and whisk and start a savings fund for this much lusted after kitchen item.
A baking tray is an incredibly versatile bit of kitchen kit, which can be used for everything from roasting vegetables to making traybakes. Although kitchen scales are slightly less essential than, say, kitchen knives, nonetheless having a good one can make your cooking and baking experience much easier and more enjoyable.
Chopping boards are another kitchen saviour, they protect your work surfaces and if you buy attractive boards they can even double up as serving apparatus.

I'm so glad I finally have a food processor.

I’m so glad I finally have a food processor.

A good quality casserole dish with lid should serve you well. One pots make great – and economical – family meals for those who are short of equipment. Depending on its size it can also be used for roasting meats.
A grater is also a useful multipurpose tool, which can reduce time spent chopping as well as help you tackle that food basic – cheese.

A rolling pin is a good multi-functional tool, but it’s also something you can go without in the early stages as other implements can perform its primary task just as well.

Finally, remember the microwave is far from a kitchen essential and it’s possible to not only make brilliant food without it, but to feel all the better for not having one in your life!
This guess post is published in association with www.lakeland.co.uk, the home of creative kitchenware.

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The dodgy car place

30 Jan

We loved the WRX, but the kids are getting bigger which made it seem like the car was getting smaller.  In the boot, we could fit the double pram but not really anything else.  Eventually, we want to take the kids camping, which requires a lot of boot space to hold all of the camping gear.  We also don’t want to have to cringe in fear of scratches every time one of the kids reaches out and pretends to draw with one finger on the car.

We checked with a bunch of used car dealers to see what sort of trade in price they’d give us for the WRX.  They were all pretty much the same.  And way less than we could get by selling it privately.

Until we went to the hyper guy from a well known used car lot.  The salesman did his job very well.  I’d spoken to him a few days before, and came back to see if they had anything suitable for us.  Maybe a station wagon.  They had one in the lot for $5,000 more than we wanted to spend, but that didn’t stop him from getting us to look at it.  He got us to test drive it too.

“I don’t want to waste my time or yours,” I told him.  We didn’t want to spend that much.

“When we’re making deals, we like you to have already driven the car so that if the price is the only obstacle, we can try to work something out.”

They were still valuing the WRX, so we had some time to kill anyway.  We drove the car in turns.  One of us had to mind the kids after all.  Lucky for us, they also had a playground there for such an occasion.

We did really like the car.  But it was still over our self imposed budget, and still 3 grand more than we could get the same car (although 2 years older) for elsewhere.

The salesman brought us inside to talk deals with the boss.  Apparently the salesman’s job is just to get us set on a particular car.  Someone else takes over after that.

“We can trade your car in for $27,ooo,” the overly hyper boss told us. 

“No, we can get more privately.” I told him.

“What are you after?  You want a car, and then what are you looking to get back?” He asked us.

“We want a car and $20,000 back.”

“And there is no way you’d take less?”

“NO.”  I told him “We already have another car lined up that we like for $10,000, and then we can sell the WRX privately for at least 30.”  We had just been to another dealer, and we did like an SUV there, and were going to go back if we didn’t get something here.

“Ok, the car and 20,000.  Deal.”  He held out his hand and we shook it.  We were kind of waiting for him to shout gotcha or something like that, but instead, he wrote out the paperwork, and the deal was done.

“You’re really lucky that I’m here today, I gave you retail for your car instead of wholesale, but I want it for myself.  I want to race it.”  He showed us video of him racing on his phone.  He said he was going to repaint it, and put a new engine in.  He said he’d give us tickets to his first race in it. We were ecstatic that our WRX was going to such a good home, to be driven fast and crazily like it’s meant to be.

We drove our new used wagon home with instructions to bring it back after the weekend so they could fix the locks.  Two of them weren’t working.

When I dropped the car back off, they gave me a different one to drive whilst the repairs were being done, and I went on my way.  A few days later, I went back in to pick it up while Aaron was at work.

“Come in and sit down, I want to have a chat with you.” A man I’d never seen before told me when I came back.

