Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My new handbag, it even sings.

When Immy plays babies, she often says to the baby, "bye, bye, Mummy is going to work now." Then she goes off to a chair and says beep beep beep beep beep, while she pretends she is working on a computer.

It seems she has certainly hit the stage of imitating the big people in her life, which is actually quite an interesting reflection of us as parents.

When I suggested a little walk the other day, to reduce my cabin fever for some lovely fresh air, she ran around yelling "wait! I haven't got my phone"

And so our ten minute walk took nearly an hour as we stopped to speak on the phone every few steps, mainly to Dad, Nana and Granny.

I also got to use her handbag to put the house keys in, which also came with a toy mirror, pretend plastic coins and a stuffed dog!

Then I got to carry them all back home.

Have you ever seen yourself in the play antics of your children?


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So you think you can't dance

It has come to my attention that I have some new followers, Hello, Hello to all two of you.

You may also not have read my post a few months ago about the dancing issues we were dealing with, in short, Popps was suffering horrible anxiety at the idea that people may, of all the possible things, 'look' at at her. Can you imagine? How dare they!

We had a few weeks of dancing turmoil of wondering whether to force her to stick out the year and together with the teacher we decided she would have to, on the condition that she never had to do the concert or dance in front of people at the end of each term.

Six months later.

With the concert now approaching the teacher suggested that the parents enter the room and get a glimpse of how the routine was coming together. No, said Popps, I don't want them in here. I don't want them to watch me. The teacher pretty much said, too bad, it's not negotiable.

I sat at the front watching her chew off any fingernails she had left and bite her hands. She kept her eyes on the ceiling and the teacher at all times. When the music started she went through and completed the routine. She didn't look all that happy, but she wasn't screaming and running out the door. This was progress.

At the end, she ran over to me, whispering, I did it, I did it, I did it.

 "Yes,  you did, and how did it feel?"  I asked.

It was ok, she says, because I made up a strategy. If you don't look at the people, you can't see where they're looking, so then they can't be looking at you.

She is a thinker our Popps and strategy is one of her favourite words.

Last night we had the first dress rehearsal.

Could barely drag the girl from the stage.


Monday, November 28, 2011

My perfect table; and other ramblings

I may have to reconsider changing my bio on the side of this blog. Domestic Goddess Failure - Ha!

These last few weeks the Huey household has been acting like a pilot episode for Better Homes and Gardens.

I was looking everywhere for a trestle table but at a child's height level, I got lots of options, but none that were perfect. We cruised around the furniture stores but still found nothing. Mr H arrived home with some wood from Man Heaven and as the weather was poor he decided to make me a table - in the lounge room. Aside from having some liquid nails now permanently on our carpet the table came up perfectly. Really, who minds a bit of sawdust surrounding them as they relax and watch telly when you get the table of your dreams.

With the table now in use I have been helping the girls get festive, with the help of some printable writing paper (free from PickleBums) they wrote out their letters to Santa for us to post today. Plus some cutting and snipping here to make little decorations which we have hang around.

Immy actually drew Santa a picture of himself first. See his hat and beard? Sure you do.
Popps went with the niceties first. Then the one thing on her list, cut out red love hearts and filled the envelope.

On top of that, I have even baked - Gluten and Dairy Free Cupcakes. It does not matter that I used a packet.  They are also looking rather special.

In other news, these are on my shit list. Betts Kids is often my go to place for the girls when they need new shoes (which is about every six weeks lately) I am a little annoyed to see high heels, from size 8 - which is basically from about two and a half years old - now on the shelves.  Really, who buys these and what must such things do for the development of little feet  and minds. So I walked out and got the summer sandals elsewhere.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Before Christmas gets started, we have a few things to do.

Yes, it is pretty clear around these parts that Christmas is well and truly soon to arrive.

The councils are dusting off the tinsel and putting them up on street poles and the junk mail is starting to arrive thick and fast.

But we have a few too many things to do before the Christmas celebrations can commence.

There is our first Dance Concert. Something that I never expected to be so time consuming. Extra rehearsals, make up nights, photo nights, full dress rehearsal, costume fittings and packing bags of hairspray, hair nets, bobby pins and shoe paint. I am now a Ballet Mum.

