Friday, December 30, 2011

Tell me what you think.


It's a work in progress and I am never really happy with it, but today I updated my about me page, rather than it being an about me page, it ended up being a My Blog Story page.

It still needs something, feedback from twitter has been that it is still missing something that describes me.

I will keep thinking.

My blog will keep changing, I think she might even make herself some new years resolutions. But they wont be about losing weight or reducing chocolate intake - this blog is designed to increase the chocolate intake of the Huey household, and online, I can already photoshop out the cellulite if Instagram filters haven't already.

Take a look, tell me what you think, and be prepared for any changes that come about as I fiddle my way through things. (Here is the link for those that missed it above)




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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Christmas 2011

There are pros and cons of everything, including Christmas.

For the Huey house, this is our list for 2011

Pros:
  • We don’t have to buy soap until Easter.
  • I got to eat the seafood I love that no one else in this house will usually eat.
  • Loved ones remember items that I wanted last year, and spend the year making sure they give it to me this year.  Hello Beautiful MOR teacup candle.

  • Ford has given me another Focus Car to test drive for two weeks so we are cruising in style as we travel around.
  • Our house smells lovely with the real tree in the lounge room.
  • Leftovers
  • Yabbies
  • Slip n Slides




Cons:
  • An extra 2 kg on the hips



How are things unwrapping in your neck of the woods?




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Monday, December 26, 2011

Good days

We are enjoying the holidays with the rellies. Stealing veggies from the garden and testing out the slip n slide.

It's good times.

And I just wanted to wish you all happy days. Wherever you are and who ever you are with, may your days be good ones.

Friday, December 23, 2011

An owl party.

I was planning to share the joys of Imogen's birthday with you. But that will have to wait as I am still collating photos from here, there are everywhere.

But I know lots of my readers enjoy seeing the excellent results of a nice little well planned party, be it for big or little people.

Remember Max? Well we got an invite to his party too, as he turned three and his parents put on a really sweet party and had really considered everything.

I didn't ask permission to use images of any other children, so I don't have a huge number of photos to share, but this should give you the idea.

There was a baby animal petting corner, where the kids got to hold lots of baby rabbits, chickens, ducks and guinea pigs. This rabbit looks like he wants to escape, but he sat quietly for quite some time.





The theme was owls, and these are the cutest owl cupcakes.






There are some mighty talented cake making people out there. You know that I am not one of them, but I certainly enjoy seeing the results of those that are. (Of course I had some cake too!)





The Lolly table was actually not emptied in a matter of seconds, most of the kids were off at the dress ups corner, the baby animals, painting plaster owls or running around.




But it was a very hot day and Miss Imogen was a big fan of the glass bottles and paper straws, until she realised that chewing on a paper straw means you can't suck anything more through it.





Max's Mumma gave a lovely little speech and shared with us the owl theme actually came from some therapy strategies that they use which is called Observe, Watch, Listen. (OWL) which I also thought was a great motto to use myself sometimes, rather than just coming over all screechy Mumma in the first instance.

If you have a birthday during this festive season - I hope you have one as good as this.




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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ideas for a Christmas salad.


We are sharing ourselves around as many Christmas dinner tables as we can this year.

My sister who lives in the middle of nowhere has requested I bring the afternoon platter of cheeses and deli treats that you can only get in the big smoke. This is perfect for me, it requires shopping and no cooking and will also travel the many kilometres we need to drive without much hassle.

My Mother in law has requested some suggestions for some new salads for the table.

Since I went to Gwinganna I have been eating a lot of new salads. So I had another search through my latest mags and books for some for Christmas Day and thought I would just share my favourites here in case anyone else is looking for some food ideas that are easy, yummy and summery.

Here is my list of suggestions.


Beetroot Salad

Popps loves beetroot and I think it is highly possible that my Father in law has some in the garden, this would be a yummy way to add some home grown yumminess to the Christmas table. It is actually also online here.




Mexican Beef Salad

I have made this one already, the kids loved it and so did Mr H as I made him BBQ the meat first and then slice it, it made him feel a little less mungbean hippy for the day. It is from a Weight Watchers book and was a great meal all by itself. It will be perfect for a hot day too.




Prawns with Watermelon and Feta Salad

This is from a magazine called MindFood, which I have only recently come across. Prawns are a major food source for us at Christmas time and this salad looks just perfect - because it looks so so easy. Grabbing the mint straight from the garden can be a task for the little kids to help get them involved with the Christmas catering.









