Friday, September 30, 2011

Blogging - not just a thing.

Yesterday a blogger turned up to my house.

She had homemade soup, fresh bread and her son to play with the girls for a little while. My kids love an extra playmate so it was lovely for them to break up the day with another little person.

My friend also brought over milk, cos she had too much at her place. I filled her bag with fennel and asparagus and lettuce and carrots as I knew we wouldn't get through them this week.

We chatted non stop and between Immy weeing all over the spare bed and a quick dash to get the kids off the trampoline when the rain poured down, we covered a lot in a couple of hours.

It reminds me that this blogging thing is more than just an online thing-a-jig.

It is soup delivered when you have been going solo for a week and still have one to go.

It is emails at midnight to say hello when someone notices you are still on twitter.

It is pecans arriving in the mail when you admit to having never had them.
Mr H, hope you have bought me something nice, see I got you a lovely new t-shirt?

It's not just this thing I do when I have a chance anymore.

It is something I make time for.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Solo Mumma Story Time and a Giveaway.

Routine is important for kids, and even more so for Mums.

In the Huey house the night time routine, when it works perfectly involves dinner, bath, story time, bed. 

With the girls having fairly wide reading levels right now usually Mr H reads to Immy and I read to Popps.  They have four stories each and like all kids they have favourites that we have to read every night until everyone knows every. single. word.

Doing the solo mumma thing means that this routine has needed a little shift this week.

Popps is quite proud of the books she can read so she starts us off with reading to us. Then we have two stories that I choose. And then we have the story that Daddy reads.

Usually, I am not really a fan of just passing over an electronic version of a parent.

But this book has been a fun thing for us this week.

This is the book I chose

Mr H pre-recorded the book a couple of weeks before he left and then I put it away to bring out when he was gone.

The girls are enjoying the concept that Dad is 'talking' to them. 

This book is becoming part of the 'Dad is away' routine.

The actual story line is a bit lacking, it is written in poem form and a little 'simple'. But the illustrations do help build the book a bit more. But it's the concept of hearing the person talk that is the real plus.

Once Mr H gets back Popps plans to re do it herself and have her own voice on there instead. You can also make up your own story to each page if you wanted to, especially for smaller children that wont recognise any words. We also added in the girls names, so you can personalise it however you want.

I received this book from Hallmark, and they are happy to give two of my readers a copy too, there are a few different options, and the winner can discuss which book they want with the PR company.

These are just a few of the options

Or check the website if you want to see more.

Just leave me a comment telling me your favourite kids book, or the best tip you have for solo parenting, or just say hi, I want a book.

I will draw this next Wednesday at 12pm. - AEST.

Winners will be notified via email.

If you want to comment on facebook instead of on the blog that is ok too.

EDITED: This giveaway is now closed.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from Hallmark. I was not paid to write this post. I requested the giveaways for my readers and they said Okey Dokey.

Wordless Wednesday: #dressdare

I am partaking in Dress Dare which is being run by Fox In Flats

And I am not enjoying it. Will struggle to last the week.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Life in Pictures

Mr H got some free WiFi in the first class carriage of the Very Fast Train and sent an email requesting some images of the girls.

This is the easiest way for him to see them (thanks free WiFi at the conference), sorry for boring the rest of you.

We have been:


Messing up displays for the races:

Choosing new toys.


Trying to get Peppa to leave the front gate.

Night time Pj concert (don't mind the pile of washing about to be folded)

And more craft - bat making, in preparation for her party, only four months away, this girl is organised!

Dodging babies who are sleeping all over the place

We went to the Park (x78,000 times)

And as I am feeling extremely frumpy and non yummy Mummish. Here is the best image of me I could get.

Since you've been gone.

Dear Mr H,

Since you've been gone things have been ok.

Not once have I needed to pick up the wet bath mat and dirty jocks from the bathroom floor that you usually leave as my early morning gift each day.

No one has asked "Where's the meat" when I serve up a vegetarian dish that has taken me the last hour to cook.