I sat down and waited.  He came back a few minutes later.

“There is a problem with your deal.” He told me. “You were given too much money for your trade in.”

“I’ve already signed the paperwork, the deal is done.  I’ve put in my notice of disposal for the WRX, I’ve changed my insurance to the wagon, and I have all of the paperwork to say that the deal is done.”

“You’re not going to work with me on this at all then?”

“No, a deal is a deal.  If I didn’t get that much for the trade in, we wouldn’t have done the deal.  We had another vehicle lined up, and we were going to sell the WRX privately, and the only reason that we didn’t is because Wayne gave us a good deal.”

“Yeah, too good of a deal.”

“I thought he was the boss.  He told us that he was going to have the WRX and that he was going to race it.”

“It’s not his to have, he should have bought it from you privately if he wanted it.  He’s not the boss, he was just the assistant manager. I am the manager. I am the boss.”

“Do you have a copy of this paper?” He held up the paper with all of the car details, the price, the trade in price, and the signatures.

“Yes.”  He looked a bit flustered.

“Do you have the one that goes to the RTA?”

“What does it look like?”

He held up a piece of paper.

“Yep.  I have that one too.”   I could tell I was winning the battle.

“He shouldn’t have made that deal, he gave you too much.” He seemed to be trying a last ditch effort to get more money out of me.

“Well, that’s not my problem, he told us what he told us, we believed him, we made the deal, we signed the paper work, and that is that.  It’s a done deal and it’s legally binding.”

He went back out of the room to make another call.  I could hear him asking what he should do, followed by “so just wish her luck then and thank her very much?”

“You got a very good deal.”

“I know.  That’s why I took it.”  I could tell that he was getting annoyed with me and my stubborn-ness, but I wasn’t about to be bullied by someone over something that is not my fault.  So they wouldn’t make any commission off my WRX.  That’s not my problem, maybe they need to train their deal makers a bit better.  When I was a travel agent, I had to pay for it out of my commission if I made a mistake that cost extra money.  And so I should.  It’s not the customer’s fault.

“Well,  enjoy your new car, I wish you all the best.  Can you at least send a few customers our way to make up for the good deal that you got?”

Seriously? After you tried to bully me and were rude to me? You want me to tell my friends how great you are? Um…no.  I would have.  I was planning to write a post about how fantastic this car dealership is (which shall remain unnamed because the salespeople themselves are very hardworking and do a good job, and it’s not their fault and I don’t want to take sales from them just because their boss is an ass), and how I got such a great deal bla, bla, bla.

And I still would have, if the manager would have sat me down and told me that I got a very good deal that shouldn’t have been done, but instead of trying to get me to pay more money, said congratulations on your new car.

Turns out, the assistant manager made a lot more dodgy deals that day.  The salesman said he won’t be getting any commission from any of his sales all that weekend and the assistant manager won’t be coming back.  I do feel bad for the salesman, as I said, he was very helpful, and it was not his fault.  Why should he have to pay for it?  He wasn’t the deal maker.

As for our cheque for the difference between our car and the one we bought? I’m still waiting for it.  And I’d better be receiving it soon or they certainly haven’t heard the last from me.  Dodgy buggers.

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Sh*t

25 Jan

“Sh*t! Sh*t!” Daniel exclaimed, whilst bouncing his bottom up and down on the couch with his legs dangling over the front of the cushion, and giving me that I’m-being-cheeky-to-get-a-rise-out-of-you grin.

“Excuse me?”  No one here swears.  Nor is he around people who swear.  Unless you count the flood of screaming expletives from the block of flats next door. But the second the yelling starts, I drown it out with my horrible singing so the kids don’t hear any of it.  I don’t want them to think that’s how people are supposed to speak to each other, and I don’t want them to pick up any bad words.

He kept looking at me with his cheeky grin plastered on his face, still bouncing up and down.

I listened a bit more intently.

“SSsssit!”

Oh, SIT.  Daniel enjoys jumping around on the couch and making me think he’s going to fall face first onto the floor with his recklessness.  Which he has a couple of times, prompting me to always tell him to sit every time he’s on the couch.