 Once I get through this I would like to think I will have a few days rest, but that is not to be, as the Fairy Princess Party will be held less than 48 hours afterwards. This is the party where I wasn't sure how many kids to invite, well, the list just took over and even with limited invitations there are 50 people invited. 50 -   Holy FairyCakes Harmony - you will be pleased to know that I have accepted the kindest offer ever for the cake to be made, to prevent serving up anything like my Echidna to a room full of three year olds and parents I have barely met.

I have also been using Pinterest to get all my ideas for the girls' parties and couldn't help falling in love with these dresses, so I sent the image to Granny Huey and she is organising one each for the girls to wear. I am hoping they will arrive in time for the local Carols by Candlelight and a few other Christmas events we have planned.
I am considering giving these a go too. Eating them I mean. yum.

We also have school orientations and preparations for Popps. How ready is she for school? So so ready. I thought I was too.

Things are hectic, but filled with all good things. Except for one. I rang a cleaner to come and help out, but she too is flat out til mid January...bugger.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I am giving up the night time nappies.

Crazy morning bed hair. 

Today is a good day. Good days come pretty easily around here. I like to celebrate the very small and think of all the positives in it.

From today I will never again be one of those people with a trolley full of Huggies Boxes because Toys R Us have them at super low prices, nor will I do a trip to Aldi to stock up on a months worth of nappies.

I will never again be aware of the latest, greatest, bestest, trendiest, snobbery inducing nappy required for babies of the day.

After six years, our trolley will be nappy free.

Immy has been dry overnight for weeks, but it was me, insisting that she wear a nappy to bed for 'just in case'. She hasn't wanted to wear them so I have bribed her with the expensive princess pictured ones, used pull ups and all the usual tricks.

Considering she woke yesterday at 5.30am because she needed to go to the toilet, and my whispering and pleading of just do it in your nappy and go back to sleep were not listened to, I am giving in. I am accepting that throwing a dry nappy in the bin is a waste of every kind.

And by giving in I accept that I may have to wash sheets more often for little accidents. But I also accept there is spare money floating around somewhere and a change table that needs to go on ebay, that bags of poo will not be filling up the wheely bin and best of all, my handbag will have so much more space.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Packaging, branding and stuff

When Popps had her first Christmas I unopened all the toys first and removed the forty thousand wires that the Little People seemed to require to keep them in place, because trying to do it all on Christmas morning was going to be no fun.

Brands spend major mega bucks on packaging and branding and trying to make you buy their product. If you hate the packet, rarely will you even bother trying the product.

Some brands have been lazy and just use the same words/colours/packaging in different countries and the lack of research is quickly shown.

Apologies to marketing people who have seen these a thousand times, but here are some of the brand/packaging bloopers from the past:

Ford was not able to market its popular Pinto in Brazil in the late '70s when it learnt that pinto is Portuguese slang for "tiny penis." It sold the Corcel instead, the Portuguese word for "horse." 
In China, Coca-Cola was initially rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. In different dialects the phrase translated as "female horse stuffed with wax" or "bite the wax tadpole." Coke replaced it with the much better Ko-kou-ko-le or “happiness in the mouth". 
Pepsi's late '60s slogan, COME ALIVE WITH THE PEPSI GENERATION was mangled in a Mandarin translation as PEPSI WILL BRING BACK YOUR ANCESTORS FROM THE DEAD. 
Parker marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico with ads that were supposed to say, IT WON'T LEAK IN YOUR POCKET AND EMBARRASS YOU. But because of a bad verb choice (they thought embarazar meant "embarrass"), the ads instead said, IT WON'T LEAK IN YOUR POCKET AND MAKE YOU PREGNANT. 
In China, KFC's slogan IT'S FINGERLICKIN' GOOD somehow got mistranslated as EAT YOUR FINGERS OFF. (Not that this slogan was ever really that great anywhere). 
Gerber's sweet, smiling baby-food-jar baby backfired horribly in Africa: Because of high illiteracy, Africa's consumers are used to seeing a product’s contents pictured on the packaging.
So when new milk bottles, in a new designed package got delivered to my door I initially wondered why they bothered. Sure I can always do with more milk but the packaging I was set to try just seemed to be like UHT Milk with a slanted top.

See, you can hardly see the new slanted top design that works so well.

But it was much more than that, some clever little milk and cookie eating designer has made the packet much easier to pour, also the seal was easier to open than usual UHT packaging. (And it isn’t UHT, it is fresh milk).

This is important to me, as I seem to have some kind of arthritis pain constantly in my fingers, every day stuff that I just do can cause mild pain. The kind that you just have but get on with things.  This packaging did not require strength in your fingers and hands.