There seems to be hardly any washing and I have just realised how many times a day you change your clothes and how much washing you create.

The fridge does not need filling.

There are no empty mugs of Milo hiding down beside the couch, leftover from your late night snack. Ditto, half empty packets of chips.

I have not got into the car and found the petrol light to be on when I need to get somewhere in a hurry.

I have had to pick up dog shit every day.

I am wondering if I will have to get the lawns done while you swishy tail it along the River Seine on the weekend.

Your filing system sucks. Those piles of paper you leave around the house  are not appropriate. They are now gone.

You know how you don't like to put a box in the recycling, in case someone realises we now have something that they want. Gone. No longer the centre piece of our lounge room.

Rest up, enjoy your trip. You have work to do on your return.

Love from
Mrs H

Monday, September 26, 2011

50,000 and one

Yesterday I noticed that I was nearly at 50, 000 page views. I wanted to try and take a photo of that on my screen. 

But someone snuck in and read my blog so when I hit refresh it went past the magical number.

Thank you  to everyone who has dropped by here. Especially those people I forced to at the start.

I am also nearly at 250 posts. I was thinking of having a big giveaway or something fun, but it just didn't get to on my to do list. Will try to be more organised for the 100K!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dad-dee c/- Queens house


Can you get me a spinny dress from the queen and a picture of the queens man?

Are you ever coming home?

Did you see my picture of you? I hanged it on the washing line so you could see it from the plane.

I gave Peppa a cuddle, she ate my biscuit. I gave her some dredgimite.

We had chocolate mousse, but it didn't have a cow on it.

Popps made a wand and wrote Imogen will be the Dad on it, I don't want to be the Dad, I am the Mum, but she made the wand magic and keeps abracadabra-ing me and making me the Dad.

Mum will throw that thing in the bin I think.

Mum said I had too many babies around today and I had to pack them up. I couldn't cos they was asleep.

Don't ring again when Octanauts is on. I can't talk then.

Immy Jimma.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, September 24, 2011

To Dad, c/- Qantas Airways

Dear Daddy

Today was the Open Day at dancing, and you wouldn't believe it, but I did the entire performance. Miss Deborah arranged the whole room so that the chairs are all at the back so that I couldn't see anyone watching me. I didn't even think about them, just did the dances.

Immy did hers too, and her friends came to watch, which was a huge help for Mum, as she couldn't be in two rooms at once watching us both while you gallivant over to visit the Queen. 

I had a party to attend. Mum had to leave me there as Immy wasn't invited and apparently two year olds can't be left home alone. One of the other Mums who we had never met helped me, it was an Art Class so kinder kids can't do all the stuff on their own. We made a crown and a wand, but the boys made pirate hats and telescopes. Mum walked around the shops next door and bought Immy some new sandals. 

The dog is missing you and sitting at the front gate waiting for you to come home and Immy keeps asking if you will be home for Octanauts, which is really annoying as Octanauts isn't even on at 5.15 anymore. 

We went through all the cake books deciding which birthday cakes we want for the next five years.

Yesterday on the way home from the airport, Mum got lost and yelled at us to not talk again til she knew where we were. I cried because I missed you already and I didn't know if Mum would ever find our house again.   It was dark and Immy wanted that Mickey Mouse CD on and Mum was yelling to be quiet. I don't think I like the airport much. I hope you are not on the plane for much longer, or wherever you are.

Love from Popps

PS I will write to you again very soon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

When did our bathrooms get so boring?

We need to renovate the two bathrooms we have.

One is circa 1964 and in original condition, everything except the lino floor that arrived sometime in the 90s.

The bath is green, so are the tiles, and the vanity sink. The shower base is a speckled concrete thing that is so good at hiding dirt and mould, I am not sure if it needs cleaning or just looks that way.

The eighties bathroom, is all sorts of glamour that you will never find in a current bathroom shop. I have loaded the tapware to facebook before for comments, and all our friends that visit comment on them. They are certainly a talking point.

