Friday, April 29, 2011

Not so secret garden.

Not everything went wrong when we went away at Easter time and lost the dog.

The best thing was all the outdoor playing the girls got to do. Nothing was organised, there are no toys in the yard, there were just five children and a very big garden with a vacant block on one side and a tree lined creek on the other.

This garden has heaps of sections, they are not manicured by any means but they are a child's delight.

There is a fairy garden hidden under this huge big tree, providing treasures to find and rearrange.

Another tree hosts a hammock barely used so it's covered in leaves and bugs that is an oasis of critters to wriggle on your hands, things that fly away, cicada shells and god knows what else.

Then there was a dirt heap.

How much fun can kids have in a dirt heap?  Stacks. They start by running up and down it a hundred times, then dig in it, then slide down it, then push each other around, then have running races starting from the top so you get a good speed up before heading to the fence.

They may finish with shoes, socks and jocks filled with filth, but it is nothing that can't be washed out.

If you happen to be somewhere and see a dirt pile, let the kids go, grab yourself a cuppa and take a rest for half an hour, they will look after themselves.

Or, they will may use the new Gazebo in the yard as monkey bars.

Before heading over to the bonfire, once this died down we searched for very big sticks and toasted marshmallows.

Immy wasn't sure what to make of the bonfire, she kept saying it was too loud and hurting her ears.

And if all that outdoor play isn't enough, Granny has managed to place a few outside things on the inside too.

This post was inspired by Childhood 101 and Getting Outdoors Month if you are looking for things to do outside with your kids, head over and see what else people got up to.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

You're right, but no one is listening?

Sometimes you just know you are right about something and shake your head when no one is listening. Last year when we sold the mouse house, we were going through the professional photos with the agent and Mr H totally disagreed with the agent and me about which image to use on the board outside our house. The image we liked showed the mouse house with a huge living area (thanks to the glory of stretching images or something fancy) and our new plasma screen TV.

Mr H was very concerned. He suggested it was advertising that we had a lovely big telly for robbers to come and pinch. The agent laughed him off, saying plasmas have been around a few years now you know, not like they are ten grand like they used to be. No one steals them anymore, he huffed.

We used the photo, we sold the house.
We got robbed.
Guess what the only thing the robber took was? A-ha, bye bye big new telly.
Should have listened to Mr H.

In a similair incident this week we journeyed up to see my parents in their country town. We pulled up at their place knowing they were elsewhere, after three hours in the car we decided to let Peppa the dog out, tie her up and keep going to see my parents. I suggested Mr H use the available kennel and chain of a doggy that no longer requires them. Oh no, Mr H was worried Peppa wouldn't like the heavy chain, she would be upset about being left somewhere new, she would miss him and needed as much comfort as possible. He tied her up with one of those retractable leads with a thin rope that goes out for 15 metres.

Peppa broke it, ran off, and was not found for 24 hours.

Clearly she had run all night long, enjoyed the local National Park and had possibly been a dirty stopout too.

She returned looking rather haggard, limping and very frightened.

This is the vet bill we paid today. Next time Mr H, use the bloody chain.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

When on Staycation, avoid the Haystack.

This Easter Staycation is taking its toll. I have had to go out every day, visit, watch, see, read, drive, socialise, have friends over and then get dressed all over again to go out for dinner to trial some new venues. It has been full on! It has been terrific.

We rarely eat out with the kids mid week so heading off to a new option has been informative, adventurous and interesting.

The Thai restaurant around the corner was the best find, Popps was sold as soon as the waitress sat and showed her how to fold the serviettes into some impossible, never to be repeated special fold. It was her type of perfection; choosing what to eat, allowed to have a lemonade and doing craft all at once, to be topped off with staying up really late, like to 8pm even.

As for the Haystack salad I ordered from the local pub, apparently known for their fine dining, remember to always listen to the waitress. I asked if she recommended it, she smirked politely and said it wasn't one she preferred, even though it was very popular.

It was total crappola.

A salad does not require corn chips and processed chicken or a jar of ranch sauce.

Haystack Salad. The Mayor would refer to this as a "Cafe Chew and Spew" meal. 

Lucky Mr H was happy to share his chicken parmie with me, especially as it was the size of a pizza, and I may even return there just to order my own.

Oh and there were four of you, three here and one on Facebook who entered my Tangled giveaway, the lucky ducky winner according to (who does not copy and paste on an iPad) is: Cate.

The Easter break is coming to an end, but the holidays keep rolling on for us til Sunday, we will need to get back to work for a break.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Fairy Park, not the Fairie Park

The Anakie Fairy Park was a regular part of summer holidays in my childhood. I just presumed that everyone had been there, pressed their runny noses against the glass of a little hut before running along the path to the next instalment. But don't go expecting a park that is all about fairies and princesses, this is a park dedicated to fairy tales and the Brothers Grimm statue is the first thing you walk past as you start your walk up the hill.

When Mr H informed me recently that he had never been, it was added to the list of things we needed to see while on our Staycation. It ended up being the first thing we did.