This one is from a magazine, but I also found it on their website so you can get the full recipe there, just click on the heading to go through to the website. I like how it is in the Christmas colours!








Do you have salads for the Christmas feast table, or is a more traditional Christmas still served in your house?


And this was not a post for any of the publications mentioned, they are just where I found these ones.




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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas with a big family

I am really lucky that my Dad is one of nine children.

Lucky because Christmas has always been a huge affair, with cousins to play with and a great Christmas atmosphere.

Today we had Hewitt Christmas, it is more often held before Christmas now as all the grand kids (that's me) have grown up and have partners and more children and the logistics get too hard.

So what is it like to spend a Christmas lunch with around 65 family members?

Well, there is the food. Plenty of food. And you will eat seconds even if you don't want to, because it is so yummy.

There is Christmas Pudding, which Grandma makes every year, for forty years it has been made, we never get through it, but the same size is made every year. It always gets gobbled up over the next few days.

This is less than half the original size.

When a cousin shares bouquets of the herbs from her garden, your 88 year old Grandpa will ask if that is marijuana.



Your children are shy for the first three hours and hang off your legs, then when it is time to go they will hide in the toilets so they don't have to leave.

You accept that there is no chance you will get a decent photo of all the great grand kids, so you put Grandma and Grandpa at the back and just pile the kids onto the rug and all start snapping. Four new babies to the clan this year and one extra on the way.


The 5 year old will look at this pile of presents and whisper, "Do you think there might be one for me there?"



She will nearly wet her pants with excitement when ten presents appear with her name on them. Your mother will dress you in matching Christmas dresses, and if she is a blogger she will have stolen the pattern from Pinterest.








Even though you have eaten enough for the week, you will return home with a little bowl of extra treats.




Going to bed at 6.30pm in your party dress because you are too tired to even walk is considered ok.




You will all say farewell with a "See you at Easter?"

Do you have the fortune of a big family?


And yes, for those that can't help themselves but ask, we are Catholic.


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Friday, December 16, 2011

Time to decorate - NOT a christmas post.



Now that she is three, Immy needs a new room.

The toddler bed and the change table can go and the room can be more ‘her’. As it is, she got the ‘boys’ room from the previous owners and we have done nothing to change this for her. Poor second child got all the old cot linen and cot and even the snuggly pink rug on the floor she only got as Popps was sick of it.

So I have started thinking about what to do with her room, it isn’t large, but it is ok for a single bed. (which I won’t be getting from Adairs like I expected as they now sell Playboy stuff and I am on my moral high horse about not supporting businesses that sell things to support the porn industry…I digress)

The room will not look like this:





The budget does not extend that far, nor does the ceiling.

But I love the tree idea as something not too baby and not too teenage. This one might get a little wrecked and only provide mess to clean up.




So I will be putting up this one instead. I love wall stickers and in the past when we were renting I got some super cheap and nasty ones, that meant we had to repaint the entire room when we left. I have learnt my lesson and after giving these a try on the wall I know they are not going to ruin everything they touch. I also like how Immy will be able to rearrange the birds, and butterflies and the overall look as she pleases. 




I might also set up this bed and canopy too, we have it in storage as it was what Popps used to have...opps, it seems hand me downs are just a part of being a second child.






Bright Star Kids have kindly sent me this tree sticker to put up in Immy's room after we had a discussion of what I might need. When I checked out their stuff I nearly went for the birds on a wire for our own room, or the Christmas Tree Wall Art stickers for our kitchen area. They have some great stuff. Check them out for some decent kids gifts or for items to get your house a little more groovy.


Can't wait to show you how it works out. Have you decorated your kid's bedrooms with wall stickers?


Images: The first images here are from Pinterest, then Bright Star Kids and the last is from Ikea.



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Thursday, December 15, 2011

So this one time, at Gwinganna.


A few months back I was lucky enough to win a weekend at a beautiful spa retreat in Queensland. Gwinganna.

Can’t tell you the excitement I felt. Three days of sun, warmth, being waited on and getting massages.

COULD NOT WAIT.

I tweeted while packing to ensure I had the right clothes. Yes they all replied, Queensland was warm. I packed my sun dresses and summer frocks to laze beside the pool along with my thongs and sandals.

Upon arrival I was greeted with fresh juice, wraps and herbal tea.

I was pig in shit happy.

Then something happened.