As we accept the reality that we need to update, all I can find is white.

Bathrooms are now all just white.  Vanity, bath, shower recess...white, white white.

You can add some minor colour with a cupboard, some charcoal perhaps, or a natural shade (otherwise known as brown). But otherwise it is white.

I actually love our 1960s bathroom, but the tiles can't be replaced.

I love the taps in the 1980s bathroom, but changing the washers isn't enough anymore and we really need to replace.

So if you are a bathroom designer or supplier and have something that is not white, please let me know.

If you have a bathroom that you think has some style about it, maybe load the pic to my facebook page and give me some ideas.

If you recall the 1960s, and have any idea what the original floor coverings would have been, I would also love to know that.

Basically, give me your bathroom updating tips, especially in avoiding the stark white bathroom choice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Heading to the Country to visit the Carnies.

It's Show Time here in Melbourne.

But even better than that, it is country show time.

We are giving the big show a miss and heading out of town to visit the Carnies this year.

The girls and I are escaping AFL footy weekend and going to the St Arnaud Show instead.

They even have a facebook page!

This is the first ever "Happy Face" Immy has drawn. (In case you couldn't tell!)
The girls are entering the drawing competitions, they may even enter the "decorate a Marie Biscuit" competition.

I read out to Popps that the winner of the drawing competition gets $5.00, she was very disappointed and let me know that she was hoping for a ribbon or a certificate.

There will be limited rides to be pestered about and the showbag stand will be a stand, not a pavilion.

There will be free face painting and lots of animals, pony rides will be offered.

BBQs with real meat from local farmers and butchers. Maybe a hot doughnut van, but not endless options of junk.

There will be cake stalls and motorbike displays, whip cracking and sheep herding. We wont miss anything, because they pretty much all occur on the same footy oval arena.

Kids under five are even free to attend and last time we went there was fireworks.

The Mayor (also known as Poppy) will be judging Miss Tiny Tot. I suggested we enter Immy to really mess with his ethical standards...can you pick your own granddaughter to win Miss Tiny Tot? Can you not?

I must go now, I am thinking of entering my Echidna Cake into the masterchef competition and have to get my entry in.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Coffee Bogans

It seems with Melbourne's love of a good coffee that the home coffee offering has hit new heights.

A friend recently asked if we had a coffee machine, and were they the last ones in Melbourne to get one?

We have two.

Both sit in the cupboard and I don't know how to use them.

In Melbourne, if you want a great coffee you go out and get one, you get it on the way to work, or school drop off, as you race out of creche or on the way to a friends place you grab one for you both.

But more and more people are parting with wads (and big wads) of cash to have the latest machine perching on their bench.

It means if you ask someone if they want a coffee at your place and you pull out the jar of instant coffee you feel a little less. A little less refined, a little less hanging with the cool gang.

You have to begin by apologising, "would you like a cuppa, sorry we only have instant, is that ok?"

You have to announce your inner bogan coffee drinking habits.

Is this a Melbourne coffee drinking thing? And is there anyone else who can admit to being a Coffee Bogan?


Friday, September 16, 2011

A box, some sand and a few animals

Remember I asked about what kind of toys I should add to our dismal collection?

I got quite a few responses on the blog and on twitter talking about animals. I wasn't convinced they would be much of a hit here, but the creche teacher chatted about Immy spending time at the jungle table with the animals and my Mum started sending the girls a parcel every now and then with a little animal each.

This week I really needed to make a work call and didn't want to be disturbed for at least 20 minutes - which is a pretty long time for a two year old.

The recycle bin was overflowing like usual so the boxes are all sitting inside, this gave me the idea of the sand box.

I gave the girls the box and permission to use anything at all in the backyard to make a habitat for the animals.

It was a huge hit and gets played with each day as they change things around, replace the flowers, clean the water and play.

There are sure to be more animals on the way to play here.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We never thought we had to ask.

When we arrived home from hospital with Popps, our lovely neighbours were the first to welcome us home. Jim and Maria may not even remember, but I do. They cooed over the baby and said all the things we as new parents wanted to hear.

