Archive | June, 2013

80s workout star

30 Jun

“Hannah, what are you doing?” I heard Daniel ask Hannah inside their room.

“You know what I’m doing Daniel.”

“What are you doing?”

“YOU KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!”

I stood there, just outside their door, laughing quietly to myself.  I’d just put them to bed, and I knew exactly what Hannah was doing.  Just picture an almost 4 year old doing the running man in PJ’s.

The discovery of a head band led to the chain of events. Not the plastic kind, but the stretchy fabric kind.  For some reason, putting the headband on right at the top of her hairline instantly transformed her into an ’80s workout star.  How she made the connection between this:

Hannah's headband is just like the one on the right

Hannah’s headband is just like the one on the right (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

And this:

Transformation: complete

Transformation: complete (image courtesy of Hairstyletwist.com)

I’m not sure.  I don’t wear headbands to work out.  I don’t watch ’80s workout DVDs (or videos HAHAHAHA!).

But as soon as she put that headband on, she started running in place and intentionally breathing hard as if she’d been running for 10 minutes.  Unfortunately she inherited my natural running gait, which consists of flappy arms awkward legs, kind of like a baby bird trying to fly.  Basically her version of running in place looks like a slightly off-kilter running man.

“What are you doing Hannah?”

“YOU KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!!”

And so it went around a few times whilst I tried not to laugh too loudly, visualising the scene in their dark room, listening to the fast pitter patter of her feet as they touched the ground, until Hannah opened the door because she forgot to take her clock to bed.  She must have taken her head band off when she went back in because the ’80s workout star didn’t put on any more performances.

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The Masterchef

28 Jun

Eagerly, I thrust my hand in the air.  Despite there being over 300 people in the room, only a few of us had our hands up, volunteering to be in the next Masterchef challenge.  Two challenges had already played out.  This was my last opportunity to be chosen as a challenge participant.

My church was packed out for The Masterchef event with Kate Bracks

My church was packed out for The Masterchef event with Kate Bracks

The first challenge was won by the mother of one of the night’s comedic hosts, for her stellar efforts in the art of mashed potato.

“It’s a good thing you’re in politics.” Kate Bracks, winner of Masterchef Australia 2011, told contestant number two, a local politician and wife of this area’s mayor, after tasting her pitiful rendition of mashed potato.

With a giant grin plastered on my face, I walked up to the stage.

“The last challenge is…. A taste test!” The other comedic host told everyone as I was on my way up to the stage.

Part of me wanted to run back to my seat, just in case the taste test involved red meat. Or beans. Or brussel sprouts.  Or brains.  Or many things really.  I’m picky, remember?

But the other part didn’t care.  I love being on stage no matter what horrible challenge I’d be faced with, and no matter how much my legs shake with nerves.

“You’ll be tasting minestroni.”  In true Masterchef style, three contestants, me, the youth minister of the church I attend, and Kate Bracks herself, took it in turns to name the ingredients of the soup, with elimination for an incorrect answer, until there was just one person left.

Uh-oh, I don’t even like soup.  Or beans.  Or whatever questionable meat lurks in that soup.

I walked over to the giant bowl of soup, eyeing it off whilst stirring.

Not tasting the minestroni soup

Not tasting the minestroni soup

I could clearly see some of the ingredients of the soup without the need to use taste to discern everything the soup contained.

The three of us took turns a few times until Craig said basil.

“Nope, that’s not on the ingredients list.” One of the hosts said.

“Hmmm…I can definitely taste basil in there.” Kate Bracks told everyone.

“The correct answer was pesto.”

There is definitely basil in pesto, but if pesto as a whole was put in the soup, rather than all the parts, then basil would be incorrect, right? I mean if you put chocolate chips in a desert, you wouldn’t say you put cocoa solids and whatever else is in chocolate chips, you’d just say chocolate chips.  It was definitely a controversial elimination, but that just left Kate Bracks, and little old me.  Did I mention she won Masterchef?

Back and forth we went.  Still, I didn’t taste.  I’ve watched enough Masterchef to know what sort of cheeky ingredients not to forget about.  Salt for example.  And stock.  And pepper.

We got down to the last 4 ingredients.  The hosts gave me a hint.  They gave Kate a hint.  Then back to me. I had no idea what to say.

