Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kindergarten. Same but different.

Kindergarten photos have come a long way since the 1970s when I was wearing funky skivvies and a brown pinafore with yellow mary-janes.

Some things are a little different.

Immy attends a creche Kindergarten, which means parents can pick and choose the days and times that suit them best to attend. As Immy is in three days she has three kindergarten class photos, no group exactly the same as the other.

The photographer also has a wonderful digital camera and computers to assist them to photoshop what they want out of them (or add to them).  But I know they didn't photoshop these. Immy's crazy hair is exactly what it always looks like.

This close up even shows food she didn't wash off from whatever lunch was served that day - which is a difference I love, reche kindergartens serve up cooked meals each day and I don't have to pack her lunch!

I can also tell that the photographer grabbed images of Immy every day she was in Kinder for that week because her outfits are different.

On one day she wore a skivvy that is nearly identical to the one I wore myself in 1979. I wish I could find that photo.

The bikes are not much different and the kids still fight over who gets to have the next turn. There are the double ones where you can dink your friend beside you, which is still my favourite.

There are still climbing frames and wooden planks to walk across or slide down.

Crayons and paints and textas and pastels and pencils, glue and sticky tape and endless bits of art hang on drying racks and then get sent home to parents who place it on fridges and walls and books and photo albums.

There are dress up corners with things donated by parents and businesses who no longer need them - like phones that my children do not know how to use because there is no screen to swipe.  There is the home corner, the paint easel, the play dough spot and the reading corner. The group time mat and blocks of many shapes and sizes.

Kindergarten is a magical place for children.

Always has been.

Hopefully, always will be.

The policies and the technology changes, the families come and go but that freedom to play and learn, to be messy and imaginative, to paint trees and visit fire stations, to master the skills of using peddles and walking on a plank, it remains the same.

Our Kinder is a modern hip happening place where they celebrate everyone and every festival, they have celebrated the Hindu colour festival, the Japanese doll festival, they do Greek Easter and currently they are learning about aboriginal art and stories. They made dumplings for Chinese new year (from scratch, no idea how they managed that) and then chocolate balls for mothers day. They learn songs about saving water and how to say hello and goodbye in the language of every child in the class.

There is much learning to be done in the kinder playgound, but regardless of what happens,  Mums know that a skivvy never changes, it's still a good layering option for winter, cheap, easy to wash and will never need ironing.

What's happening at your kindergarten? 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mr H gets some new threads.

This post is sponsored by Target.

Target Mens Clothing

1. Men's Onesie  2. Striped tee 3. Pocket tee  4. Riding Jersey 5. Business Shirt  6. Jeans  7. Work pants  8. Hoodie

Do you buy your partner clothes? Mr H would much prefer people to buy him his clothes. It saves him having to do the shopping, trying things on and making decisions. The only problem is, he is quite fussy with what he wants. It has to fit perfectly, not too long in the body, not too loose. The sleeves and neck on shirts should be perfect.

Luckily most of his fashion buying team are pretty good at choosing what works for him. He also has some favourite stores that make choosing for him much easier. Target was not usually one of them. I decided that if Target was good enough for the rest of the family surely it should be able to provide Mr H with some much needed new winter threads.

Take a look at the image above. There is one item that is NOT suitable but it made me laugh to even suggest it to him. Any guesses which garment I mean?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Marketing Case Studies: Right Now

What makes a great marketing campaign? This really depends on the actual aim of the campaign so there could be may answers to this question.

What makes a great marketing campaign to me?  It would have to be campaigns that are creative and connecting. The type that I don't want to switch away from. They also need to deliver what they have told me they are offering.

Right now I love  THANK YOU.

Thank You is a group of people who I call DOERS. They do stuff. They don't get tied up in paperwork and red tape. They see things that need a solution and all get together to try and find one. This makes me feel good.

Then they turn this into something that I can be a part of just be buying something that I need and use. They are creative, they are connecting and they deliver. Watch this clip and see what you think.


Right now I am not loving Kogan Mobile.

Kogan Mobile offer excellent deals for your phone.

The company offers an easy online deal, sign up, pay your money, they send you a sim card and away you go.