8 months later and Popps was crawling around, we lived in a townhouse with stairs that no stair guard would fit. Jim custom built a stair guard for their stairs and then came and fitted it to ours to keep Popps from danger.
He was an amazing craftsman and I often drooled over the artwork that was the dining table he had made his own family.

When it came time for us to buy a place, Jim was the person who helped us out, he looked over places, and gave us advice in a kind parenting type of way.

When we may have over used the rat sac and ended up with a stench in the roof from dead rats,  Jim climbed up, removed the tin sheeting and fixed it for us.

He then installed our DIY kitchen and was more patient with Mr H and his lacking apprentice skills than any one else would probably be. EVER.

Today is the National R U OK DAY . Because a conversation could save a life.

Ask someone if they are ok. Listen to the answer. 

We never thought we needed to ask Jim. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Brands and blogging, a couple of my case studies.

Lindt the chocolate people have opened a new store. No doubt they have an entire marketing strategy to promote this store and support their business, but part of this strategy is including blogging.

Lots of people (marketing or otherwise) are asking why Lindt or other brands would be heading into the blogging arena. So here is a little reason why and how it can work. I haven't spoken to them this is just what I have seen and noticed. And no, this is not sponsored, more like a case study kind of thing, you know?

It starts with an event, held at the new Lindt store, the blogger who attended wrote about what she saw, later she had a giveaway of some Lindt products. Singular Insane has a number of followers on facebook, twitter and her blog, all heard about the Lindt store opening and many entered to win the giveaway.

Guess who won the Lindt?

Yes, my hips.

The Lindt delivery arrives, it is the most exciting thing to happen to me this week.

I tweet my happiness, I add some images to Instagram and they are retweeted on Twitter where I also posted it. I get more comments on my image of chocolate on Instagram than any other of the over 100 images I have posted.

I then tweet that Lindt should send Tiff and Ivy some chocolate in the hospital where Ivy is very sick. Lindt are ahead of me, this has already been done, I am told this by @Frogpondsrock who has another 1549 twitter followers that now learn that Lindt are sending out more baskets of goodies.

So in just a couple of weeks, at minimal cost, Lindt chocolate get their name out and about, shared online, and discussed, for just the cost of the product and a person behind the scenes keeping an eye on the twitter brigade. A decent advert in the Metro papers is at least $10,000, sure it gets greater coverage but it doesn't allow for conversation and engagement with the direct consumer.

Well done to the luckiest Marketing people in the world at Lindt, clearly all that chocolate they must get to eat allows for clear thinking!

My other case study is this.

My Mum has decided that retirement is just not for her, instead she decided to open a clothing store in the local town, I helped her set up her facebook page and she said she had a few items that she hadn't sold even a single item of. We put them on facebook, and trying to do the ethical and correct thing we linked to the brand whose clothes they were.

The items got sold and headed off from regional Victoria to all over Australia. My Mum doesn't even have a mobile phone, she still hand writes out and then faxes or 'photo stats' the orders. So sending out a facebook message to all of her 30 followers was a big deal.

The clothing company sent her a nasty letter, they requested she never link to them again and told her she is also unable to use images of the clothes again in her marketing, especially on facebook.

She was a little stressed about the letter and the following discussions with them. Thus, she cancelled her order for all their summer stock and wont be stocking them anymore. Sure, she is just one client, but  another little Aussie kids clothing brand just got a few thousand dollars in orders instead, and they are more than happy for people to share them on facebook, display their images (they even give you a CD with the images to use) and are supportive of small businesses marketing their products.

Have you seen or taken part in any decent or not so decent social media marketing activities?


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where did those skills go?

This too, is a bad design.

I have put up my hand to do some additional work for work. It requires design skills that I used to have many years ago and that I have allowed to lapse, slowly and quietly.

Marketing departments across organisations vary so much.

