Sunday, August 29, 2010

To Mac or not to Mac

I want a new toy. I really want a superdooper new laptop.

I would love a new desktop and a new laptop, but funds limit me to making a choice, and due to said lack of funds, the choice will have to hang around for sometime. So I need some help to get the right gizmo.

If you had the choice to have a Mac on the desk, or a Mac book Pro, or just an iPad, which would it be?

Or do I not even get a Mac? After reading this hilarious post I will feel like a bit of a tosser walking around with one, so true, so funny.

I should put it out there that I am so far behind, I don't have an iPhone, infact not even an iPod.

Is it time I gave Apple some love?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Let's get physical...

Ahh, I love an old Olivia Newton John Song, and even more on old movie of hers. BUT...

It has come to that time in my life again, where I need to stop the excuses of why I look like this


and start working on looking like Olivia in this little gem.

So I have joined Curves. I have paid and been measured (their scales must be wrong, I swear I can't be that big) and so far had one call to remind me I actually need to go before I will see the benefits of membership. Will try and fit them in on Thursday, hope someone else is there to have a chat, a cuppa and a cake with afterwards.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mail, mail everywhere

The fun of putting pen to paper is starting to roll in.

Fancy Pants pen has finally escaped from the box, only to remind me of the patience that is required to use a real nib and ink pot. While sitting down and playing scribe is something that I would like to find some more time to do, the reality is that the poppets at my feet always want to join in. And poppets and ink wells do not mix.

I have enjoyed finding random cards and items to send to some lovely friends and even more so have been the lucky recipient of some mail too. It really is a joy to get a card in the mail with a message from a friend just to say hello and to share some news.

If you need some inspiration, or just like to look at gorgeous cards, handmade by some other Aussie creative types, head over it Made it.



This is from Moon Mum

A whole package from pixels plus paper

Or something classy and hand drawn from Red Letter Studio


I hope everyone else that has taken an interest is enjoying the fun of shopping for cards, or using their creative ideas for some interesting things to mail around the world. Over at Melbourne Mumma, she is one organised lass, after joining the challenge she went out and collected everything she needed for the six week deal and set out a strategy to ensure she was going to complete it. She even managed to blog about it and share the idea around.

So, what have you all been sending out there?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Heaven's cutest boy

Today there is a little man having a birthday.

There wont be a cake, candles or gifts.

Just memories, thoughts, tears and lots of wishes that he was still here with us.

Happy Birthday Lochie.
We love you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

According to the experts...

It probably all started when I asked for the epidural, or maybe it was when I failed to even listen to the end of the hypnotherapy for birthing CD that was given to me.


But somewhere along the way I started to do everything wrong...according to the experts.

Don't get me wrong, I had very good intentions of doing everything theoretically and practically accurate. I like to research things. I read all the books, Gina Ford, Pinky, Tizzy, SOS, the list goes on, so I knew what I had to do. But my baby didn't come from a book, she came from me, and I had to make the decisions in the wee hours of the morning.


 Perhaps it started when I gave in to the constant crying and gave Popps a dummy (only for sleep time of course) or maybe it was when I fed her to sleep, in our bed, and let her stay there all night.

ROD FOR YOUR OWN BACK, I hear many of you muttering.

But I have so many rods now that it helps me walk upright and proud.

I rock my babies to sleep, every day, every nap. Today it took me five minutes of my day to rock Imogen to sleep for her nap, phew, that was tough. Could have let her scream for 20 instead I guess (Gina Ford would have).

I love to use a baby sling, depending on the task and location I would use the ergo, baby bjorn, peanut shell - another ROD! But oh how I loved it, and so did my husband. He could go and do anything, stroll around bunnings for 2 hours if he pleased, strap them on and off he goes. Hmmm, can you believe they still both managed to walk by 13 months.

I have packed snack boxes that have contained nothing at all from the bottom of the healthy diet pyramid because we ran out of fruit and I was running late, and I mustn't have been to enough tupperware parties or something but yoghurt just doesn't travel well for me.