Let’s just hope he doesn’t say it in public until he works on his annunciation a bit…..

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What happens if you get sick or injured?

24 Jan

The thing about serious illness and accidents is, you never know when they are going to strike.  You always think “it’s not going to happen to me.” But what if it does?  A year ago, nearly to the day, I broke my wrist NON CONTACT sparring the very first (and only) time I tried a Taekwondo class after having kids (I used to do taekwondo competitively when I was a kid).  It was so hard looking after the kids with one hand (which wasn’t even my preferred hand, since that one was broken), pushing a double pram with one hand, riding the bus everywhere since I wasn’t allowed to drive, picking a very young Daniel up all the time, etc.  I still could though.  Just.  What if I got an injury that meant I couldn’t? Aaron has to go to work, or we don’t earn money and can’t pay the bills.  What could we do?

Today’s sponsored post gives an option:

So I’m worth $96,261 p.a. to my family as a home maker; what happens to my family if I’m unable to contribute as director of household management?

If being a home maker earned an income, the estimated annual income is estimated to be $96,261 p.a., but there are many facets of household management that no price tag could compensate for!

home makerBeing a home maker means wearing multiple hats, sometimes more than one hat at a time; a home maker is an educator, personal trainer, personal assistant to our children and a mediator just to name a very few! If you sat down and wrote a list of what you did day-to-day and worked out what the job duties of a home maker actually were, the estimated $96,261 may not feel fair compensation!

More than the usual things like cleaning, driving, caring for children and home maintenance; being a homemaker comes with many things that money cannot compensate for.

What if sickness or injury occurred and you were no longer able to contribute to the running of the household? This would impact different families in different ways; would the main income earner still be able to work whilst taking over the domestic duties? Would you need to hire domestic assistance? If you are a single parent, if you were disabled would you still be able to provide your children with the same level of care?

The effects can be devastating to a family. With the loss of the homemaker and the potential loss of income from the main income earner or the added costs of domestic assistance; the financial strain on a family can be long lasting, not to mention the added overall stress of being ill or injured.

Historically, if this were to occur, families would need to cope on their own. However with the vital need for some form of financial assistance on the event of disablement of the homemaker, insurance companies in 2012 have started offering products specifically for homemakers.

A more specific policy now available is a Homemaker Income Protection policy. A new product to the market, the Homemaker Income Protection policy can provide up to $5,000 per month for up to 2 years, some with paying automatic payments for certain illnesses like cancers, heart disease and stroke. Coverage is 24/7 and provides a benefit for major sicknesses and injuries. There are also options to cover children!

Primoris Financial has been assisting homemakers protect themselves against illness and injury since the introduction of these products and offers a 20% Cash Rebate on first year premiums for new policies! The cost of this coverage can be surprisingly low and Home Duties Income Protection Quotes can be requested online!
The value of a home maker cannot be understated nor can the value of protecting the homemaker against illness and injury.

*This post is sponsored by Primoris Financial and written by . Benjamin Irons is a financial adviser with Primoris Financial. Primoris Financial compares 12+ major Australian Life Insurance Companies to find competitive policies for clients Australia wide.

Benjamin Irons is an authorised representative of Millennium3 Financial Services Pty. Ltd. AFSL 244252 ABN 61 094 529 987. The information is general in nature and may not be relevant to your individual circumstances. You should refrain from doing anything in reliance on this information without first obtaining suitable professional advice.

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Wasp vs. spider

20 Jan

Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the thing that was coming towards me.  I flapped my arms in attempt to get it away from me, thinking it was some just kind of beetle.  I looked back, my eyes towards the ground, to see what kind of bug nearly landed on me out of nowhere.

The offending bug was not on the ground.  Instead, it was flying straight towards me, gigantic, and clearly angry.  Without second thought, I broke into a run.  Another look back showed me the giant scary stinging thing was still chasing me.  I was on my way to the garage to get something out of the car, but instead, I did a big loop in the driveway and ran back up the stairs, the huge bee-ish thing hot on my heels.