When I worked for a Not For Profit we tried to do as much as possible in house. It was magnificent for my skills, I learnt all sorts of programs and skills and found ways to make things happen when the actual budget for the project was officially $0.00.

Over the last few years I have worked in teams where we had either the luxury of in-house design teams or the budget to pay decent ones externally.

I didn't realise my Indesign skills had got so shabby. I hate relying on other areas to get things done for me. I really don't like looking at my work and thinking how poorly it looks compared to what I would like it to look like.

But at least now I have another little project for myself.

Have you lost (misplaced!) any of your work skills? Did you manage to find them again?


Friday, September 9, 2011

The little Hueys hit the sticks

For some years when I was growing up I lived on a farm.

Not the same one we go to visit when we see my parents now, but some things it seems might always be the same for country kids.

If cropping is your thing, then each year there tends to be a few pictures of the kids in the crop. Whether that is to display a great yield or a drought affected disaster.

And when you have to wait around in empty paddocks the world really is your stage.

The back of a ute was always a concert stage for me, and it seems given the first opportunity, it is for the Little Hueys too.

Mid Dancemove

And country kids know that city visitors will always want to have a ride on whatever they can get their hands on.

The Little Hueys did not fail this test.

Four wheel driving through the wild flowers and wattle
Girl from Snowy River in the Making

They got riding motorbikes and horses the first chance they got.

I don't miss living in the country, but I do love that the girls get to share the good bits about the farm when they can.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Have you heard of Heartfelt?

Today I have a guest post from Martine. When she is not busy raising her five boys, working and  blogging, Martine volunteers for an amazing charity. This charity doesn't even want you to donate, they just want you to know they exist, to share what they do and ensure all families have precious photos to keep.

Here Martine will tell you all about them.

Baby Ava

The loss of a child is certainly one of life’s greatest tragedies. 

When we lost our daughter she was 4 and a half months old. 

For 3 of those months she was a seemingly healthy, adored and treasured addition to our household of 3 boys. People often say that with subsequent children there are always less photos than with the first. As I was a photographer this never seemed to be true for me. During Ava’s short life I had taken many hundreds of photos. It is these photos that I often turn to in my times of immense grief, but also in those times when I just want to remember. They are also the images that will help her brothers keep her memory alive. 

Unfortunately though for many who lose a child suddenly or for other reasons and circumstance, they are in no position to have their precious moments captured in photos. Whilst there is nothing that can take away the pain of losing a child, I know that this pain would be compounded had I not had these beautiful images. 

Not long after our daughter died, I read about a charity that takes photos of premature, stillborn and seriously ill babies and children. Straight away I knew this was something I wanted to be involved with and set about applying to be a photographer. At the time it was known as ACOCP (Australian Charity of Child Photographers) but has since been renamed Heartfelt. Heartfelt is a not for profit organization whereby all photographers work for no fee to capture precious memories for families and present them with prints and CDs of their images. This can often mean photographers go out at very short notice to homes and hospitals and under very difficult circumstances to ensure that photos can be captured with the utmost sensitivity and respect. 

For myself there are still some sessions that I am not ready to face but thankfully there are some amazing photographers that make themselves available at all times of day and night. Whilst Heartfelt is now beginning to foster great relations with hospital staff all over Australia, it is still important to spread the word of the amazing work that is done so that no other family should be without beautiful photos of their precious children. For more information on this wonderful organization please

So if you could,  please share this post with your networks, your stalkers, your friends and your foes. As knowledge of what they do helps Heartfelt get out to more families who unfortunately may need them. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I don't think I want a cleaner

I really really do want a cleaner. But then, I don't think I want one.

Then, domestic goddess failure that I am perhaps a cleaning lady is a requirement here.

For a short period of time we had a cleaner. Entering the house after she had whooshed through with her mop and sponge brought me a sense of peace and happiness that only a clean house that I didn't clean can bring.

Then we moved and we never organised another one.

First up was the cost. A cleaner really is a luxury item. But in my head we would always get another one. But I just can't justify it with small kids.