SO EASY. No contracts. Keep your old phone number and great prices.

Except for when it isn't.

Mr H signed up, the sim card arrived very quickly and in to his phone it went.

And Nothing.

That was NINE days and many emails and phone calls ago. Do you know what it is like to not have your phone, text messages and smart phone toys for nine days. It's annoying. It also means Mr H has been using my phone to text people - also annoying.

The worst part is that we just don't know if it is every going to work. How long do you wait for before you give up and go elsewhere.

They are not creative, they are not connected and they are certainly not delivering.

(Also if you called Mr H and he didn't call you back, this is why).


Right now I am not sure what to say regarding #Royalbaby.

My inbox has been filling with press releases from every business that has a link to baby products. All of them have suggestions of what your little royal baby might be able to wear, do, be, have, try, read, swing in or poo in.  I do know what each of these businesses is doing. They are jumping on the glittering band wagon and hoping that a sale might become of their little flutter of 'being topical" for the customer. Mainly they are annoying the crap out of me.

Last night Kerri Sackville used Instagram using the hashtag #everydaybaby. Instantly my instagram timeline filled with photos of beautiful babies and smiling mummies. No #royalbaby but all just as important. There were many very cute babies in all sorts of poses. I am a joiner, so join in is what I did.

So here is me joining in:

Someone give this baby a hat! My #everydaybabyneeded a little help to arrive alive. Once again, i am a late joiner to the party.

#everydaybaby was a project that reached thousands of people, it was creative and it was fun. It wasn't selling anything, which made it even better.

Is there anything that you have seen lately that was Creative, Connected and also Delivered what you expected?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Every Picture tells a story. Sometimes cushions do too.

I have found another excellent way of keeping artwork.

Popps is a big time fan of drawing and she will often ask for a suggestion of what to draw.

A few weeks ago she asked me for another suggestion and I asked her to draw me a really special picture. I requested she draw me one of her favourite memories of being with Poppy.

I wasn't sure she actually would. Since my Dad died she has spoken of him very little and leaves the room if others mention his name.

But she sat down and 15 minutes later produced me a picture.

The drawing contains her and Poppy in his ute, the one that he would let her drive while sitting on his knee or to sit on the back when they drove around the paddock. It also includes a tree that has a hole in it where the native animals sleep and hidden in the grass are the native Australian flowers.

The flowers are very hard to see because native flowers are very hard to find. Poppy was teaching her the names of the ones on his block of land that grew in the spring time. Popps has an excellent memory and enjoys learning, the thrill of searching for a specific flower, especially rare wildflowers and learning their names was one of her favourite things.

It is also something that I never took enough notice of and I did not bother to take the time to learn the names of these flowers. There is the egg and bacon flower and the pink heath and the purple ones that are everywhere. But the tiny little wild orchids and the flowers so tiny you stand on them without knowing, the rest of us didn't soak up that knowledge.

Poppy's farm is filled with lots more, there are kangaroos and wallabies and beautiful birds. There are baby lambs or crops to run through. There is a creek that sometimes flows and a dam full of yabbies that has a little boat to float around on.

And to remind us of the happy memories and good times is this cushion.  The picture drawn that day was scanned and sent off to Charlie and Rosie. The team there got to work and produced this excellent cushion for us. It's a beautiful linen fabric and the picture is bold and clear and exactly what was sent to them.

Virginia from Charlie and Rosie has recently got her business going and asked if she could provide me a sample of what she is doing. Virginia is a Melbourne Mum working with her own Mum (how fun does their job sound!) giving her own business idea a go and I was more than happy to check out her wares and I am thrilled that we did. The only thing I had to do was scan the image and email it, the Charlie and Rosie team did everything else.

With the ability to get kids artwork on to fabric you can really find some imaginative ways to keep it.

Check out Charlie and Rosie yourself for some more ideas.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Half Way

Last night Popps ate an entire plate of wombok cabbage salad. It was as big as her head.

Being her half birthday she got to choose what we had for dinner and what cake we would have for dessert. 

We love celebrating half birthdays in the Huey house, they are fun and something to look forward to. 