Anakie is about an hours drive from the Western side of Melbourne. The Fairy Park is in the middle of nowhere. Literally a hill amongst the paddocks that during the 1950s some crazy man decided to make a children's wonderland. Others have continued his dream and the Fairy Park is a real treat for small children and their parents.

If you are an ultra hip, early adopter who ventured there in the 1970s, then you will recall you used to have to beg your parents for 20 cents to put into each little hut, the puppets would then start singing and moving and telling the story of the fairy tale they represented. Your parents just may have made you run to the next one if they saw someone else about to put 20 cents in, and made you squeeze in and listen with the other kids. Other parents did this too, so if you were at the front you had to stand your ground and not be pushed aside by the bigger kids.

Hansel and Gretel in case you hadn't noticed the Gingerbread house

This is no longer the case, it is all now push button and you can push that button as many times as you like. This means that there is no rushing required, yet Popps and Immy ran from one fairy tale hut to the next, just too excited to see what else lay hidden around the corner.

The hill is dotted with about 25 little houses, which cover the most popular fairy tales, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Three Little Pigs etc. Jack and the Beanstalk is built up the side of a rock and there are little hidden treasures everywhere for young kids. The Princess and Frog Pond was a huge hit for Popps.

When you make your way to the bottom of the hill again you head straight to a park that again has kept the best of the original stuff and just improved it. A castle has been built around the entire park with hidden play items all over the place. There was so much there that as I tried to snap photos the girls just kept running off to explore the next area and I have been left with a collection of photos of the Fairy Park, minus the kids.

One of the original things from the playground is still a huge hit with all the kids

In the end I gave up, sat down and admired the view of the nearby farm and vineyard.

Two to three hours is plenty of time to explore the Fairy Park, we took the pram for Immy but she didn't really need it and managed to walk the whole way herself, but it is a hill so some small children may still need a hand to hike up. Though we took snacks, I hadn't prepared lunch, there is a cafe but the offerings are limited and the park is an excellent place to unpack a picnic or there is a huge area with chairs and tables to eat at.

The view from the park. As I said, in the middle of nowhere.

We went on a Sunday during school holidays and the crowd was no problem at all.

Add the Fairy Park to your list of things for kids under 8, I hope you enjoy it as much as us.

PS This is not a sponsored review, just in case you were wondering. I received nothing but lovely memories for attending.

We're all going on a Staycation.

All of a sudden Mr H was given two weeks holidays.

Over Easter.


Never happens.

So we decided to be normal people and go away for Easter. You know, grab a cabin by the sea, or a house in the hills but at the last minute everything is booked out, requires a seven night stay or costs the same price as a two week trip to Europe flying business class just to stay in a beach 'shack'

So we are having a Staycation.

We are tripping about town like tourists, eating out at lots of restaurants and cafes.

We will be seeing the sights and having delights anywhere considered a day trip or anywhere free accommodation is on the menu (hello, family)!

Then we return home each evening to our own comfy beds and fluffy slippers before finalising the fun of the next day.

Have you ever had a successful Staycation?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Family, Feasts, Friends and Fires

After a few days in the bush with one side of the family we are off tomorrow to celebrate with the other side. Both sides require lots of eating, chatting by fires, sticky chocolate covered faces and best fun of all, the kids playing with their cousins.

I always remember the best part of festive celebrations as playing with my cousins too, but I have many, many, many cousins. It is a treat to see the Little Huey's get so much happiness out of seeing their cousins too. Yesterday they all got crafty on Grandma's kitchen floor and whipped up these little treasures in the photo above.

For anyone still out camping, take my advice, and put on some extra lip gloss if you are hogging the open fire. While we were inside (I just don't get the thrill of camping) I still managed to be closest to the fire at all times and when The Mayor suggested a bonfire and Granny produced the marshmellows, well, I just couldn't let the kids have all that melted goodness to themselves. But I am currently finding myself a little chapped, cracked and dry!

When I retired inside, I sat and had a late night tipple too.

Wherever you are, I hope this Easter you are surrounded by family, fires, friendship or feasts.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, April 14, 2011

All Tangled up

Try the link if the YouTube is not working for you.

Getting a new DVD to review is a chance to break out the microwave pop corn and snuggle up together on the couch around here. Yes, we are classy people.

This week Tangled arrived and I was hoping it would be one that Popps and I could enjoy together. Afterall, it is the story of Rapunzel, she who sings and paints and was born a princess, with 70 feet of flowing blonde tresses to swing around.

Tangled was unfortunately not for Popps, she made it about half way, past quite a bit of frying pan whacking, and the pub of rather scary looking outcasts, but when Flynn Rider and Rapunzel nearly drown, she packed up her popcorn and headed off. I watched the end that night, thinking maybe she could just watch the end, but I don't think she would cope with the bit when Flynn Rider gets stabbed with a knife by the wicked witch and looks like dying.

Tangled is the classic Rapunzel, I enjoyed it. If your children enjoy classic fairy tales where there is a lot of evil and bad things that happen before the classic happy ending then they will love it too. The horse and the chameleon are certainly well added characters, the songs are entertaining and the graphics are fabulous. Some of the one liners are great, including 'the Smoulder'.