Trying to figure out what's in the soup

Trying to figure out what’s in the soup

“A patch where it’s said babies grow.” One of the hosts said for my hint.  Or something to that effect.  I can’t remember the exact phrase.

I didn’t even think.  Immediately, I blurted out “PUMPKIN!” excitedly.  After my verbal diarrhoea, I knew I was wrong.  I should have known better, Cabbage Patch Dolls were my favourite toys growing up.  Why did I say pumpkin?  Oh, that’s right, because every time I go to the plaza, I walk past a shop full of beautiful kids clothes that would look fantastic on my little monkeys.  If I could justify spending $50 on one piece of kids clothing.  Needless to say, we don’t own any of the cute clothes from Pumpkin Patch.  Seems Pumpkin Patch is ingrained in my brain though.  Stupid expensive clothing store!

Kate Bracks was absolutely lovely.  She is such a funny, nice, down to earth, inspiring person, and I’m so glad I had the chance to do a challenge with her.  It was so much fun.

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Despite what it may look like, Kate Bracks was not trying to grab my butt

She also gave a cooking demonstration using camp stove on the church stage where she almost lost her eyebrows to a fireball.

I got my Sweet Life cookbook signed, and Kate said she liked my hot pink running shoes.  They are pretty awesome.

Kate Bracks and me

Kate Bracks and me

Not only was The Masterchef a fantastic, fun night, but the proceeds are benefitting local charities that feed the needy, and attendees brought grocery items for the needy as well.

A special thank you to Garden Gourmet, who answered my email and supplied recipe cards to the goody bags (Unlike all of the other companies I’ve worked with and emailed, who didn’t bother emailing me back)  Oh yes, attendees got goody bags.  I do like me a goody bag.

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The perfect dress

27 Jun

Our closet in fairly ginormous for a non-walk in variety.  It’s mirrored sliding doors take up the length of an entire wall.  Aaron has half, and I have half.  Half of my half is taken up completely by dresses.  I love dresses. Of course bending over to pick up kids and crawling around on the floor whilst playing with kids all day is not exactly conducive to dress wearing, unless I want everyone and their mother to see my butt.  I did, however, come up with a solution to the hi-here’s-my-butt problem: stretch shorts.  I just wear stretch shorts under my dress in the summer, and stretch pants under my dress in the winter.  No more awkward indecent exposure incidents and I still get to wear my dresses.

Find out how to shop for your perfect dress with today’s guest post:

3 Tips for buying the perfect summer dress

Can’t find that perfect summer dress? Help is on its way in the form of the 3 top tips for how to find your wardrobe’s centrepiece this summer. Forget trawling around the shops, because once you know what to look for it’s easy to find the perfect dress for you.

One of the most important things to remember when buying your dress is to pick one you like. Ignore what is in or out of fashion this season, and choose something which suits you. Discover which styles of dresses enhance your body shape, choose shapes which accentuate the areas you like, and improve those you’re not so fond of. Pick a dress with colours that suit your skin tone and hair colour – even if the shape is good, the wrong colours can ruin all your work.

This dress is going to be the centre of your style this season, so you want to be able to wear it as much as possible! Make sure you can dress it up for an evening out – could you brave the theatre when it’s matched with heels and a wrap, or is it only an in-the-garden item? Also, you need to be able to throw it on with flip flops and a hat for the garden, so don’t go for anything too fancy! You only want to buy one dress, and be able to wear it for all occasions, so make sure that you can change the look with a quick accessory swap.

Finally, it has got to be comfortable. Don’t ever compromise on comfort; you’ll be wearing it in the heat, so you’ve got to be sure that the dress won’t constrict you in any way. Choose a light fabric so you can keep cool on those hot days, and remember that you can always throw on a smart Cotton Traders ladies jacket for the evening when it gets colder. Make sure the fabric doesn’t irritate your skin, as light fabrics can sometimes itch. To make sure you get this right, always try on your dress. This is easy on the high street, and if you’re shopping online buy the dress and try it on at home – most companies have great return policies such as cotton traders on many womens blouses for example, so don’t worry about having to send it back.