I have even used glycerine on a dummy during one incessantly bad crying period (Arabella's, not mine). The four hours sleep we both got was well worth it. Didn't read that from Pinky though.

Ever heard of teething mixture (the one the Ballarat chemist used to make up for desperate mums and express post to you). Yup, GUILTY. In fact, the guilt for using that nearly ate me right up, until I woke from a full four hours sleep for the first time in seven months.

I have raised my voice once or twice, like when my new Stila lipstick was gone, but the freshly painted wall had lipstick kisses all over it and when the plain flour was used to make it look like it had been snowing.

I have opened packets of biscuits while we journey around the supermarket, just to get some peace. Last year, with a three year old and newborn, I left the groceries behind three times, just paid and left. Was so embarrassed had to send Hubbie to get them each time, (if this happens to you, Coles will keep them there for you and even put all your items in the fridge so they don't spoil).

Some other 'experts' , (yes, you Mem Fox) have also criticised us that have gone back to work and used long day care. I work two days a week. What else am I supposed to do with them, just leave them in the Casino carpark?

And, some nights after work we have McDonalds for tea.

According to the parent experts and authors I am a complete and utter failure, who has not done much right. But according to my two precious daughters I am marvellous and as close to perfection as they are ever going to get.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flat Stanley joins the challenge


Well it seems that the creche is getting into the handwriting theme right now too. Today when I picked Popps up (rather late, she was one of the last five there) we had Flat Stanley to bring home too. Flat Stanley was attached to a note for parents.

The children had to decorate Flat Stanley, but ours had a few lines of purple pencil and that was it, I asked what happened to make him the most boring little Flat Stanley possible, Popps let me know that she was too busy being the helper, pushing the food trolley back to the kitchen. So the most boring Flat Stanley ever has to be sent with a letter, by post, to someone else. To someone who will send him back with a letter and a photo of where boring ol' Flat Stanley has got to. Over dinner we discussed who we could send him too.

Popps: "Actually, I want to keep him, I don't want to give him away"
Me: " You'll get him back, he's just going on a holiday, and whoever you send him too will let you know what he gets up to."
Popps: "hmmm, maybe my cousin, and my friend from kinder, and my Granny, and my friend in Geelong."
Me: " Mmm, you only have one boring ol' Stanley."
Popps: "Yes, that's why I want to keep him."

For anyone looking for a project to help children understand about writing letters, the Flat Stanley Project is a fun way to get started. It is based around the children's book Flat Stanley, by Jeff Brown, "Stanley Lambchop is a normal boy who finds himself flattened by a bulletin board, but that doesn't stop his adventures. He is sent through the mail to places all around the world, where friends and family take him on trips, see sights, and increase the knowledge of the world of not only Stanley but also anyone reading the book."

While I get writing on my letters this weekend, Popps will be able to get working on her own writing project. Can't wait to see where boring ol' Stanley ends up.


Due to Popular demand, here is the boring ol' Flat Stanley,
Boring Ol' Flat Stanley
Stanley starts to get some colour

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Handwriting is the new black


Everything comes typed these days, and its really getting a bit boring.

Time to get back to basics, originality, and character. Back to handwriting.

I love receiving something from a friend in the mail, but it hardly ever happens these days. I have a beautiful old hat box that I have filled with letters, cards, home made tapes(!) and notes from friends. They start from when I was about 10 and finish sometime in my mid 20s.

Recently, out of the blue I sent my good friend MissMeg a card, just to say hi. She loved it, I loved that she loved it.

So here is my new challenge:

Every week for the next six weeks I will be handwriting a letter or card and posting (remember that) the letter to someone fabulous.

If you feel up to the challenge, join in and let me know how you go.