“I’m not getting the stuff out of the car, ” I told Aaron after I sprinted to our apartment like a crazy person.

He looked at me oddly, “A GIANT BEE/WASP/HORNET THING CHASED ME!!!”  I told him, half yelling from all the adrenaline.  I think he was stifling laughter, but humoured me and just said ok.

I waited a few minutes and then went back out. Surely the freakish wasp was gone?

I neared the corner of our building, almost to the steps that lead to the garages.  And there it was, straight at me again.  I spun around as fast as I could and bolted back up to our apartment.

“It’s out there again! It chased me!  I want to get a photo.”  I grabbed my camera and went back outside, this time creeping slowly, stalking the freakish wasp thing.

It was hanging out on a brick on the outside of the apartment building.  As I crept closer, I found the unexpected; it was not alone.  There, up against the wasp, was a spider.  A huntsman spider.  I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a huntsman spider, but they are not exactly small.  I couldn’t tell which was the hunter and which was the prey, but I was leaning towards the spider as hunter.

wasp vs spider

Photo copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson, unauthorised use prohibited

After shooting a couple photos, I slowly backed away, then turned and sprinted back up the stairs to my apartment.

“You should see this Boo! There’s a spider there too! I don’t know which one is eating the other, but come and see!”

We crept out again, Aaron not so cautiously.  He didn’t know what sort of aggression the giant stinger was capable of.

A couple of the neighbours from the building next door must have noticed all of my strange creeping and sprinting and asked from their balcony what we were looking at.  After we told them, they came over to see the weirdness themselves.

By this stage, the spider and wasp were on the sidewalk and the guy next door decided he should step on it.  He borrowed the woman from next door’s shoe, since he wasn’t wearing any of his own.  As he neared the crazy thing, it flew up, away from the spider and chased him.

wasp vs spider 2

Clearly, it was the spider who was the victim.

We started throwing things from afar, in a vain attempt to squish the super bug, failing each time.  The neighbour grabbed an old phone book from someone’s balcony and threw it straight on the wasp.  A couple seconds later, it crawled out, unharmed.

Standing there, we debated what we should do.  This thing was aggressive, chasing all who got too close, and no doubt would sting if given the chance.  There were kids around (mine were sleeping, FYI), and we didn’t want any of them to get stung.  We had to kill it.

Finally, the neighbour had an idea.  He ran next door, grabbed the hose, and turned it on full blast, pinning the super wasp up against the bricks with it’s force.

Still, it wouldn’t die.  It kept trying to fly up, out of the water, no doubt wishing it could come and sting us all.  He sprayed for a good 5 minutes before we all realised it wasn’t going to work.

The water seemed to stun it at least, so Aaron found a stick and started poking it while the water was keeping it tame.  Despite all the pokes, it kept on living.

Finally, about 10 pokes and almost an hour after we first discovered the freak wasp, it was nearly decapitated and almost dead.

spider wasp

Aaron holding up the giant stinging thing

After comparing my photos to photos on the internet, I figure the freak wasp is actually a Sydney spider wasp, which is a particular species of the spider wasp.  Luckily none of us got stung.  Turns out, on a scale of 1-4 on the Schmidt Pain Index, the spider wasp has a sting of 4, noting that  “the sting is described as blinding, fierce, and shockingly electric.”

Good thing we killed it. Better that we didn’t get stung in the process.

Also, it wasn’t eating the spider at all.  The females sting the spider, rendering it paralysed.  They then lay an egg in it’s abdomen.  When the egg hatches, it feasts on the spider  (who is still alive, I might add) from the inside.  Ick.

