Friday, December 21, 2012

2012: The End.

Christmas is here.

Blog posts are dwindling.

Most people are too busy to write them and even more are too busy to read them.

But if you find yourself with some time and feel like cruising the internet for some good reads here are a few blogs that you might like.

Each of these blogs are written by talented people but none of them are similar. You will get stories about life, about parenting, about fashion, about living life as a hippie la la, about getting outside more and about cooking. Whatever you are after, scroll through the posts on these blogs and enjoy a little chance to relax and unwind this summer.












The Huey household has a few plans, a few travels, a few parties and lots of kicking back with family and friends planned for the summer.  I won't be back blogging for a few weeks, but I will be playing around sometimes on twitter, facebook, google+, Instagram, Pinterest...if I feel like it.

Thank you to my old readers for hanging around and to my new readers, I am sorry you joined in when my posts have been pretty heavy, lacking in happiness and rainbows, but thank you for reading anyway.

I would like to wish you and all of your families a very safe, healthy and happy Christmas and New Year and may 2013 be the year when marvellous things happen to us all. 

xx


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Letter to the world from Immy - age 4

Dear World,

Mum is still at this blogging caper. This is the third time she has made me write you a letter to tell you what I think about the world.

This year I can confirm for you that there are some things that just never change. I will never want to wear socks and I will always be troublesome when it comes to shoes. If you are 3 and need shoes, you should ring my Mum, she has lots to give you.

Some things do change though. Sometimes people go away and become stars in the sky and everyone cries all the time. I am not really sure why they cry all the time. I miss my Poppy too but I see him in the clouds and I have his picture and if I want to talk to him I just do that. I try and tell Granny to do this and I draw her lots of pictures to make her happy when she is sad. It isn't really working though.

Me and the Thunderbird. Two of Poppy's favourite things (don't tell all the other grandkids) and he is making me put shoes on - again!

I love babies. I really really love babies. Last week we looked after a baby and he had a sleep and Mum kept saying shhhhhh, you'll wake the baby. ALL. THE. TIME. I thought it would be good to have a real baby live with us but now I just want the ones that I can carry and that don't cry.

There are two words that every girl needs to be able to say. Interesting. As in, "Mum, I think I am too interesting today and I don't want to go to kinder"or  "Mum, Popps is being very interesting to me."

The other word is Substitution. It is a really good word. You can say Mum, lets do substitution for this dinner, I give it to you and you give me something else. Or, lets do substitution for this outfit, I will take off these jeans and you will find me a dress.

Good words people. Use them.

Mum asked me what I want to be when I grow up, I said "A teenager". Mum screwed her nose up and squawked "why??" I said I think teenagers get all the good stuff and never have to go to Kinder or do anything other than go to dancing all the time. That is what I want. No Kinder, just dance classes, that's why I think being a teenager is the best thing to be when you are a grown up.

This is crazy happy. Dancing and trophies.


Are you a foot stamper? I am keen on the odd foot stamping. It is an ideal why to get attention from big people, sometimes they smile and say, "was that a foot stamp, what was that for?" Then they get on with getting you what you want. I say give the foot stamp a go, but don't over use it.

Popps is photobombing me again. 


Anyway, I am still finishing up some of the food leftover from my Christmas themed birthday party and I have quite a bit of work to do checking out my new toys.

So, if Mum is still at it writing on this blogamajig (that's a word) I will speak to you next year.

Nose rubs and hugs



Immy Molly Moo.






Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Free and Simple - the way I like my apps to be: Yellow Pages App Review

My Mum has never been a big fan of computers.

Her mobile phone has stayed mainly in the charger, switched off, for the last few years. Her laptop is in pretty new condition and you are not likely to find her on facebook anytime soon.

Not because she doesn't like it, but that was what Dad looked after. If Mum wanted something on the net, Dad would just look it up on his smart phone or his ipad. Dad's email account covered everything from business for the farm to the shop, every community group this side of America it seems, and any social stuff too.

No need for both of them to be checking emails and Mum wasn't really interested. Too busy with other stuff.

This leaves Mum having to learn and learn fast. Where is this, what is that and who is this email from. Paypal scammers and internet spammers and how they heck do you read 45 messages on a phone and where is the frigging charger when you need it and how do I change this annoying ring tone are just some of the questions she has.

On top of that, Dad was the one in charge of all the filing. Nice one Dad - perhaps being in charge of EVERYTHING was not always so necessary. Perhaps it would have been a good idea to write down the contact details of say, the accountant, the solictor, the mechanic, insurance provider, even the doctor?? But no, he didn't. So we are left in a field of paperwork, scanning files, flicking papers to get the details we need.