Beautiful stationery may be desired, but not required, but it might be time to give my fancy pants pen a whirl.
Fancy Pants Pen, time for some action
I have had this ink pot for about 15 years, Mum found it somewhere, no idea how old it is, but I love to use it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guilt free shopping

There are so many charities and causes that choosing one (or some) that you want to support can be difficult. Every charity has a reason of why they need your cash more than you need a new pair of sparkly shoes, though I do need a new pair (please universe, they are not in my new Ms Thrifty budget allowance).

Charities have had to get savvy, cool and happening to keep up with our lifestyles and ensure they are hanging out in the same places we are. They need to remind us of reasons to give and give us a bit of a prod (sometimes with an electric cattle zapper prodder).

But sometimes you can support a charity, shop online and get a bargain (woohoo, HAT TRICK!)

Project 18 is a charity set up by an Aussie woman to look after Bali's street kids. One of her fundraising tools is to have a monthly auction of donated goods on facebook, bound to grow over time but there are currently not alot of people bidding for some desirable stuff. Last month I forgot to click back and bid on an item - RRP $440 which sold for $85. The August auction is on in a week - Tues 24 August - and the theme is 'handmade stuff'. There are some quirky individual pieces up for grabs which I have my eye on:

Cool bag for the pool, or trendier than my current nappy bag.

stylish tees for the girls

just so cute, can see it with little denim skirt and walnut red shoes

Just fun to have, I am sure to fill it with something.
This is what I call Guilt Free Shopping.


For more about Project 18 
You need to go to the face book page to take part in the auction fun.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Communities that embrace children

Just back from a shopping trip with the two girls at the local shopping strip. Mum came too, which is very rare as they live a few hours drive away. The area was packed with similar family groups, it is an area filled with growing families. When I say filled, I mean PACKED. Baby bonus money or not, there is something in the water around here.

But when it comes to services for us, a lot is lacking. My marketing brain is working overtime.

The busy cafe we went to, that would seat at least 50, had one highchair, (and overpriced cupcakes).

The pricey children's wear store didn't even have a box of filthy overused toys to distract them for a few moments.

There is no open space to let everyone recharge before continuing ticking off the tasks from the list.

I couldn't find a cafe that has decided to have a decent kids lunch available, (and dear cafe owners, nuggets and chips are not what we want to order, try avocado sanga cut into stars, or fruit kebabs for a change).

Yet there are certain places that have embraced the demographics of the area, and they are booming. Sure, kids can be a pain in public, but the proof is in the chocolate pudding! I know exactly where to go to make shopping, dining and purchasing a more pleasant experience, and those places are the ones I (and pretty much every other parent around here) keep going back to.

If you are looking to increase customers, find more sales, or build a new target audience, start welcoming the smalls.



Photo is from Kids In Prague (perhaps I should move there??)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Phone habits

As you know I am trying to get back in the habit, playing along with the game at pottymouthmama, where a few of us are trying to get NEW habits.

I was attempting to call an old friend for a catch up each week and YAY for me, success. In fact, great success, not only did my old friend from Grade 5 and I chatter away for two hours, we are also catching up next week, yep, in the flesh, it has only been nearly two years so we are both thrilled with ourselves for getting organised once and for all. It was marvellous to just chatter away as though we still see each other every other day and a reminder of how much I value her friendship. No matter how long between chats and catch ups we just pick up where we left off and continue the conversation, and talk and talk and talk...

Bring on next week, I can't wait to see her.

And, I admit I was meant to be attempting to start walking, but with such success on this task, I think I needed a rest.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What's in a name?

We put hours into deciding on the names of the girls, but has it all been for nothing?

At 1and a half the word explosion is happening for Imogen and her name seems to have morphed into Mimi, at first I thought she was saying Me Me Me all the time, but it is definitely Mimi. Certainly not a name that was on the original list. But, that gorgeous baby voice calling out Mimi, Mimi's, (as in, ITS MINE GIVE IT BACK) is too cute, and we all keep repeating the name. Is this how people end up with a name that was never supposed to be?