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Hottest day ever

18 Jan

Right now I am sitting on the couch in only my underwear.  There is sweat dripping down the crack between my boobs, and I’ve added a nice, wet, sweat patch to the back of the couch, even through the towel that I’m sitting on.  Today was the hottest day in Sydney since record keeping began.  A sweltering 45.8 degrees (114.4 F).  The temperature gage peaked even hotter where I live, at 46.5 degrees (115.7 F).  I’m not even joking.  Luckily this is not the U.K., or thousands of people would have died from heat stroke.

fricking hot

After running 5.5 kms at the gym this morning (because obviously I am stupid), I came home to my hot box of an apartment and put the fan on.  Usually that helps some. Not today. I turned the fan on and was met not with delightful cooling air, but with the feeling that I had just opened an oven.  Did I mention that I don’t have an air conditioner? I don’t have an air conditioner (please refer to the before mentioned statement of stupidity).

The minute Daniel woke from his nap, we high tailed it to Grandma’s house to bask in her air conditioning. But, we did have to return home, and now I’m sitting here sweating up a storm.  I’m not quite sure how I’m going to sleep tonight, but I suppose I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Thank goodness it’s only supposed to be 25 tomorrow (77 F).  Pacific Northwesterners are just not cut out for this sort of heat.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS! Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory Like my blog? ‘Like’ it on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Adventures/203964682967827?ref=tn_tnmn Pin It You officially have my permission to pin this (as long as it links back to my site).  Just don’t act like you wrote it. Because you didn’t…. Copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson The Best Mom Blogs

Rather be Shopping

17 Jan

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I love coupons.  Especially the sort you don’t have to actually spend time cutting out whilst the kids are yelling and screaming because they want to use the scissors too.  This weeks post is sponsored by Rather-Be-Shopping.com, and has made my mouth water at the mention of Quizno’s.  Yummmmy….

The holiday shopping season might have passed, but frugal consumers are still looking for deals. Fortunately, Rather-Be-Shopping.com has a perfect tool for bargain hunters who want to keep saving big bucks in 2013: a free mobile coupon app.

The new app allows shoppers to search and redeem hundreds of in-store coupons directly from their iPhones. Rather-Be-Shopping.com, already a leading online discount destination for savvy shoppers, added a mobile app for the consumer who arrives at the mall or their favorite store without a coupon.

The app is simple to navigate, enabling shoppers to search a store for coupons by store name or product category. Once the coupon is displayed on an iPhone, the cashier directly scans the phone and the user collects the savings.

“With the new year upon us, we couldn’t be more excited with the launch of our mobile app,” said Kyle James, owner and president of Rather Be Shopping. “Now whether you’re at the mall or surfing the Internet, you’ll be able to find the latest bargains and save your family hundreds of dollars during the holiday season.”

Searching by category gives thrifty consumers a chance to see if another retailer has a better deal at a competing store. But the deals aren’t limited to retail stores; the mobile app also has coupons for restaurants such as Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Chuck E Cheese and Quizno’s. The app also lists all of the online coupons on the Rather-Be-Shopping.com website, giving consumers the option of doing all of their holiday shopping from their iPhone.

An Android version of the Rather-Be-Shopping.com coupon app is tentatively scheduled for release in early 2013.

Learn more about the new Rather-Be-Shopping iPhone coupon app at http://www.rather-be-shopping.com/mobile_coupons.

ratherbeshopping

Find the latest coupon deals every day at http://www.rather-be-shopping.com.

About Rather-Be-Shopping.com
Rather-Be-Shopping.com is a leading destination for savvy shoppers looking for online coupons, printable coupons, and free shipping offers. Since 2001, online shoppers have made the website their hub for coupons to over 700 top national retailers like The Home Depot, Lands’ End, Sears, Target, Wal-Mart, Dell, and American Eagle Outfitters. Rather-Be-Shopping.com also has a popular blog offering tips on other creative ways to save money in everyday life. For more information, please visit http://www.rather-be-shopping.com.

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The broken fridge

15 Jan

I have been making large quantities of dinner to stick in my brand new awesome fridge so that I don’t have to cook so often. Especially in summer. Because down here, it gets fracking hot.  Like 43 degrees (109.4 f). Ick.

One such heinously hot day was New Year’s Day.  I went to the freezer to get some ice, which we had an abundance of, since there was actually room for numerous ice trays in there, unlike in our old freezer.  As I shoved my hand down into the cold of the ice cube bin, my fingers touched water. Water.  Crap.  We checked the fridge. The stuff in there wasn’t very cold either.