24 hours in and I was not all that happy. I was quite cranky and feeling rather negative. I would have quite liked a bloody drink by the pool or a cupcake with a cup of tea even while I curled up and read a book.

This old cricket stand is the only place you can get WIFI coverage, note the lack of blue sky too, not helping my cranky pants wearing attitude.


I hadn’t packed a fleece like everyone else for the 5.30 am wake up call to go and do Tai Chai and salute the morning sun while looking out towards the ocean. I didn’t appreciate being told that I had “capped my joy” because of my desire to always be pleasing other people. Yep, I already know that, thanks anyway. I wanted to check twitter or watch late night TV, but these things are not available at Gwinganna.

I went for a Hot Rocks massage and when I came out I had a migraine coming on. So I booked in for another remedial massage to see if that would help.

After my late arvo massage I was late for dinner and our 200ml of daily (organic) wine allocation had been packed up, I asked for my rations and was questioned to ensure I wasn’t just trying to sneak out another glass, I guess by this stage I must have looked like someone keen to drink whatever they could get.

I had become so annoyed with myself for not feeling my pig shit happy feeling that I had to give myself a good talking to. I was being cooked for, served amazing totally organic meals and the people I was meeting were all friendly.  I had three spa treatments in one day for god’s sake. What the hell was wrong with me?

When I got back to my room at 8.15pm, I got out my ipad and attempted to get some kind of coverage, there was none. So I got out my note paper and pen to try and work out what was wrong with me.

It became quite clear.

I was missing the sugar I didn’t think I usually had that much of.

I was missing my mid morning cup of tea that I didn’t think I needed and the little snack that went with it.


I wanted more wine with my meal because social drinking makes me happy and I like meeting new people, having a drink and chatting all night long.

I wanted to relax more.

The view from my room.
The next morning I slept through my friendly 5.30am wake up call and skipped the exercise options and relaxation classes. I went straight to the pool and stayed there ALL day, only leaving for meal times. I wore my summer frocks and if not in bare feet then I slipped on my strappy heels that were not designed for mountain areas.



Totally delightful day, it was heaven and I didn’t really want to leave, having now found my happy place. But I did think it would be nice to go home and have a wine and some cake and a big baked potato with cheese and sour cream (Gwinganna is not a big fan of dairy food).

The surprise was that on my return I didn’t do any of that. That in the last two months since I went away I have attempted to feel as good as I did on the day I left. I have started serving the family meals with things like Quinoa and lentils and lots and lots of leafy greens. I have started each day with a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar, I don’t really know what it is going to do for me, but it doesn’t hurt (pretend you are 21 again and taking vodka shots, same heat and foulness).  I am also not drinking alcohol at all or eating the usual suspect snacks.

Since Gwinganna I have lost nearly four kilos. I never went expecting this to be an outcome. While I was there I would have sworn to you that I just needed a pack a day Tim Tam habit to make me happy.

Would I go back? Totally. But I would be more organised with what I wanted from the weekend. I would have my own schedule. – but I would still do the deep water running classes again, which are words I never thought I would ever type.

If you have the means, give Gwinganna a go. You deserve it, but pack a fleece, it is cold in them there hills, no matter what twitter tells you.




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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A letter from Immy - 2011 version


It's my birthday.

Farewell toddlerdom, you have been mighty grand to me but I wait for no one and am donning my princess shoes and swirly dress to take on the world, or at least the crèche room, the dance stage and the swimming pool in the year ahead.

Make Up Trial. Dad was a little freaked out.


I shall hear no more talk of this ‘big girl bed’ rubbish, utter what you will about getting too long, and adding beautiful wall stickers, but I am not leaving my own bed. We are best friends. So hands off. I will happily move into Popps’ room or Mum and Dads room, but it seems none of them want me as their room mate. (Selfish, is all I can say to them).

I am so busy talking that sometimes I just get all muddled up, Mum says, ‘slow down Immy, I am listening’, but that just makes me have to talk over her and get all excited even more. I tend to drop the first part of the word to save time, but this seems to cause the grown ups some confusion, I just don’t know how smart they are sometimes. Recently I was saying to Mum, “do you leave me” – simple really, but she kept saying, no I wont leave you, then I said, no ‘do you leave me’. Round and round we went til she finally got it. Do you believe me?

Let’s not get started on the dara conversation. As a princess I need lots of daras, Dad has no idea where to find them or how to put them on.  Daras – some of you may refer to them as Tiaras, the sparkly the better.
My Mum says this is a masterpiece, but she always seems to but my pictures in the big yellow bin.