Are you called by the name your parents wanted?

Have fun creating your own nickname!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Purchasing Girl Power

My work lunch today had me reading the Marketing mag and I came across the article on Gender Marketing by Alison Copley. While my experience is based on services, I love reading about great ideas in the market place. Copley discusses companies that have successfully marketed to women and how they do, she mentions the stats about how us women folk tend to be making all the decisions these days (as if we haven't always!) deciding on around 80% of purchases made for our families.

Copley mentions Femme Den, a group of four lovely ladies who are "fed up with poor packaging for women...(and)share the collective aim of 'saving good women from bad products.'"

This got me thinking about products I buy that could use a facelift. Such as, razors, surely a tastefully decorated tin, with a child proof lid could work nicely in my bathroom, preventing them being left at the bottom of drawers, showers, on the basin and within reach of inquisitive little fingers. Or, what about beanbags, the girls laze about in designer bags and SS would love (but wont be getting) some horrible big 'manbag' but what about some that are sewn in fabrics that may even match the rest of the house, in fabrics that I would be happy to pick up off the floor each day. How about a pot plant that came with detailed instructions, rather than 'likes a sunny spot'...mmmm, well, don't we all.

But what I really need help with (after losing it again today) are security passes. You know, that little plastic card that does nothing for you other than get you in to where you would rather not even be, but you need to have it hanging around all day. I prefer not to accessorise with it as a necklace (apologies to those that do), don't wear 'man-suits' with bulky pockets and can't be carrying around my bulky handbag to every meeting. So, designers out there, get your skates on and help me out...what do you suggest?

What do you buy that needs a makeover, or do you let the men in your life have any purchasing power?

Monday, August 9, 2010

White

I love white.

White clothes, white walls, white furniture. There is a house I regularly drive by that has a white picket fence, is painted white, white roof. I love it, one day I want a house that white.

I recently purchased these little white beauties, I love them.

When Popps was 2 and I was heavily pregnant with Immy I bought our new couch, WHITE LEATHER, sure the salesman said, it is really easy to keep clean, just give it a wipe with leather cleaner every couple of weeks.

It is beautiful.

It is filthy.

The main enemy of the beautiful beast - dark denim jeans. I would like anyone who visits me in new jeans to sit on the floor, but they might think I have gone a bit mad. I would also like to suggest they know the rules of the house when we don't have visitors - no eating on the couch. But that just isn't manners.

I am close to giving up on scrubbing the thing clean, every two weeks has become every 3-4, but when I give her a bit of attention out comes that lovely white look that I love so much and I know I will clean that damn couch forever.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Weekend Read

P.S. For those of you about to have a weekend where you can sit by a cosy fire, curl up and read a book, give 'People of the book' by Geraldine Brooks a try. I just finished it, it was great. Interesting characters woven through different times over the last 500 years. Its not brand new, so you should be able to get a copy from the local library.

I am now waiting for Trust, so if you are one of the seven people that have it from my local library...hurry up, please.

Groovy chicks

Phew, work day is over, creche frenzied kids have been put to bed, dishes are done and washing is folded. Have had to put another load in machine, so wont be breaking that habit of leaving wet washing over night, but there is always tomorrow. With the calm and quiet that has descended upon the house I sat down to check out some of the photos that have been sitting, waiting patiently, to be downloaded from the camera. I noticed how there are some photos of the girls that I just love. They are not excellent photographic shots and the girls are not doing anything special.

They are just hanging out together.

Happily together.

Which reminds me that they are pretty much always happy together. They can sort things out for themselves, entertain each other, help each and have a relationship that I can only hope lasts a lifetime.


 Racing down the hallway.





Tickle time at the play centre trampoline (note: this is taken on a daddy daycare day, which is why the odd socks).