We turned the dials all the way up, hoping that would prompt the fridge to actually start cooling stuff.

It didn’t.

We unplugged it and plugged it back in again, thinking maybe it would be like a computer – everything on a computer seems to fix itself when you turn it off and back on again.

That didn’t work either.

The light still came on when we opened the door, but no matter what we did, that darn fridge wouldn’t turn on and actually cool stuff down. I called Appliances Online, where I bought it from, only to be told that there were no servicemen working that day because it was a public holiday.  The guy said he’d put it on record and someone would call me in the morning to sort it out.

No one did.

By noon, I still hadn’t received a call, so I called them instead. They didn’t know anything about my call the day before, nor had anything been done or recorded anywhere. They called Kelvinator, who then called me later that day.

“So when can I get someone out here to look at the fridge?”  I asked the lady on the phone.

“Not today,” she said rather rudely,  like I was a total idiot for having the mere thought that someone might be able to come that day “It’s already 2 o’clock and they’re booked out for the day.  I’ll book you in for tomorrow.  You will get a call between 7 and 9 tomorrow morning to let you know what time.”

I didn’t.

I called them at 9:10 and they still didn’t know what time someone would come.  “We’ll call you back by 1o and let you know.”

They didn’t.

I called them back at 10:10 and they still couldn’t tell me what time.

Finally, after I called them a third time, possibly a fourth (I can’t remember), they gave me a time frame.

They told me that the service technician calls half an hour before coming to give us a heads up. “Someone will definitely be home,” I told them “but we have two little kids and don’t always get to the phone in time, and sometimes we don’t hear it, so even if we don’t answer the phone, still come and knock on the door.”

“If you don’t answer, the serviceman will assume you’re not home, and won’t come.”

“But I’m telling you, someone WILL be home.  Even if we don’t answer the phone, we will be home.  Can I just call the serviceman back if I don’t get to the phone on time?”

“No, it’s a blocked number, you can’t call him back, you have to answer the call or he won’t come.”

Sigh. Such great customer service, they are so accommodating. I’m being sarcastic, in case you didn’t pick that up.

A few hours later, I got the phone call.  “I’m 5 minutes away, is there parking, there?”

So much for the 30 minute warning.  “Just on street parking, the garages are for residents only.”

He didn’t seem impressed.

Turns out the thermostat on our less than one month old fridge was broken.  They didn’t have any in stock, and it would be 7-10 working days before they got another one. In the meantime, we would have no fridge/freezer in 40 degree heat.

He must have felt bad for us though, as he called his “nice boss” (not his mean one.  There were two) and got permission to get us a whole new fridge.

I waited the whole next day (Friday) for them to call and let us know when we’d get the new fridge.

They didn’t.

I knew it wouldn’t happen on the weekend, so I called them on the Monday.

“Hi, I was just wondering when we would be getting our new fridge?”  I asked the lady who answered the phone and creepily knew all of my details without me telling them to her.  From the caller ID and then inputing the number on the computer, I assume. Still creepy though.

“I’ll have to get the paperwork finalised and get back to you, but the fridge is out of stock and will take 7 days to come in.”

“So you mean nothing has been done yet? The serviceman was here on Thursday.  Four days ago. We haven’t had a fridge for a week, and you mean to tell me that the new fridge hasn’t even been ordered yet?  All of our food spoiled.  We are living out of a cooler that only has enough room for a block of ice and a thing of milk.  We have to get take away food every day.  I also want to claim all of my spoiled food, and the ice that I have to buy every day.”

“Um…ok, I’ll just get a manager to call you back within 4 hours.”

A couple hours later, the manager called. “We don’t usually compensate for food spoilage, but I understand the special circumstances, so I’ll send you a form and you might be able to have a claim.”  Special circumstances as in their people don’t bother doing their paperwork…

This is the email they sent me in regards to my food spoilage (FYI Kelvinator is owned by Electrolux):

Dear Sheri

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.