Most of my readers may not find any benefit in this, but older people or people with joint pain may want to give it a try.  Especially if they are like Mr H and despise UHT milk and only want the fresh stuff – though I would bet a Tiffany’s diamond he could never tell the difference. Or if you care for an older person this product would actually allow them to pour milk a little easier. Something pretty small which could make a difference to making a cuppa tea without the mess.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

How Imogen made the Mumma's all cry.

Organising Immy’s party is proving hard as we don’t really know which little friends she really prefers and which are just kids in the crèche room. Perfect timing was the crèche photos, with a picture of the group of 11.  I asked Immy to point to the kids she wanted to invite. NO BOYS.

Except Max.

Max is new at crèche. Max has a few special needs. He may not walk or talk, he struggles to swallow and has trouble eating, Max can't hear perfectly either.

But Imogen loves Max.

She likes to sit and read stories to him and ‘teach’ him to say Mum. She likes to see him smile and she celebrates when he says a word. She likes to stroke his arm and chatter away to him about what she is doing.

Max had to be invited to the party.

Until yesterday I had never met Max or his Mum.

I was at pick up early and I introduced myself to Max’s Mum who was there to pick him up too. As usual, in my fluster, I had forgotten the invites to the party, and as Max wont be back til next week I wanted to let her know the date and that Max was invited.

Max’s Mumma cried with happiness that he had been invited to a party.

She made me cry very proud tears that my daughter was such a sweet and caring girl.

The four carers cried to see the Mumma’s crying.

Immy is just wanting to know what all the fuss is about, and will there be balloons, if so, we need a blue one for Max. OK?


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I may not be able to blog for awhile

Thankfully these are not ours. Ouch!

I may still be in shock for a few days and may not be able to blog...why?

I have just taken myself and the girls to the dentist.

The good news is that we all have perfect teeth. Not a filling, nor a hole or any treatment required.

The bad news.

It just added $560 to the credit card to confirm this.

(And Imogen was seen for free).

We did however get a new toothbrush each.

Do you have toothy pegs that cost a fortune when there is nothing wrong with them?


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Testing the Marketing spiel by giving stuff away

I was being entertained with wine and lovely food one night and being told of the latest weapon for busy mums. The all in one face cream.

I am not really sure what they said, I got side tracked on twitter and also on the words, ‘charities we work with,’ and ‘improvements we have made to reduce greenhouse gases’.

All the bloggers in the room were given the chance to do a large giveaway to ten of their readers, but I am still not sure how my readers like (or dislike) the giveaways I have. There is often very little response to them (this should tell me something).

So I decided to see how true Garnier were in there marketing spiel. I asked them to send me as many of the product boxes that they were happy for me to giveaway to people/organisations that I thought could benefit.

A couple of weeks later and this was the lounge room.

This is flats like where Charlie and Lola live, complete with car ramp.

Initially I wanted to donate all 19 to a woman’s shelter. This has proven a difficult task. Women’s shelters are well protected, for good reason, and they don’t really encourage random people walking up with boxes. I considered dropping them with the section of the police that work with women’s protection, but they are also quite overworked and it is not their job to go handing out my giveaways.

So I looked closer to home, I found a charity that is looking for items to raffle to raise funds and gave them a couple, I took some to my regular family services group, dropped some at a pregnancy support services near me and have given some to another group who have started looking for gifts for families this Christmas, usually the kids get most of them, so now the Mums will get a little something too.

So thank you Garnier. You stood behind the words you uttered in the marketing spiel and have made a difference to a few extra women this week.  It may be a small gift to many, but sometimes that is all you need to change your day.

I should also add, that I only did this as I thought the product was worth giving. I use it, I like it and I will keep using it, especially as I can get it for under fifteen smackers from the supermarket. But I am also fully aware that $15 is a lot when you can barely afford nappies. 

Have you ever found it difficult to give things away?


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Social Media and why some businesses fear it.

Opps, I made a mistake and got the wrong week and I am sorry I sent some of you to Nikki's last week, I was a little eager and early. But I am sure you were not disappointed with what you saw over at her great blog.

But not this week. No Mistakes.

Today you can go and read about what businesses often fear with social media, why, and what they can easily do to overcome these fears. 

Head over to Styling You to read what I am on about.

Thanks Nikki for hosting my post, I hope some of your readers find it interesting.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Chocolate Coins and a $177.95 Giveaway

There are things you should not push the boundaries on.