Then last week I got an email about an app from Yellow Pages. Another App! Really. Yes, Another App.

Could I take a look and tell them what I think? Ok I can.

Is it worth telling people about? Yes, it is.

This app is simple. Simple in the best way. There are no major quirks and there is nothing to learn. Also, it is free. Free And Simple (you can read that in so many ways!)




If you need something - like the phone number of a solicitor  because you need to organise someone's affairs - just type that in and where you are and it all comes up for you.

Touch the screen for the one you want and away you go. Even save it as a contact straight to your own phone. This is nifty. Look how neat the contact is, I don't think I have a single contact looking so tidy in my phone.


This app is perfect for people that missed the first technology era (Hello Mum) there is no need at all to understand opening files or how to find a website, there is no need to understand let alone remember w w w DOT ...was it .com or .com.au....

Finding numbers and contacts is annoying and really time consuming, the Yellow Pages App is actually a real help in being able to quickly and easily find phone numbers and email addresses, but the beauty of it is in the simple. You want the number  - here it is: Call it, share it, save it.



Android users will disagree, but to me, the iPhone is the master of easy navigation. My siblings and I decided that Mum needs to throw her other phone in the bin and we need to get her an iPhone. Dad's was a work phone and we need to give it back, but even Mum who is the last person to want a phone to do anything other than call people, has quickly got attached to simplicity and convenience.

Yellow pages was kind enough to provide me with an iPhone 5, in exchange for me talking about the Yellow Pages app, at first Mr H thought he would take the new phone as we don't have one, but instead we have loaded the phone with the Yellow Pages app, Mum's email account and somehow a Cricket Game (not looking at anyone Mr H) and once we get it organised we will get Mum moving on the path to further independence, complete with technology in hand and I expect she will use the Yellow Pages app considerably.

So my lessons for everyone today are:

1) If you don't know how to use a computer, don't waste your time learning, move straight to a tablet or smart phone and you will have everything you need.
2) If your contacts and addresses of people and services you need are in a mess, use the Yellow Pages App
3) If you are the only person who knows the passwords on all of your accounts, from your fly buys to your emails, your facebook account, to the lock on your ipad - WRITE THEM SOMEWHERE. It will save your family shaking their fist to the sky and crying WHY WHY.


Are your parentals using Apps? Are they appy about it?



Today's disclaimer: I know everyone is sick of promotional posts during December and I have said no to buckets of options to spare you from reading them here. But this one is actually a good app and costs you nothing to use. I was not paid to write this and I won't be keeping the iPhone provided to me.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wanted: A new family theme song.

Back in the mid 90s my sister decided to return home from living and nannying in the Western Australian outback. I decided to take the drive home with her.

Back then there was a Mazda 121 two dar car. For those that don't know this car, think little.

There was no air conditioning in the car and certainly no CD player back then either - that was an optional extra for sure. But there were tapes.

Nothing can beat the tapes that my sister and I used to make for each other. We used to sit and wait for songs to come on the radio and record the song on tapes. They were never exact, sometimes you got the radio announcer at the end, or you missed a few beats at the start. Sometimes the quality may not have been perfect, but you did end up with a mixed compilation of your favourite songs. Also, you could add your own thoughts and words on too. I still have all the ones that never melted in the cars on hot days.

Driving home along the Nullabor from Perth to Melbourne we only had a few tapes and one of them was Garth Brooks. My sister ended up listening to country music with the Jackaroos on the station and that is what she had in the car.

We listened to that tape about 47 times in five days. One of the songs we played over and over was The Dance. It's a lovely song. Back then as we sang to the big blue skies we laughed as we sang it, mainly relating the words of the songs to bust ups with boyfriends or relationships that just never got up and running. You know, better to have tried and lost then to never tried at all types of stuff.

Then Lochie died.

The Dance was played at his funeral and I never played the song much more after that. When I heard it my heart went black and I bit the inside of my cheek to think about something else.

Then my sister's mother in law died of breast cancer this year and the song was played again.

Then my Dad died. We played it again.

The Dance is an amazing song. But it was once a song of beauty that reminded me of a road trip filled with adventure, fun and endless hours talking to my big sister.

Garth Brooks is not on YouTube. So here is someone else playing the song.



I don't want to hear it again.

We need a new family theme song. But theme songs are not plucked from a top 40 list. They come about over time and just get played more and more because everyone likes them.