As advised, foodloss is not covered by Electrolux warranty; however, as a gesture of goodwill Electrolux would be happy to assess your (freezer compartment) foodloss claim on this occasion.
Please provide receipts, if available.

Um…gee…thanks for that “goodwill.”  I hardly think that when my less than a month old fridge dies on me and spoils all of the food I’ve stocked up, it’s goodwill to pay me for the loss.  Maybe you should make/test your fridges better, so that they last more than a few weeks?  And of course I keep all of the receipts from everything I stick in my freezer.  I’m a receipt hoarder.  I just can’t help myself, I need that receipt for a carton of ice cream. Not. I don’t keep receipts for food!

Somehow, after all of my complaining, they managed to find a fridge that very day, and delivered it to me the next day.  It is working, but it’s only been a couple of weeks. We’ll see what happens in a couple more weeks. I’m not holding my breath, but I am hoping this one doesn’t kick the bucket, if nothing else, so I don’t have to deal with them again.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!

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Copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson

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Officially a student

11 Jan

I’d always planned to be a stay at home mum. I didn’t see any point of doing 3-4 years of university just to have a couple of kids a few years later and then stay at home with them and not use the degree I paid thousands of dollars for.  Instead, I did a one year photography course at TAFE (a technical college), but that was mostly so I could stay in this country.

I always imagined playing with the kids all day, nurturing them, teaching them, providing them with healthy meals, etc. etc. I didn’t think a lot about what would happen when they go to school. I suppose I figured I’d make their lunches, get them to school or the bus stop, clean the house and do some cooking and stuff while they were away, and then help them with their homework, and play with them until bed time. It made a lovely picture in my head.

But Oh. My. Gosh. I never imagined the boredom.  The mundane-ness of all the housework, nappy changing, feeding, why questions, telling them the same stuff over and over and over again, and doing the same things day after day. The lack of adult conversation.  The feeling that I’m not accomplishing anything, even though I know that raising my kids is the most important job I could ever and will ever do.  It’s also the hardest, the most frustrating, and the most rewarding.

There is absolutely no way that I can stay at home and do housework and cooking all day after the kids go to school. No. Fracking. Way. Even now, I’m itching to do something.  Something that doesn’t involve kids, writing about kids, or being at home with kids or by myself (Aaron works all day).

In about 6 years, both kids will be at school, and I will be able to get a good job, the job of an educated person.  The job of someone with a degree. Not only that, but in about a month and a half, I will have something to work for, concentrate on, apply my mind to, and to call all my own. I am officially a student. I have enrolled in my classes, and I even have my student card with the tiny photo of me grinning like child on it (luckily the photo is tiny because after getting all dressed up for the photo, I somehow managed to take half of my eyelashes off with the eyelash curler, in one fell (foul?) swoop).  And next week, I can get my free iPad (oh yes, my university gives new students brand new iPads, how cool is that?).  I even have a scholarship. Everyone else in my course does too, but that is not the point.

Me with my shiny new student card. Also shiny is my face because it is so darn hot over here right now, plus I'm not wearing a lick of makeup.

Me with my shiny new student card. Also shiny is my face because it is so darn hot over here right now, plus I’m not wearing a lick of makeup. Also, that magazine in the background is a fitness magazine, not a dirty one. In case you were confused.

My whole plan changed with just one email. Basically, it said that if I changed my first preference to this other course, not only would I get an early offer (which is the university saying that I’m in should I choose to accept), but I’d also get a scholarship.  The cheap side of me jumped up and down in celebration.  A scholarship.  An early offer.

But still, I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think I would truly want to be in that course, or if I thought I’d always wonder “what if” with forensics.  I looked up the course in the university handbook online. I read about the field on Wikipedia.  Coincidentally (or not) there was a show on TV that very night that was all about it.  I was so interested, glued to my TV.  I stayed up way past my bedtime, engrossed in all the information I found, convinced that I’m not supposed to be in Forensics at all, but this other field instead.