I am hoping to get princess shoes for my birthday. Mum makes me wear sandals all the time and still utters the same old tune about paying a fortune for shoes I never wear. I have some in the dress ups box that I do like to wear, but I still haven’t worked out how to get them out of the house.

Best news ever, I am nearly grown out of my daytime sleep. Most days this is a good thing, not so good when I fall asleep at about 4.30.

There is one thing I am not really a fan of, boys. They are bossy and pushy and noisy and annoying. I told them they couldn’t come to my party. Except one of them, he is bees knees and I like to read him stories.

Shake your bum bum dance.
If you are thinking of being a dancer, I could be your teacher. I can do jazz and tap and ballet and shake your bum bum – that is the technical name for my own licensed dance (Les Mills, keep your hands off my dance names).

I believe clothes are highly overrated. If a swirly swishy dress is not on offer I see no reason for having to wear something. Recently a crèche teacher told Mum she spent quite a bit of time trying to get me to keep my clothes on.

My Mum also runs around the yard spraying me with sun cream from a big spray bottle. Yes, she is all sorts of embarrassing and just one crazy lady. But I do love her cuddles.

I have only recently started this cool trick, you make your bottom lip go all quivery, then cry, then scream loudly and then throw yourself to the floor screaming about what you need. Why did no one tell me about this trick? Popps hates me crying and instantly runs around to see what I need.


When being told off, if you look back at your Mum and say “blah, blah blah” she is usually not very impressed – straight to the naughty chair for you! And Popps is not a fan of me sticking my tongue out at her, but seriously some days I just cant cope with much more of them, removing the sharp scissors just when I was having fun or saying I can’t stir the pot when the fire bits are on. I am not even allowed to cross the road by myself. They need to lighten up, and realise that I am now three, not in nappies, and on top of that I am SUPER IMOGEN, flying to the rescue.

Happy Play time everyone, I am off to draw on the windows.


Immy Molly Moo xxx










Mumma's are doing it for themselves.

Through work, through blogging, through meeting people in my daily run around I am always thrilled when I meet a Mum who decides to give a business a go and try the whole new business and work from home thing.


Firstly, because the concept of work from home is something I think is actually harder to do than working for someone in an office, an office that is totally cleaned and prepared for you with no distractions. Secondly, because it takes courage to do this, knowing the high chance of failure and forging ahead anyway.

So today here are a couple of Mum's who have decided to give it a go:

Spin Baby

I love this one, simply an opening in the market was viewed when a bike loving family could not get bike gear for the new baby. 

Mr H is a keen bike rider and he and Popps are starting to get out a bit now in their bike gear. She really loves having her own top, just like Dad, and one day we hope she wont need the training wheels. One day.

Spin Baby stuff is available here:



HuckleBerry Lane


My girls love nighties, but I despise garments with licensed characters on them and I would hate to sleep in nylon or synthetic fabrics myself so I don’t allow them to either. I admit, finding nighties that meet my nana-ness has been difficult.

Not. Any. More.

How cute is this little one? 
These are beautiful. I chatted with Eliza who owns Huckleberry Lane and heard how this went from wanting to supply something for her kids, to seeing a gap in the market and taking a chance.

You can purchase in stores or directly online here and I am sure you wont be disappointed with what you get.


Chocolate Freckles

Now this is actually a shop, a kids clothing shop, but at Chocolate Freckles you can get lots of Australian designer clothing. They have great sales (which I am a very big fan of) and lots of little gifts for those children that you never know who to buy for. Chocolate Freckles is owned by a Mum who saw a space in the local market and decided to give it a try, and I am really glad she did. You can like the Facebook page to keep up with all the special offers or new stock.


There are thousands of others, but these are my current favourites. If you are a Mumma giving the home/small/own business a go, feel free to let me know in the comments section so I and everyone else can check you out. 

Or add your business to my facebook page wall to share it with others.






Monday, December 12, 2011

Yes, I am a fool.

I used to think that every baby would take a dummy. That it was just the parents who insisted that the baby wouldn't. 'Fools' I would whisper to myself.

Then Immy came along and refused at least seven different brands (yes I tried them all, I was not going to give up) but instead she went for her fingers, and I became a mother of one of 'those' babies.

Other times I have heard of this bloggers block thing, where you just all of a sudden don't know what to write anymore.