And chocolate coins are clearly one of them.

After recently taking the girls to a blogging gig where they got to watch Cars 2 in 3D for a select screening in a city penthouse apartment, then headed off with stashbags (yes, they were much more than a showbag, a big stash of things thus, the Stashbag). I asked Popps if there was anything she would like to put in the bag, for the kids "who live in trees" I don't know why she thinks this is where less fortunate people live but she does.

She handed over pretty much half the stuff, a DVD, a CD, an actual Car and a Cars drink bottle.

This morning when I was preparing the stuff to take to the group I mentioned the other day, I also snuck into both of their rooms and took out the bags of chocolate money and added them to my 'stuff' bag.

I had no idea she had plans for those chocolates.

Not just for eating, they were to be real money in the play kitchen, to be used for playing shops and to make her money box sound full.

There were tears aplenty when I said "They are gone".

I have learnt my lesson, in future, I will be very proud that she is willing to so easily hand over so much and to not stretch the limits of giving by a five year old.

As for Cars 2, I can't tell you about it. I was too busy gossiping, networking to bother watching and I still haven't got around to it. Immy refuses to watch it, "cos boys like it" and Popps just says, it was good, and we were allowed to jump on the beds.

I do however have an amazing Cars 2 pack to giveaway. Valued at $177.95!!!

It includes all this:

The Cars 2 pack includes:
-          Cars 2 Blu-ray and DVD
-          Invisible Pen with UV Light set
-          Cars 2 watch
-          Credit Card Sized USB Flash Drive
-          Mini Car toolkit
-          Spy Ear Phone

If you have a Cars fan in your house, or one that you need to buy for this Christmas, then this could be a handy win.

Just leave a comment, and for the love of chocolate coins, please leave your email address if you don't have it attached to your profile or you are not on twitter or you don't follow me on facebook. Or at least email it to me. If the prize isn't claimed within  72 hours of being announced, it will be redrawn.

This is a doozy of a prize so I am keeping it open all week, til next Friday night 18 November 2011.

Monday 21 November 2011: Edited:

Thanks everyone for entering.

This giveaway is now closed:

Melinda I will be contacting you to organise your prize.  Congratulations. I hope Santa also drops you some chocolate coins!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mr H does his first Guest Post.

All parents learn pretty quickly that routine is king for getting kids to bed (not babies, they are slow to learn, but kids yes). Routine here is bath, stories, bed (maybe some singing, patting, begging, screaming)

Mr H is also stuck in a rut and can’t actually sleep without reading something. Problem is he never buys any books and never goes to the library, this means he can end up reading whatever he finds lying around the place.

When I was sent a media release about a book  with a cover that looked like something I wouldn’t ever buy, let alone read, I did think it might be ok for Mr H.

I then made him write a review of the book. I was interested to hear what he had to say, as along the way I heard him muttering about excessive amounts of sex and I wasn’t sure if this was a good or a bad thing.

So here is Mr H for his first Guest Post.

Claire gave me this book to read. She knows I love a good story and thought this one would suit my bedtime ritual and need to forget the real world from time to time and join the life of the characters in a book. 
The story was actually a really good read. It’s fairly confronting, about growing up in an African country and feeling like an outsider and basically having little or no respect for your parents, teachers and certainly yourself. The main character is a girl with attitude and every parents nightmare! I shuddered at the thought of my two girls even be-friending a girl like her. It brought back memories from my childhood about the need to fit in with my peers, however the activities they got up to were far more scandalous than we ever did. 
It was interesting reading about the life of this girl and her disjointed family and seeing what life just might be like as a white person living in Tanzania. I don't want to take my kids for a visit there, albeit the scenery and action appears tempting.
I would recommend Exile to anyone who likes a bit of scandal, excitement or simply just a good read.I have asked Claire for copies of any other books by this author who I am told has since died. I have no idea of the circumstance and can only hope it wasn't the same as the main character in this story.

Exile is part one of a Trilogy. Revolution and Liberty are next on the list.

Does this sound like something you would like to read? What style of book do you usual choose?


Monday, November 7, 2011

10 Things People are Surprised to Learn about IVF.

I was lucky enough to have no trouble getting pregnant with either of the Little Hueys. And as I have since told many a young woman, remember in many cases, it only takes one go!

This is not the case for many of my friends including the fabulous @KerriB

As she embarks on her next attempt to have a child (her second after the super cute Master Max), using IVF, I wish her and her husband much luck, but along with lots of other people I really have very little idea what they are about to go through.