Once you’ve got your dress, enjoy it. You can wear it out to any occasion, and you’ll always look and feel gorgeous, so you can relax and have fun this summer!

*This post was brought to you by Cotton Traders

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Honey (according to Hannah)

23 Jun

“Can we make bars?” Hannah asked me the other day.  And by bars, she means home made granola/muesli/snack bars.  Delicious/nutritious ones.

“We can’t sweetie, we don’t have enough honey.”

The next day, we went to the local beekeeping shop.  Yes, there is one of those around here.  Random, I know, but they have raw honey and I’ve been keen to try some, plus it’s about half the price of processed supermarket varieties (at this particular place, I’m not sure if that statement is true in general).

After getting both kids and the jar I was going to put the honey in out of the car, we went in the shop.

“Sorry, we’re all out of honey. I will be getting some Monday week.” The man told me as soon as I stepped in the door.  I’d been in there before to get honey only to find out that I needed to bring a clean container to put it in.

“Why were they all out of honey, Mommy?” Hannah asked me on the way home.

“They sold out. People bought all of the honey the shop had.”

“The bees will have to make some more.  How do they make honey?” Hannah asked me.

bee

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

“Um…I’m not sure, sweetie, I’ll have to look it up and get back to you.”

“No Mommy, you don’t have to look it up, they pee out honey, I already know that,” she told me matter-of-factly, suddenly remembering.

“I don’t think they pee it out, sweetie.”

Don’t get me wrong, I did learn a little bit about bees in my Biodiversity class at uni, but that little bit pretty much only extends to the fact that they are pollinators and that a virgin queen bee goes on a mating flight where she copulates with about 15 males, ripping off their penises in the process, which gets her enough sperm to sustain her baby-bee making needs for life.  We did not learn about how honey is made.  Maybe that is something I should just know, but I don’t.

“Yes they do, I saw it on Peppa Pig.”

“Are you sure that’s what they said on Peppa Pig?”

“Yeah, they said bees make honey.”

Obviously, in the mind of a three year old, make is synonymous with pee.

And now you’re curious how they actually make the honey aren’t you?  It’s not much better than pee, but if you really must ruin your affection for honey, Click here.

Meh, I’m still going to eat it.

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Are sofa beds a practical option for kids?

20 Jun

Do you have more kids than bedrooms? Or maybe small bedrooms that the kids still want to play in but can’t if there is a bed taking up most of the room? Today’s guest post looks at the option of sofa beds:

When you are considering new furniture in your home, there are a lot of important aspects to think about such as cost, size, space, style and suitability. Add in the factor of children and ‘fun’ becomes a vital component too! Sofa beds are becoming more popular as an option for guest rooms and temporary sleeping arrangements, but how suitable are they as a full-time replacement for a child’s bed?

Space Saving and Money Saving

core advantage to sofa beds is the space saving appeal; they are perfect for larger families or those who have smaller rooms. During the day sofa beds make a perfect seating arrangement and can quickly and easily be pulled down for night-time use. If they are not likely to be used for seating during the day because the kids are at school, they can be kept down as beds during the week and used as a sofa at the weekend, giving the youngsters their very own ‘lounge’ separate to the grown-ups! Some sofa beds can even be packed away with sheets still on them to save more time, and the dual purpose of added seating can save money as well as space in a room.

This all of course depends upon having a separate room for your child, but if your sofa bed is in the living room you may run into difficulties, particularly once the rebellious teenage years begin. Your teenager will need space in which to spend time by themselves (and you will need a break too), meaning you should probably consider moving into a bigger living space rather than managing restricted rooms with a sofa bed. Since the economic downturn, buying property has become a lot more affordable, making this more of a practical solution for families who need to up-size!

Health and Safety

A major concern with furniture can be the health and safety aspects and you will probably question whether using a sofa bed long-term is as good as buying a standard bed for your child. There are a wide range of sofa bed designs available, and it is important to take the time to find one with a good quality mattress, which is hard wearing. Mattresses can for example come with anti-microbial cushioning plus waterproof protective covers just in case accidents happen when your child is still young. In addition you should ensure that the mattress supports the spine, aligning the lower back to relieve strains and tension.