Fools, I whispered again. Just write stuff, it will work out.

And here I am.

We have had such a great week, blog fodder galore is swirling in my head but for all the Tiffany diamonds in the world I can not get the words I want from my brain to the screen.

I do have winners to announce. Remember I said Mr H would be the judge? Well, he is brutal and clearly easy to impress for future competitions.

The winner of the first prize is Amy. Why? Because she mentioned porn.

The second winner is Ashley, who would nearly have won, except she mentioned that Lord of the Rings may be dorky. Apparently it is NOT dorky and there is nothing uncool about loving Hobbits.

I hope to be back, less foolish, soon.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A quick DVD GiveAway: Criminal Minds for the Grown Ups Plus Disney Junior stuff for the kids.


There are giveaways aplenty going on all over blogland. Take your chances, get a Christmas gift marked off your list and go enter them.

I too have a few things to giveaway, I know you want things now, not in two weeks and I know it takes time to get things sent out.

So let's make this a quickie again.


First Up, one for the grown ups.




I was given the choice of reviewing a few TV series that are now on DVD, and this is where I have to admit, I love bad television drama. While many of you would have picked Desperate Housewives I am sure, I chose Brothers and Sisters. In the mail it arrived - the entire series, 6 discs worth! I would love to sit and watch the whole thing one day but I doubt that will ever happen. Instead, when Mr H's shift work allows me control of the remote control, I will slide in a DVD instead.

Box Season has arrived so go pick your favourites and keep away from the Summer TV viewing (apparently it rots your mind) by watching your favourites from through the ratings season.

The Prize: I have the just released Criminal Minds Season 6  DVD set.




Second Giveaway Winner will get:

 


The Kids Set: The Little Hueys recently sat down to check out Mickey Mouse and Handy Manny with some new DVDs that arrived. I used the girls as child labour, and forced them to watch TV. They were mighty impressed. Immy is still only able to watch an episode of something before she gets bored, movies are not her thing yet. Popps enjoyed the Mickey Mouse one most, the characters are still quite new to her as we have had limited Mickey in the past. My nephew who is two loved Handy Manny quite a lot. I would have liked to just give him the review copy, but Immy is not sharing this one. If you need something for a small kid who has everything, these DVDs are the answer.


The Prize: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Numbers Roundup DVD and Handy Manny: Big Construction Job DVD.

To enter:

All you have to do is tell me,  in the comments section of this blog post, what is your favourite movie and why. The two people who entertain Mr H the most in their comment will win.

This will only be open til Thursday 8 December until 5 pm AEST.

It is not open to all my hundreds of overseas readers (OK, not hundreds, but maybe one?)


P.S. Ensure you leave a way for me to contact you if you have no email connected to your bio.



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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Do you return things?

When I buy something, I just expect it to be what I paid for. I don't keep the receipts for 'just in case'. Lately I have been buying a lot of stuff and a lot of stuff is total rubbish.

But do you return it?

Are you the sort who makes the effort to go back and get your money back?

After a wonderful party where they had hired a fairy floss machine, I stumbled across a a small machine in Kmart for $40 and I thought that it would be great to have for the parties we have coming up. We bought the stuff to make it all up and had a practice run.

Failure.






Total dud of a product.

But can you return something you have used? I always feel like I am a hassle of a customer returning things. It is now used - what will happen to it? Will it go back somewhere or just to landfill? I don't know if it just doesn't work at all, or we got a dud. I suspect it is just a useless product.


Then last week, after finally getting Popps to agree that dresses and skirts did not have to be worn every single day of her life, we got some new jeans (thank you Chocolate Freckles for having such great taste) and then some new cargo pants.

One wear of the Cargo Pants and there is a split in the seam. I could sew it up. I should probably return them. I want to, but I know I wont. I know I will feel uncomfortable saying, they were worn once and they split, can I exchange them for a new pair?

Immy wanted a backpack,  a little one that she could carry herself. I found a beautiful one and two weeks in and the zip on the bag is busted. Again, it is used, very lightly, maybe 3 or 4 times from carrying only her blanket. It was not a cheapie one. Again, it is now useless.

Returning things now means getting a park in the Christmas rush, carrying the things around with me, lining up and dealing with my guilt as busy and overworked retail staff look at me as a hassle rather than a buyer. I will attempt to patch the pants, but the rest will go lay around the house until months and months away we realise it for the crap it is and throw it out.

What about you, do you return things or just count your losses (literally)?






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