I need to clean my floors everyday. On slack days I may only do the kitchen and dining but they still need a sweep. With a two year old (and a husband with bad aim) there is no way our toilets could make it a full week without being cleaned, the toothpaste in the sink would be pretty revolting if left a week too. So with a Sadie the Cleaning lady I would be cleaning all week except the one day the she came along. And then, I wouldn't want anyone to eat or use the kitchen for the rest of the day.

I would like someone to dust every now and then, but I can manage not to see it for a good month or so.

The oven would love some attention, but most cleaners charge extra for that.

The windows needed cleaning, but then I just bought some special textas for windows and the girls have now decorated them all and they are just a mess of texta swirls and dirt. I call it 'VMA' or Very Modern Art.

Lastly is that problem of cleaning for the cleaner, generally at the last minute on your way out the door, adding extra stress to the morning.

So, cleaners - are they worth it or not. Is that ten minutes of total cleanliness worth the money you fork out? Or is it better to give yourself $75 and go get your nails done instead?

My latest colour


Monday, September 5, 2011

It's time to get your sun smarts on

At creche, the Little Hueys are not allowed outside now without a full sunsmart hat and sunblock cream on. They are not allowed to wear dresses with little straps. They have sun shades in their playgrounds and when they haven't lost them, they have sunglasses too.

This is not a big deal for them, it is the only way they know.

We all do lots to protect our kids from skin cancer, much more than what was done in the past. We are smarter, we know more about skin cancer and how it is a nasty demon who can start picking its victims very early and wait around to get them when they are not looking.

I have always bought Cancer Council suncream, it's good stuff, and the profits go to funding more research for curing the gift the devil gave us, Cancer, in all it's forms.

Cancer scares me, I hate that it pops up and gets the young, the fit, the great among us.

If shopping and getting what I need can also contribute to finding a cure, I will continue to purchase the Cancer Council suncream and probably some of the other products.

It's time to get your sun smarts on. For yourself and for the greater need of Cancer research.

Immy was so impressed, she wore these in the bath.

This post was inspired by the Cancer council  who sent the little Hueys some new googles and some suncream. But they didn't have to, I would be buying their products anyway and I still suggest everyone else does too.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

A weekend wrap up

I have had a tidy up, a little side bar fix up.

Just in case you were not sure how to follow this blog, the icons over there on the left are for Facebook, twitter, RSS and to email me. If you are reading this in your email (Hello Chris!) you will need to click on the heading which will take you to the real blog page.

I don't have the time to fix this blog myself, so I use Katrina from Media Mad, she is the goods, I tell you. She emails late on a Saturday night and then she spends Father's Day cleaning up my blog for me and making it work better.

Speaking of Father's Day.

Mr H had a great day.

Well he should have, he took off for six hours and went and played golf at a swanky golf club.

Pretty sure he also bought himself a kite.

He said it was a new gift for the girls.

I am not so sure.

The kite is not to be touched when he isn't here and he hid it behind the couch...yep, like a 3 year old.

I decided to serve up a lovely Sunday night soup tonight, Roasted Pumpkin with Ginger. It is in the new weight watchers cook book. I didn't realise that when the recipe says it serves four, that means four people who are really concerned about portion control, we shared a few sips of soup each before I had to duck out for a quick run to the stupidmarket for a hot chook. 

Is there anything a BBQ chook can't fix?


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Some Big and Fruity Trees.

When you plant something do you ever think about how long it may last?

One of the joys of visiting my parents, who have a unique home built during the Victorian Gold rush era, are the trees and plants that surround the block.

Trees that were planted to supplement the weekly food of families over 100 years ago, plants that have lived through droughts, neglect and flood.

Orange tree so big, the verandah was built around it.

I don't know who planted them, but I bet they never expected them to become so big, to still provide, to be the source of marmalade and jams and juice that they are, to be the shade for family picnics or where people chat while harvesting bags of fruit.

Cumquat Corner: this tree is always full, all year round.
Got me thinking to just how many people these trees have fed over the last century.

Time to get planting.