Customers should always ask about the structure, particularly looking at where the frame sits when the couch is formed as a bed, to make sure it will not be uncomfortable or damaging to anyone using it on a long-term basis. An alternative solution might be a bunkbed with a sofa underneath, if your child is set on having a lounge space in a small bedroom.

*This post was brought to you by Tesco

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The princess

19 Jun

“I’m the king!” Daniel exclaimed excitedly as he put Hannah’s plastic tiara on his head. In case we didn’t hear him, he told us again, “I’m the KING, mommy!”

“I’m a princess!” Hannah said, wanting to play royals too.

Daniel looked at her for a split second before declaring “I’m a princess!”

“No, you’re the king.” I told him.

“I’M A PRINCESS!!!!!”

Sigh.

princess

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Convos with a 2 year old

14 Jun

If you have a toddler or preschooler, then you know that conversations with them often send you into a fit of internal giggles that you can’t possibly let out since the child in question is being completely serious.  Some ingenious man decided to harness the hilarity of conversations with his two year old by re-enacting them. Not with his two year old, but with another fully grown man.  The first time I watched one of his videos, I laughed so hard I cried.

*NOT a sponsored post.  I just wanted to amuse you with the video’s hilarity.

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The suppository

12 Jun

“You need to go to the toilet Hannah.  It’s not good to hold it in.”  My words fell on deaf ears as Hannah once again sat on the floor, her face betraying her secret.  It’s the same face she pulls when she’s doing a poo, except when she suddenly sits on the floor and makes the face, she’s not pooping her pants, she’s desperately holding it in.  If I ask her why she’s holding it in, or if she is, she denies it or changes the subject.

I don’t know why she does it, but the poo suppressing has only been happening for the last month or so.  At first I wasn’t really worried, she’d hold it in for a while and then go to the toilet a few hours later, perhaps the next day.  Recently though, it’s been getting worse.  Suddenly, she’d stop what she was doing and sit on the floor, silently clenching with all her mite with increasing frequency.

Often, a tiny bit of poo escapes during the clenching, upsetting her and perpetuating the cycle.  Her stomach started protruding and not in a squashy, chubby sort of way.  Her appetite was practically non-existant.  Needless to say, we called the doctor.  I was going to wait until yesterday when we could see our usual doctor, but she was floor sitting every half an hour or so and hadn’t pooped in a number of days, so I called the after hours doctors that come to our house.

He told me to give her plenty of fibre containing food like salad, and to drink plenty of water.  The small accidental poops are apparently “overflow” that she just can’t hold in.  Oh, and he told me to get some glycerol and put it up her bottom.

Yes. You read that right.  The very thought of putting something up my child’s bottom was terrifying.

Getting an almost 4 year old to eat a bunch of salad is not exactly a walk in the park either, especially one who is not eating much of anything at the moment.  Instead, I had to be creative. As soon as the doctor left, I looked up which foods contain lots of fibre and found that raspberries are full of it.

Hannah excitedly ate about 1/2 a cup of frozen raspberries after I told her they would help her poop.  Next, I gave her the last of the apple crumble that we made because apples also have lots of fibre (and our apple crumble is not full of added sugar).

She really likes pasta without sauce, with frozen vegetables mixed through (and no, I don’t mean whilst cooking, I mean after the fact.  She won’t eat cooked vegetables, frozen is her preferred vegetable state), so I bought some wholemeal pasta that has way more fibre than regular pasta.  Peas have heaps too, even frozen ones.

For desert, I wanted to make black bean brownies not only because they are delicious, but also because black beans are packed with fibre.  Unfortunately, they are also rare in these parts.  I have only found one shop that stocks them but not frequently. Sigh.

Instead, we made peanut butter cookies.  The ones whose main ingredient is chickpeas, which also have a lot of fibre, but not as much as black beans.  I know, that sounds disgusting, but they are actually delicious.  If they are warm, not so much if they are cold. Weird, right?

So they aren't the most aesthetically pleasing, but they are delicious and good for you :)

So they aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but they are delicious and good for you 🙂

And then came the dreaded suppository.

“Time for my medicine.” Hannah said happily.  Since kid medicine pretty much tastes like lolly water, it seems more like a treat than a cure.

“Errrr…it’s not one that you drink baby, it goes in your bottom.”