My course is a brand new course.  I will be one of the first students to ever take it.  By the time I’m finished though, the impact I could have locally, statewide, nationally, and even internationally, could be enormous. With the world population booming the way it is, degrees like the one I’m going to get will be invaluable.

I will be slowly studying my way to a Bachelor of Natural Science – Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security.  I am so excited. It’s right up my alley with the science-y bit, and the growing stuff and figuring out stuff bits.  Plus, someone has to come up with food solutions that don’t involve Monsanto (their website says “A sustainable agriculture company.” HAHAHA, they’re having a laugh! Feeding the population questionable GMO produce hardly qualifies as sustainable in my book! They also used to manufacture Agent Orange) and/or genetic engineering.

In other news, I just wrote my first negative review on my review blog. It’s hardcore, you should check it out:

http://www.amomsreviews.com/2013/01/11/wonder-winnie/

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!

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Copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson

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Zombie Party

10 Jan
foot print art

Hannah’s foot print and finger prints double as a zombie

I bet when Daniel is older, he’d love to have a Zombie themed birthday party. Heck, I think it sounds pretty fun myself! This weeks guest post is all about how to have a zombie birth party:

With a new zombie movie coming out almost every week and the most popular videos featuring zombie modes, the undead are gaining a foothold amongst today’s children like never before. With that in mind, here are some creative and fun ways to throw a zombie themed sleepover birthday party that will really bring your guests to life (or at least keep them undead).

Living Dead Face Paint
To kick off the zombie festivities, divide the kids into two different zombie themed teams. For example, decaying zombies, zombie princesses, bloody zombies, etc. Give each team sets of face paint and 20 minutes to paint each others faces in the most ghoulish ways they can devise while staying within their teams theme. If you have some old clothes you don’t need anymore, allowing the kids to have at them with scissors and fake blood can make for an extra bit of morbid dress up.

Zombie Sharks and Minnows
A game of zombie sharks and minnows can be a great way for the kids to act out their new personas. The birthday kid can start off as the original zombie and the rest of the guests can serve as uninfected humans – for now. Have the original zombie start off in the middle of a marked off area. All the uninfected humans must simultaneous run from one side of the playing field to the other, without being tagged, or “infected.” After they’ve been infected, they join the ranks of the undead, and can be revived when they find “antidotes,” or hidden zombie candies in the playing field, and eat them in front of one of the adult judges. At this point they can get back into the game as un-infected humans.

Who Can Eat the Most Humans?
By this point, the zombies will have built up quite an appetite for flesh. Let them satisfy their cravings with a brain shaped Jell-O mold eating contest. After a victor has been declared, the kids can bob for body parts; try using candy eyeballs instead of apples — just remember, no hands allowed — because let’s face it, zombies aren’t known for their table manners.

An Undead Cook Off and Feature Film
To round off the feast, let the kids make a few of their own zombie themed foods. One easy option is to give them all cooked hot dog segments and let them carve them into detached fingers with butter knives. Squirt some ketchup on the detached digits for fake blood. For desert, kids can make zombie themed bloody ice cream sundaes with strawberry syrup and zombie candy sprinkled on top. As they munch on their homemade snacks they can watch their favorite zombie movie. You can also find eyeball cake pop kits and other zombie themed snacks at stores like Target and online.

Scary Story Time
To cap off the night, all the kids should wash off their face paint (it will be far more frightening on your pillow cases), hop into their favorite kids pajamas and place them back into their teams. You can provide each group with a prompt for their zombie story; for example, one group can tell a story about how zombies were forced to battle werewolves for control of the post-apocalyptic world; another group could go over patient zero stories, or how they are the last survivors in the apocalypse. One other option is that they come up with a scary story about how they became their themed zombie team and use that as the basis of their story about how they became zombies. By this point, they will be dead tired and ready for bed.

With zombies in vogue like never before, most kids will be thrilled to host an undead party. By following these simple and exciting ideas, you can throw quite the monster mash for your own kids, without spending a ton of money. This should serve as your ultimate guide to treating your little nightmare to the very best birthday!

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!
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Copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson

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