Dancing at the Doctors











Quietly watching PlaySchool together

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Little Trees

We have moved to a new area, so I needed to head off and try out the local supermarket. All started poorly when I was faced with three trolleys that wouldn't accept my money. I already despise this notion of having to pay a bond for a cage on rickety wheels, that I hurtle around a supermarket filling up with things I am going to pay for, but more on that another day.

The girls love the supermarket, faced with endless items of desire their little faces just light up aisle after aisle, until they want to go home.

Then, they are not so happy.

But today we found something new. New Supermarket, new food!

And this is what we bought.

Broccoflour.

It's a lovely shade of green.
















And, it helps me to reach the goal of starting to cook a few new dishes. I have had to google it and found a page on Taste with a couple of options.

Who else has tried this, am I the only one that didn't know about it?

Back in the Habit

Have decided to join along with the team at the potty mouth mama blog and try and see if we can change some habits around this place, mainly mine, but to benefit us all.

I will have to hereby declare to attempt to change the following:

1) As with everyone else - drink more water.
2) Attempt a daily walk; rain, hail or shine, and not allowing a trip to the letter box to suffice.
3) Attempt to cook some new meals for the family, not masterchef style, just fast, nutritious, cheap and yummy.
4) Actually hang out all loads of washing, no going to bed with a load still in the machine
5) Make sure I call at least one old friend each week for a catch up.

What little habits would you or have you managed to change lately. What inspiration and ideas can you give me to keep me on track.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Oobi doobi

I have little crushies on baby fashion items. For the last 12 months or so I just seem to be surrounded by Oobi Baby items. I love the vintage style that they favour. So a few months ago I set off to get a great professional photo of the two of them in their new Oobi outfits. Miss 4 in her super swirly Darcy skirt and Miss 1 in a cute little tulip tennis skirt. I wanted just one photo of the two of them together. An hour later and we had an image, they look amazing. But what you see is just them and a couple of cheapie white singlets. What they were wearing was totally irrelevant...as it should be for all of us.
The image was taken at Morffew Photos in Doncaster, this is a lo res scan. This image can not be reproduced.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I am a swinger!

Yes, you read it correctly, I admit it, I am a swinger. A swinging voter. But I don't really want to be.

I clearly remember in Year 12 politics that we were learning about voting choices and the teacher told us that we would all most likely end up voting for whoever our parents vote for. Voting is apparently a bit like religion, you just tend to follow what the rest of the household did.

Easy!


Home I went to find out who we vote for. Started with Dad, he brushed me off, wouldn't tell me. I tried again and got some comment about that being his business, secret ballot and all that. Off I went to pester Mum. Again, another brush off, claiming that she voted informally and there was never anyone decent to vote her. I spent some weeks and all the next election campaign trying to secretly figure out who they voted for. But nothing.

Here I am now, 20 years later (can that be right, am I really that old) and I still don't have any idea who they vote for. But on top of that, I have had to make up my own mind every election.

I can find this decision exhausting, as though my vote could be the decider, the one that changes the direction of the country. The one vote that might bring doom and gloom to our lives.

So, here I am, I sat up and watched q and a for some guidance, I try and seek out policies that might be good for us all (my family and my community) I look at the person in my electorate and read all the crappy marketing material they send me, yes, I am that 0.01% who reads them. They just cause me more grief as I am too aware of the marketing spiel that goes into them.

Over the next few weeks I will have to keep an eye on all that is going on, to ensure my vote is directed to the best and finest candidates. But don't be thinking I will share the answer with you...secret ballot and all that.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Get Involved

It really doesn't take that much to get involved in your community.

On the weekend my sister organised the local pony club, who generally need to work hard for their own fundraising, to raise money for breast cancer research. In a tiny little town, with a few kids at pony club, they all got into the spirit of the day and raised double what they had hoped to achieve. They also seemed to have a great time preparing for the event, as you can see from the image, even the horses got into the spirit of the day!

There are so many ways that we can assist charity organisations (or just our neighbours) what have you done recently that was fun, exciting and also helping others?





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