I don't know what the next family theme song is going to be, but I am planning on it to be something fast, funny, danceable and with no tears.

Any suggestions.







Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Playing in a new yard.



When I don't know what I am doing I will spend a little time trying to work things out for myself.

Which is why I am currently spending my spare moments hanging around over at Google + .

When I say moments, I mean minutes, because I just don't know how we end up in this tangle of timelessness every December, but we do.

Facebook might be where you like to play at the moment, but I just can't stand all the new changes, I don't like it that they don't show me the posts from people I follow, I don't like the way things are all over the place and the rules keep changing. I also don't like how only the richest people with money to promote things will be in my face ALL THE TIME. I like to see the small businesses, but I don't anymore because facebook has decided that even though I like the page that is just not enough.

So I am off to Google +.

If you are on Google + come and say hello so I can hook up with you. If you are not on google plus then consider opening an account, it is much more friendly than facebook, you can customise nearly everything and so far it seems pretty good.

And if you have always wanted to comment on a blogger blog but found it hard, once you are on google + you will have a ready made log in! Bonus.


See you there

Monday, December 10, 2012

The tale of two girls at a wedding.


The other night I once again sat and watched 27 Dresses on TV, a movie about weddings and bridesmaids, they reel me every time, and I am a firm believer in the fact that there is no such thing as a bad wedding. Great food, music, drinks and beautiful outfits are always on offer, if you can't have a good time with that than it's not the wedding, it's you.

A few months ago when the mail man delivered some mail I just knew it was an invite before I even opened it. Classy stationery and shaped so unlike a bill that you just knew it was something good to open. A wedding invite is always exciting to open!

The girls were invited along to attend the ceremony and then to spend the evening with their cousins and Great Nana. We considered just leaving them home with another baby sitter but they insisted they were keen to go.


Turn the heat up to 40 degrees, get yourself to the edge of a river bed and Popps was just not happy. She whispered to me, “If I knew it would be this boring I would have stayed home.”





I followed this with mutterings of too bad, get off me, it’s too hot for you to sit on my knee, no I don’t have a drink for you.

All the while Immy had taken up one of the few seats, an aisle seat for herself no less and was excitedly holding her posy of rose petals, for whatever they might be needed for. Her dress was swirly, her hair in a braid.


When the bride finally approached Immy just could not believe her eyes. It was a real princess. In a really big white dress and at the front there was a prince. “It’s just like in my story book” she squealed.


Her eyes never left the bride for the whole ceremony; she threw rose petals and stroked the dress and the veil like they were made of pure gold fairy wings.





Have you always loved weddings, do they make you cry?





Today's disclaimer: We were invited as guests to the wedding, I was not required to write about it. Popps is wearing a dress by Fabrik, (size 7) gorgeous but pretty short, they are teamed with a pair of short Chino chambray shorts with a white tie. Yellow Sandals by Saltwater.  Immy is wearing a dress by Chalk n Cheese, shoes by Run Kai Run. Outfits gifted by Granny. Shoes models own. 




Friday, December 7, 2012

It's a wrap up. And a giveaway of things.

I took on a few too many commitments regarding this littleblog. I said yes to too many things and promised things I haven’tdelivered. 

But all is ok, because this is a blog. Nothing bad hashappened to anyone because of my slackness.

Instead I am going to do a bumper post and reward you with afew things that I will giveaway too.

Let's get started.... 

Are you an online shopper, an ebayer, an ebay buyer.

I am a little of each.

I have been chatting with ebay recently and they told methat this Sunday 9 December is the day forecast to be the busiest onlineshopping day ever!




I was desperate to win these books the other night and wasso smug thinking I had them, when BAM out came one of those ebay snipers and Ilost! Thus, I am cruising  ebay lookingfor more 1970’s versions of Enid Blyton books, where Joe was Jo and Franny wasFanny and Dame Snap a Lot was Dame Slap A Lot. Popps is highly critical of thedrawings in the newer versions of the books and not impressed at all. Op shopshave failed me so far so ebay is my place to go.


If you have these, let me know! 

We had a car seat and high chair  that needed to leave the house this week too,I went straight to ebay to list them and gained some extra Christmas cash tospend, but I should have waited and listed them to end this weekend insteadwhen everyone is off buying stuff (approx. 2.3 million Aussies are expected tocheck ebay on Sunday!)

We have also bought Father in Law Huey a gift from ebay –but it is a newbie one, not ‘vintage’, which is actually what 83% of ebay nowis – new stuff. I am not sure what I think about that. I quite like buying theused stuff – is it just me? Quite possibly.