But, I am asking you to take a look at the trailer above and tell me, if this was not an animated movie would you allow your children to watch it? What level of fake violence is acceptable, at what age do you think children can process the real from the fake? Fairy tales have been around for centuries, but pre the magic of Disney we had to use our imagination to dream up the baddies...were they ever that graphic in your mind? I know we are among the stricter households when it comes to restricting the types of things our children view, so I am interested to hear what others think.

This is about to be released on 11 May 2011, but if you are in Australia, you can save your pennies by winning a copy here instead.

All you need to do is add in a comment below OR, if you like me on facebook you can add a comment there instead.

Get your comments in by 5pm Thursday 21 April.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of the DVD courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment via Aussie Mummy Bloggers. No financial payment was offered nor accepted for this post. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Double Cream

On the weekend I ventured to Fed Square to meet some other bloggers and have a chat.

Last to arrive I sat down beside Picklebums, introduced myself and immediately started discussing the Sticky Date Pudding in front of her. I love Sticky Date Pudding, it's something that I never attempt making so I really enjoy it when it's on a menu. To top off a decent Sticky Date, one must really have a premium cream. I checked with Picklebums to see if perhaps some King Island Diary cream was served too.


It was served with whipped cream, highly likely from a can.

Not to be beaten, I viewed the menu and noticed the next item on the list was actually served with Double Cream. Perfect.

When the waitress arrived I ordered my pudding and requested the double rather than the whipped cream. She confirmed my order, with Double Cream.

Now look back to the image again. No, you do not see the Double Cream, you see Double The Cream.

Hilarious. I was served a mountain of cream, possibly from the can. It was nearly more than the pudding.

I am still laughing at what the chef must have been thinking when dishing this up.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I don't really do....

Without getting all snobby about things, different people have things that they really just don't "do".

For instance, I have the following little gems on my "I don't really do..." list.

- take my lunch to work
- wear stockings with open toe shoes
- give cash to couples requesting it as a wedding gift.

I have asked around and researched thoroughly (about three people) and can tell you I have friends that just don't do...leftovers. Ever.

Many that don't do eating or drinking in the car. Amazing, to me that is the ultimate of organized and strong.

One friend won't fly economy, prefers to drive or go without a holiday if business class cant be afforded.

My Mum, she just won't do black. No matter how many times I tell her it looks good, navy is as far as she goes.

Some people refuse to read tabloid papers and one person I know just wont do budget department stores...I know, think what your kids would wear if you just didn't do Target or Kmart!

I even have Mr H who just won't do Facebook (work of the devil, you know).

We all have our quirky reasons for whatever we have on our "I don't really do...list" they really don't hurt anyone else and make us all that little bit extra unique, so it is time to share, what's on your "I don't really do... list?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Waiting for a Wish

There is a little girl I am falling in love with. Her name is Ivy, I've never met her, but I did meet her Mum and I do follow Ivy's life via the family blog.

Ivy is a brave and amazing and very ill little girl. She makes me melt with happiness when I see the smile in her eyes, even though she is in a hospital bed, in isolation or on her way in or out of surgery. Then cry because of all she goes through for someone so little and fragile. Many a day I have wondered just how we would have coped if such a life of illness were thrust upon us.

But Ivy has been given the chance to have a wish. The Starlight Foundation has contacted the family and told them that Ivy can have a wish granted. Ivy isn't sure just yet what to wish for as her first wish of swimming with mermaids won't be possible, simply because little Ivy can't swim, the risk to her health is too great.

Since hearing about Ivy's wish I've wondered what my little girls would ever wish for if a real fairy just so happened to grant them one.

It is actually a tough one for me to answer for myself, so I can only imagine how difficult it is for a five year old. Wishes dont get granted often so you wouldn't want to waste it and as an adult you know that it has to be something 'real'.

I can't wish for Ivy to be cured as I am sure her family has already given this a very good shot, nor can I wish for our own Lochie to still be here (well I can, but beside my best efforts the fairies have failed to deliver him).

So I think I will just look forward to seeing Ivy's wish come true, whatever it may be.

Do you know what your wish would be?

P.S. Ivy's family also consists of seven other siblings, being by Ivy's hospital bedside fulltime would have to cause a strain on Ivy's parents and siblings. A few other bloggers are trying to raise a few dollars to send her parents a few meals to help them out. You can provide a couple of dollars on the PayPal widget on this blog will only be there for a week, so click on over if you can.

Image: Ivy's Mum is also a fab photographer and took this shot of Ivy. Her photography business is called Blue Hippo Photograpy.


Winners have full tummies

Tonight is Saturday night, not quite tattslotto night but if you entered your odds are high to win this week. Rather than Random.Org, I am using Mother in, this is where you yell out to your MiL to tell you her favourite numbers and those people win...but she has no idea why you ask her these odd questions, and must just put it in her memory as another odd thing one of her DiL's is doing!

First up the winners of the Bakers Delight vouchers are:
Ms Styling You

While the winner of the great doggy package which is all available at Coles is:
Cate Bolt

Can you please either DM me on twitter or email me with your postal details so your prizes can be sent on their way.