She looked at me for a second, deep in thought. “It goes in my bottom!” She giggled.  Apparently that’s funny.  Probably because she’s never had anything up her bottom.

I put some lube on the small suppository, and it went right in.  It didn’t hurt her, or cause any sort of discomfort.  In fact, she wasn’t even fazed apart from saying it tickled.  Phew, she won’t be scarred for life.

10 minutes later, Hannah took off down the hallway, running as fast as she could.

Trip.  She went down face first and immediately started crying.

Oh no, she’s twisted her ankle.

Luckily, she didn’t.

“I had an accident!” She cried.

“That’s ok, you just had the special medicine in your bottom, we’ll just clean it up.”  I didn’t realise it would work quite that fast.

The next day, she had 2 giant accidents at preschool, plus one on the toilet, then 2 at home, so I guess all that fibre and the suppository is working, and the backlog of poop is finally being freed.

I just hope she stops holding it in.  The doctor said it’s quite common at her age (which makes me feel slightly better about the whole thing).

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The licker

4 Jun

There’s always that kid.  Amongst a sea of kids bouncing on a jumping castle or climbing cargo net, all laughing and having fun, there’s that one kid who’s laughing with the rest, but only in between bouts of licking everything.  The licker.  

“NO, don’t lick that, yucky! The jumping castle is not for licking!”  the parents say every time the licker bounces too high and falls over.  Or “Put that tongue back in your mouth!” as all of the other parents stare, simultaneously cringing whilst secretly sighing in relief that the licker is not their child.

These lickers have inspired the stuck tongue on a frozen pole scene in many movies.

If Daniel gets sick in the next few days, I’ll know why.  Who knows what sort of germs are lurking on that probably never been washed jumping castle at the play place.    I told him a million times yesterday, much to his amusement “Jumping castles are not for licking, we don’t lick the jumping castle,” but he wouldn’t listen. Instead,  my words only inspired more laughter, in between bouts of licking, of course.

Sigh.

Licker

The face of a licker

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Planning

2 Jun

This year is the very first year Hannah is having her own birthday party.  Every other year, we’ve gone to the joint birthday party for all 8 kids born to the women of our antenatal class.  But this year, we are doing both.  She’s been excitedly talking about having a birthday party for months.  I was just going to do the easy thing and have a McDonald’s party until I found this.  Now we’re having a mermaid party at our house.  With 10 kids.  I know, what have I gotten myself in to?

The party is less than a month from now and apart from setting the date and booking the party box (with the kids tables, chairs, decorations and costumes), I haven’t done a thing.  I haven’t made or sent invitations, planned how to make the mermaid cake, figured out what craft we will make on the day, or which games we will play.  At Hannah’s request, the kids will be fed nuggets and chips, so at least I’ve planned the food a little bit.  But do I feed the adults too?  I don’t know what proper kids party etiquette is.  The kids are only 4 and under, so do the adults stay for the party?  I’m assuming so, which means if I don’t make some food for the adults too, they would be sitting around watching their kids eat whilst trying to ignore their rumbling tummies.

I don’t really know what to get her for her birthday either.  I thought that asking her what she’d like would provide me with a really long list of possibilities   Turns out she only wants a chocolate Freddo Frog and a new story book.  Later I finally squeezed out that she might like some “girls clothes” too.  And some new shoes, but she already has about 20 pairs (courtesy of Grandma), so I’m not about to indulge that request.

On the one hand, we want to get her stuff she wants, but on the other, we don’t want her to know what she’s getting.  I think I’ll just have to go to the shops and have a little look-see.  A year or so ago, we thought we’d be getting bunk beds for their birthdays, but with Daniel’s recklessness, that is definitely not an option.  He’d climb to the top and then just walk off because that is the kind of thing that he does.  We were also thinking about getting them a trampoline, but our yard isn’t that big and a trampoline would take up a lot of space.  Of course they don’t actually use the grassed part of the yard much anyway, so maybe that would be a good thing.

Maybe we could have a look at the lego store, she does like to make lego things with Aaron.  I’m not sure who would like that present more though, Hannah, or Aaron.

I’d better start planning, and coming up with some present ideas.  How was your very first kids birthday party?

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