If you want to buy and sell stuff on ebay, now is the time. 

Moving Along….

My Christmas Wish Number One: That I don’t have to sharemy gadgets.
Solution: InnoTab 2 by V-Tech

This wish shall be granted when Immy unwraps theInnoTab 2 by V-Tech for her birthday next week*.
The InnoTab is designed to be a child’s tabletdevice, it comes with featuressuch as a 5” inch LCD touch screen, twist camera, video capability, tilt sensorand microphone, as well as being something that should last better when droppedon the ground.
Best of all it only connects to the Internet via acable, so if the cable isn’t connected then Immy is not grooving to Gangnamstyle without me knowing.
I am concerned that I will need to be buyingexcessive amounts of batteries for this and I hope the next version comes witha plug in recharge option instead.
It’s valued at $199.95 (but I have seen them onspecial in the catalogues) and I have one to giveaway.

*Yes, we are tight butts and are gifting our childrenitems that I get sent in the mail.

Christmas Wish Number Two: No major dental bills forthe next gazillion years
Solution: Philips Sonicare for Kids ElectricToothbrush.
They are lazy and never use the holders, they also never put the toothpaste in the holder either!

Popps and Immy have one of these toothbrushes each.There are some very very good things about them (aside from the fact that they cleanteeth) mainly that it is plugged in and doesn’t need new batteries all the time.
The Sonicare Kids toothbrush plays little music soundsas reminders when to switch the brush around your mouth, so when Immy isbrushing her teeth on the top it dings along to remind her to switch to thebottom ones. There are different sized brushes AND they have a place to live onthe toothbrush stand, rather than just getting lost in a drawer.
There are lots of real benefits to this toothbrush(can be used on braces, designed for children’s mouths etc) but I am hooked onthe 2 week life of the charged battery.**
These brushes are a hefty price at $99.95 but if theysave me even one trip to the dentist for some treatment they are well worth it.Also, I will never buy a novelty toothbrush and throw it out again saving me atrillion bucks.

I have one Philips Sonicare Kids Toothbrush togiveaway (value $99.95)

** It would seem that I have a bit of a thing aboutbatteries.

Christmas Wish Number 3: Easy gifts for people.

Solution: Books.

There are always new books out and they are the best presentfor hard to buy for people, people who buy themselves everything they want andpeople who indicate they don’t want anything.


Wearing that shirt she is lucky to be Queen of anything really.

Queen of the Road was enjoyable, so much that I have purchaseda copy for someone else (hope they are not reading now) But you can just winyourself a copy here.

(Phew – no batteries required)

I have bought heaps of books this year, so if you are getting a gift from me DO NOT buy your favourite authors (especially if you are my sister!).


Summary:

1) You should not buy Enid Blyton books on ebay, it is likely that I am bidding and I am sick of being the loser.

2) There is a Vtech InnoTab to win

3) There is a Philips Sonicare Kids toothbrush to win

4) There is a copy of the Queen of the Road to win.

5) All you need to do is leave me a comment telling me which item you would like to win and why. 



Fine Print:

Australian Addresses Only.
Email to contact you will be required.
Comments Close on Tuesday 11 December - so this is only open a few days.
Judges decision is final. 
Caring is sharing - share with your friends to add some good karma to your surroundings.




Good Luck!

Today's disclaimer: 
I was not given payment to mention this products. I did receive gifts and a gift voucher to ebay. I have not used the voucher as I keep getting outbid and the other stuff I had already bought before it arrived. I do get lots of offers to tell you about things, these where the ones that I thought would be most handy to tell you about.  Also, I am not an HTML guru and I can't get the formatting perfect in this post. Just pretend it all looks normal. xx





Competition is now closed.

Edited 12 12 12

The winners of these giveaways are

The Innotab from V tech...

Rhi from Flour Child, because I have never had a reader from Belgium enter before.

The toothbrush is for Vicky Finch

The book is for Mary Preston


Emails shall be coming ASAP ladies

Monday, December 3, 2012

Safe n Sound Diamond AHR Car Seat Review.

Something a little different today, due to my ridiculous and unexplainable love of car seats I have agreed to review the latest child car seat from Safe n Sound.  I have written about choosing car seats, I have had twitter conversations and facebook chats about seats and shopped for hours looking for the best one. I hope this helps other parents when they go out looking for a new seat.

The Basics:

The Diamond AHR is a seat designed from birth to four years. At birth it is a rearward facing car seat and when your baby is ready at around 12 months (hold off as long as you can to provide your baby the safest drive possible) it turns around into a forward facing seat.