Kids don't always get to make decisions, but on your half birthday in our house your gift is that you get to decide lots of things for the day. You get to decide what we have for dinner, you decide where Mum buys the cake from and you decide what we watch on TV before your bed time. You get to decide which school uniform you will wear - sports uniform when Mum wants you to wear your winter pinafore for example.

Popps requested her current favourite meal for dinner to celebrate her half birthday this year. Wombok Cabbage Salad. And that is what she got. An entire plate filled with cabbage salad.

We also had a pasta as the rest of us were not so keen to only eat wombok. 

Together the girls made special place mats to decorate the table and used the left over party supplies from their birthdays 6 months ago - including the paper plates for our dessert, an excellent choice considering I was left with the washing up.

For your half birthday, the cake is bought from the supermarket so your choice is limited but when you are seven that is still exciting and we feasted on mud cake that required me to do nothing other than slice it up. Like usual the kids ate the icing off the top and that was it.

TV before bed was Prank Patrol, the funniest show out if you are seven. 

If it's your half birthday you also get to decide if you can be bothered having a shower or not and push for a later bedtime. 

Turning 'a half' also means you are getting closer to your real birthday and you can start thinking about it, so tonight we have heard all the options that the little Misses would like to do in six months time. It will be interesting to see how many times that changes, but if history repeats, Popps will not budge from now until then and have her entire party well planned by October.

What are you celebrating this week?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Not Going to Happen

We are not actually looking to move so I rarely see what is for sale in our area. When I look online at real estate I am looking at places far far away from where we are now. Places where you can still buy big blocks, where you have no idea if your neighbours are home or not.

Looking is one thing, but the decision to move to the country is too big. I always struggle with the decision about if I really want to leave the city altogether.

Yesterday I noticed the perfect place for us in the local newspaper. JUST AROUND THE CORNER.

The house itself didn't bother me too much, but for sale is one of the last remaining super sized blocks. 3000m. This is better than gold dust.

I know we can't afford such a place, but I want it anyway.

Today was the open for inspection and we peeked through the house with a handful of others. Not as many as I expected, but enough to know that other people want it too.

We have spent the whole day wishing things were a bit different and that we had the capacity to buy this house. It is torture, because we just can't.

I don't know why we even looked through in the first place, knowing that this was likely. Perhaps we were hoping to see a ramshackle house that we hated, a street landscape that was less appealing, or too much work required. But we saw a dream house which is exactly that. A dream.

Do you look at houses that are well beyond your means?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

One Birthday, Four Cakes.

Last week I had another thirty something birthday. A birthday that was filled with cake.

I know everyone gets cake on their birthday, well maybe not all those people who quit sugar or add "clean eating" to every meal they post a picture of, but in our house we like to have cake for celebrations.

Mr H asked me what kind of cake I would like and I suggested that red velvet muffins would be perfect. They don't require tricky decoration, just baking.

He is a smart man and delegated the task to one of the best bakers we know, so at dinner on the Saturday night we had Red Velvet Cakes for dessert.

As part of my birthday gift my friend also gave me a huge big banana loaf, to be sliced and toasted for my birthday breakfast the next day. Of course I am well aware that banana loaf toast is the cheats way of really eating cake for breakfast and I am all for it, so I am happy to say, it was cake for breakkie.

My sister in law was hosting lunch for my birthday with all of Mr H's family. It was here that FiL Huey produced the dessert for lunch, my very very very favourite cake ever. His STICKY DATE PUDDING with CARAMEL sauce and DOUBLE CREAM. Caps are required here. This cake is amazing.

FiL Huey likes to tell me the recipe and discuss how the cake really isn't that difficult to make. I am not interested in this recipe, he makes it so well that I never want to try it and muck it up. The baking of this cake is like a gift to me, that someone would make it for me means a lot, and make it to such a fine standard. It's a birthday present all rolled in to my tummy.

With the kids playing so well we stayed on for tea time where an amazing flourless orange cake with home made candied orange on top was served and happy birthday sang once again. It would have been totally rude to decline a slice.

In 24 hours I had eaten cake four times and left both places with leftover cake for the next day and somethings I am not very good at sharing.