Kerrib sent me a list that I found pretty interesting, and if you have a friend or family member, you might find some of the IVF lingo helps when chatting to them about how they are going.

10 Things People are Surprised to Learn about IVF.

1.     First step is to go on the ‘pill’ while not necessary in every case; often the first course is to start on the pill so the females cycle can be regulated.
2.     In Victoria the Victorian Police need to give you the all clear first. (Edited to add: This disgusts me, but that is a whole other issue)
3.     Babys first name is blastocyst
4.     Fresh or Frozen? Yep that is really the lingo they use when talking about a transfer of embryo that has not been frozen verses treatment from a thawed (yes they use that lingo too!) embryo.
5.     AFT, IVF, ICSI, IUI, PCOS, GIFT...  Infertility centres are the masters of the acronomyn
6.     7 weeks is benchmark for being ‘truly’ pregnant
7.     Plastic fantastic. IVF stands for in vitro fertilisation, sure you already knew that, clever you! What you may not know is that ‘in vitro’ actually is actually from Latin origin meaning ‘in glass’, these days the science of assisted reproduction is not cultivated in glass beakers and test tubes but rather in plastic Petri dishes but we think IVF has a nicer ring to it than Plastic dish fertilisation.
8.     Boy or Girl? In Australia, legislation exists to prevent embryo sex selection during IVF treatment except if it is to avoid a genetically inherited disease that affects a particular sex.
9.     40/40/20 in 40% of cases the cause is Male related, in 40% its female related and in 20% it is unexplained (also called ‘idiopathic’ infertility)
10.  You pay rent! Frozen embryos are stored in a very high tech freezer. I’m pretty sure it’s not just beside the frozen peas. Rates vary but keeping the embryos ‘on ice’ costs and annual fee of $100+

Did you know most of these things, or if you are on/or have been on the IVF trial, what other things were people surprised to learn about your IVF?


Friday, November 4, 2011

Not here, there instead.

I am not here today, because I am here instead.

He does not come with the room, that I know of.

I will look this peaceful or be frolicking in the pool.

Never did I think I would see the inside of a Health Retreat, but thanks to winning a weekend there, I am off!

I may have to get over my social media addiction while I am there as I expect limited WiFi and limited time to access it.

So if you need me, carrier pigeon may be the best option.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Corporate Social Responsibility and blogging

Box of stuff

While many people cringe at the alignment, marketing departments often also take on aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Or, in other words, how the business is working with the community, who they should be working with and how they encourage or support staff who are involved in community or charity work.

I have covered this area a few times and really enjoyed it. There are lots of aspects to cover and the area is growing enormously. Businesses want to do good, and they want to see their local, national and sometimes international customers thrive. A good business understands that a decent local economy is what keeps their business afloat too.

CSR is not just for big business. It is for everyone, including bloggers.

Being a blogger you can get all sorts of offers, products and services offered to you. Some you may write about, some you do giveaways for, some you just don’t.

I started to collect a box of items that we really didn’t ‘need’. They were lovely to get in the mail and to look at and open but they were not required. Some of them were things I had won, others were parts of packs I had received from PR, or books I got from blogging functions and items from swag bags.

I wanted someone else to feel the happiness you get when the doorbell rings and the PR guys have sent you a surprise but I didn’t know where to go. I could just give them to the op shop, but then they would likely be sold. That’s ok, but I wanted someone to get them - free.

I spent some time deciding where I wanted them to go, just like I would if I was doing CSR at work. Finally I found a service at our local crèche, which is council run. A council service for families that need financial advice, or help for some reason, it may be a parent has lost a job, died, a child is ill, family breakdown etc. The service works to ensure the family is receiving the basic benefits they are entitled to and helps with budgets etc. I volunteered my box of ‘stuff’ hoping it may be of some use.

Apparently they were extremely happy. Never had anyone donated items for the families that require the service. While it may have only been a DVD, a parenting book, some socks, stuffed toys and the like, the box of stuff allowed families to have something they didn’t expect.

A recent DVD review I did I also changed so that I didn't do a giveaway, I donated the giveaway copy to be used at a breast cancer fundraising raffle, lots of smaller prizes can make selling tickets a bit easier. Someone wins the DVD, the raffle raises more money and extra funds are sent for breast cancer research. It just all helps.

I felt good. It was too easy.