Included with the seat is a decent sized hood, which very easily snaps on and off and an infant insert which is the best that safe n sound has offered so far.

I chose the grey colour best as that is least likely to show the baby spew, rusk crumbs, squashed sultanas and melted crayons in a few years time.

What I like:
Easy Straps: In previous seats you need to take the car seat out and pull the straps out to re-position them as your child grows, threading them through the appropriate slots for their shoulder height. NOT ANY MORE! The Diamond AHR has a new headrest that you simply pull forward and upwards to the right place for your child. This is even more useful if you are often (as many parents are) travelling with additional kids. Be it helping another Mum with a crèche pick up or dropping home after a play date. If the children are shorter or taller, just adjust the headrest to the correct spot and you are good to go.


Height:
For years the seats have been selling as appropriate for age 0-4 and rarely did the child reach their fourth birthday and still be in that seat. It is really annoying to have to buy a new seat for a three year old who will (in Victoria) still need to be in a 5 point harness which they may grow out of within 18 months. Many people illegally choose to go straight to a booster seat or fork out extra cash for a seat that has a 5 point harness and then converts to a booster. The Diamond AHR will EASILY take a baby from newborn to four years of age.

Popps (above) is nearly seven and I got her to sit in this chair to show how well it suits a bigger child.

Here, Immy (below) is sitting in our original 0-4yr chair, notice how her head is far and above the top of the chair…we took her out of that a year ago when it was no longer safe. Immy will turn four this month, she is average height for her age and we will be keeping her in the Diamond AHR for a while yet.







Safety
The main purpose of every seat is to protect your child if a car accident happens to occur. In a perfect world we would all be driving exclusive cars with amazing safety features, but reality means we buy the car that we can afford. Thankfully car seats are now coming with their own built in safety features. The Diamond AHR comes with what they call SICT – Side Impact Cushion Technology, what this means is that when the seat is in a side impact collision the Air Cushions (which are rubbery to touch) absorb the impact of the crash by slowly compressing and letting out air at a controlled rate, so the cushion area absorbs some of the impact rather than your child’s head.

There is also a little seat belt lock off, where you place the car seat belt at the back of the chair, so it wont move around at all.



Nifty but not essential:
These side harness holders would have been excellent when I had a newborn, slot the buckles into these and you don’t have to pull the buckle up from under the baby, also hot buckles wont touch new skin. We use them now because Immy thinks they are pretty flash.

What it's missing:
This is really an excellent chair. If I were buying a seat for a new baby tomorrow I wouldn’t even consider another seat, however if I could add one small feature it would be a cup holder. Immy is used to her Maxi Rider in the other car having a cup holder (on both sides) and she often keeps her secret treats in one and on long trips her drink bottle in the other. On a recent trip it was annoying not to have the cup holder. Of course this is not likely to be a problem for a newborn, but it would make this seat pretty perfect.


Costs:
This seat is at the higher end of the market in cost. I have seen it advertised recently in two of the major baby shops for around $590 (sale price) RRP is closer to the $695 mark. Justify the price by knowing you are getting a very safe, easy to use, excellent product and you will use this seat for at least four if not not five years for just one child, if you have more children it will possibly get a full ten years, which is much much more than you will use any of the other purchases you make for a baby.

If you would like the exact specifics of this seat, visit Safe n Sound Diamond AHR.


Today's Disclaimer: I was sent the Diamond AHR to review, I do not have to return the seat. Safe n Sound did not check this review before posting (they may not even read it) and all opinions are my own. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Security cameras - Important video footage.




You may not have won the iPod Touch, but the Youtube above is well worth watching. It made me feel much better about the world.


The winner was bloody hard to choose, some of those family moments were just so special. But the winner is Narelle11, because a Dad is just so so much more than the person who was your biological father. A Dad is the man that you want to be around, the one who cares for you, looks out for you, guides you, makes you laugh and supports you.

Narelle's answer was:

My favourite family moment was when my two small children asked could they call my Partner "Dad". I knew then that they had accepted their Father was, and will always be their Father, but their role-model and the person that is constant and a significant influence in their little lives is another person. A person who wasn't there when they where born, but is there everyday for them now. A person who has a choice and chooses to parent them because he wants to, when he doesn't have to. I knew then we were a different kind of family, but a family just the same.

Peace to you Claire.
x


Narelle, an email will be heading your way soon. Merry Christmas (I suggest keeping the iPod for yourself and arguing with your children for the chance to have a turn of it).
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