Friday, July 5, 2013

More than just a Paperback.

I read the other day that the humble paperback book is considered an endangered species. This was not really anything new except the paperback has always been my preferred choice in books.

I recently joined the Fibro Bookclub where the first book selected was Burial Rites. I knew I wouldn't get to to my bookshop for a couple of weeks so I decided to download the book and read my first proper eBook. When I say proper I mean a novel, not a how to book on how to bake seven cakes with just two ingredients*.

I used the Kobo app on my iPad to start reading. Burial Rites was well written and when I started it I was  really engaged in the story but the next day my list of paperbacks beside my bed just seemed more inviting than sitting in bed reading on a screen. When screen reading, as I moved about, the screen also scrolled vertical or horizontal when I didn't want it to and needed a flick here or there to get it back in place.

It took me a really long time to read Burial Rites. One night I headed to bed with my iPad only to find it dead flat, another night I really got into reading and managed two hours before the battery went dead. Other times the kids needed the iPad for something (possibly my sanity) and I chose a paperback from the pile instead.

At the same time, a friend lent me her paperback copy of The Rosie Project, (which happens to be book 2 of Fibro Bookclub). My favourite source of books to read is my friends. I like my friends, I like the things they do and be and read. Sharing of books is a very simple and highly underrated aspect of friendships. The sharing only occurs because of the trust that you will look after the book and secondly that you will return the book. The book share moment is a gift in many ways. It is also very economical, environmental and once you return the book you don't need to find a place for it.

The book share doesn't happen in ebooks. When I return 'Rosie' and we start chatting about our latest reads I can't hand over Burial Rites to my friend. I think Mr H would like to read it too, but I often work at night (on the iPad) when he gets a chance to read so it won't even work at home that well.

Apparently hard back books with all their weighty issues are not as endangered as the paperback. I don't get this either. I never buy a hard cover book if I can help it. They are heavy, the annoying dust jackets get ripped or fall off all the time, they take up too much space on book shelves and are certainly not handbag friendly, they also cost more to purchase.

The paperback book really does have so much going for it. Perhaps it's time for a Keep Calm and Read Paperbacks poster.

*this ebook may not exist, if it does I am sure it is really useful.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Two new things in my wardrobe.

This post is sponsored by Target

It may not be Haute Couture nor is it a uniform, but fashion that is pure comfort, that meets nothing but my most basic needs of warmth, shelter and comfiness will always be the garments I spend most of my time in.

This means I did two things recently.

I bought another puffer.

I have worn it so much already and can confirm that it does go through the dryer ok!

I would link to it on the Target shopping site but THEY ARE ALL GONE, surely this means they are in demand and I am a trend setter? (Don't answer that).


Bought another pair of jeans.

These ones to be precise. One pair had to go, jeans do become favourites for me but sometimes I just have to break up with them. Toss them to the kerb and replace them. Considering Mr H noticed I had worn them all week these are now officially my BJFs.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sovereign Hill in Pictures

Yesterday our family headed to Ballarat and joined my sister and her crew to check out Sovereign Hill. 

These school holidays Sovereign Hill is all dressed up to experience Christmas in July. They have gone to town and the best way to show it off is to stop talking and show you. 

Home made snow-dough in the Christmas craft area.

Gold Miners!

Lollies - made on site.
My favourites will always be raspberry drops. Of course I came home with a bag full of them.

Coach rides. There was also much patting of horses through out the place. 
Ten pin bowling without a machine in sight.

The best place for a hot pie on a winter day.

Christmas in July needs snow.

This stuff was great - just mix flour and shaving cream and you get fake play snow. 

Remember to look up, lots of the pretty is hanging above you.

I couldn't get a photo of the Red Hill mine tour however it is well worth a mention. It was certainly a highlight of the day for me and one thing I would suggest you don't miss out on seeing.

The Christmas in July theme is running for the school holidays and is well worth adding to the list of things to see. 

Disclaimer: Thank you to Sovereign Hill for sending us a family pass. All other expenses we covered ourselves. I was under no obligation to blog about Sovereign Hill but I like to share the good stuff we find.