Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 13 of My Family and Me

We have hit the three month mark so it's a good time to take a breath and see where we are at with my challenge.

As the year began I noticed that both Mr H and I were in too few photos on both of our phones. If we were to print up the last 7 years of our lives into a photo album it would be like we didn't exist. The challenge to ourselves was to get more images every week, mainly one. Just one image per week that included one of us, or both, with the kids. 

No rules at all, just an image that reflects we are THERE! 

We started off pretty well.

Then got more creative. There were exciting times happening, a first day of school, holidays, a new cafe opened near us and Mr H ate a breakfast bigger than his entire torso.

Some images didn't make it on to the blog, but they still make it into our albums.

Look carefully at the shop mannequin in the middle.

I like to call this following image Clairey's Cowch, it is just as comfy as it looks. Usually we wouldn't have bothered to get this image, it was only that I was thinking I needed one for my challenge that made Mr H take it.

This week I am throwing in a picture of the girls with their Granny, and I am also going to make a bigger effort to get some more images with all of their grandparents. Do your kids have many photos with their grandparents? 

Grandma did some baking with the girls this week, it's her thing, she isn't into playing games or toys, she cooks, it seemed like a bit of fun, and best of all, there are smiles all round. 

I am adding the linky in again - sorry I have been a bit slack putting it in, if you haven't joined in yet, maybe you can try for a photo just once a quarter with your family - that would be four photos a year. This week is a great time to start.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Juice Detox

This week I took on the challenge of doing a juice detox.

Just because. Because I wanted to see how I would feel at the end of it. I wanted to see if I could do it. I wanted to see if removing certain things from my diet would help with the rather cranky skin that I have right now. I also wanted a bit of a kick start into some healthier eating habits after recently falling into some bad ones.

I didn’t do it to lose weight and didn’t weigh myself, but there has certainly been a reduction in my waistline. I know this because my work pants fit properly with a shirt tucked in, rather than a shirt hanging out to hide the feral muffin top. Anyone else ever have that?

Things I thought beforehand
  1. I am a strong person and will not be beaten by hunger
  2. It’s only three days, I can do anything for three days
  3. I don’t like green juice, I hope there isn’t too much green.
  4. I also don’t like beetroot juice, I hope there isn’t too much of that.
  5. I will rest and relax and laze in the bath while my body restores itself to a new me.
  6. I hope it will kick start me into making better choices with what I put in my mouth.

Things that happened.

I was never actually hungry.

On Day 1
I consumed every bit of my juice, that is 3.6 litres of juice, or quite a lot of fruit and veg (6 kgs worth). While I wasn’t physically hungry, my mind kept telling me that it was time to eat, that everyone else was enjoying a meal and I was silly not to join them.

In the end I took a shower while the household ate dinner. I had cooked it, and it was a delicious beef casserole, not that I tasted it, but it smelt so good. Mentally I found it difficult not to eat it. At this stage I was also starting to doubt myself. Another two days seemed like a really long time. There was a part of my brain saying things like “a little bit won’t hurt” and “who would even know”.

I went to bed, second guessing why I was doing this stupid detox.

But, it is only three days. You can do anything that causes discomfort for three days. 

Day 2

When I woke, my first thought was, I need to drink juice again. I don’t really feel like juice.

But once I got the kids organised and had the convenience of just drinking a juice that had been freshly made and delivered to my door, I was more than happy to have juice again. It is all made so easy for you.

It would also seem I am quite fond of green juice, but the juice with the parsley in it was my least favourite.

I am also happy to report that beetroot juice is better than it sounds. 

At the end of Day 2 I was still not feeling hungry I had not even been able to consume the full amount of juice provided. Day 2 was pretty easy.

Day 3 

I did not rest and relax, as per the suggestions from Schkinny Maninny and by Day 3 when I was at work running around I was starting to feel a bit funny. It was a weird feeling, I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t feel like eating, but I also felt very tired. When I got home later that day I ended up eating a handful of grapes while I sat down for awhile, this got me back to feeling ok. Schkinny Maninny recommend that you eat a small amount of fresh fruit or vegies if you are feeling really hungry. 

Considering I had heaps of juice that I was yet to consume I really should have drunk that, I am not sure why I didn’t, possibly my body was just exhausted, it was now Wednesday arvo and the last time I had eaten real food was Sunday night. But a few grapes got me through.

I never got to take the bath.

This is all the juice I had left over at the end, which I drank on Day 4.

Life is busy and juice detox or not, there are kids to feed, wash and dress and get to swimming lessons and dance classes, plus there are work commitments that need to be met. I don’t have the luxury of just sitting around watching tv for three days, drinking juice. 

As the night went on, I was feeling good!

What else?:
By Day 3 I was consuming a lot less. I never finished any of the 600ml bottles on day 3, I just wasn’t that hungry. I kept them all in the fridge and was able to stretch this detox to a fourth day, by simply adding in a salad for lunch on day 4 and a very small dinner meal.  On Day 5 I woke thinking about what I could eat. I wanted everything, but at the same time I didn’t want anything that was going to ruin the feeling that I had.

I felt fantastic. 

It’s hard to explain. My skin has remained acne free for the week (this is a big deal to me) I have slept really well, I feel positive of mind and overall, I just kind of feel happier. I think this sounds a little hippy la la ish, but by feeling good on the inside, it seems to have affected my mental health more than I considered possible.

What didn’t I like:
Juice is sweet, there is a time that comes each day where your mouth feels grubby. Schkinny Maninny describes this as ‘gutter mouth’ it’s pretty much your body getting rid of toxins. I found that a peppermint tea helped. 

I also think I would like to try the juice and soup combo that Schkinny Maninny offers, just as a way to not have so much sweet juice. And, I really like soup – I could trick myself into thinking it was a meal.

Last notes: I loved the savvy marketing. The detox was made as easy as possible to complete. Delivered to my door each morning,  they had considered everything I might need to know and were regularly in touch, with post cards in my esky of juices and emails each morning, they also included a golden comment that businesses everywhere could learn from – they said they are not perfect, that they are still working to make the product better and to do that, they welcome your feedback, whatever it is. A business that listens with open ears to what the target audience wants will go far. 

Would I recommend a juicy detox? Yes. I would suggest you try and schedule it in when you have fewer commitments if you can, but either way, you will find the customer service, the juice product and all instructions of a pretty high standard. If a detox is something you have been considering,  Schkinny Maninny is worth a look.

Schkinny Maninny is in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Feel free to ask any questions regarding the detox, I will answer if I can.

Sckinny Maninny provided me with the juice to review, I was under no obligation to write a blog post on the juice, however there was so much interest from my instagram and facebook that I am sharing what I thought.  I was not paid to write this review.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 12: Cubby demolition

We had a cubby in the back yard, it was what every kid needs and wants, a place to hang out and do whatever they wanted to do.

Which means in the last two years it has hardly been used.

There were a few times when the girls headed in there with their friends but most days they played around it, not in it.

They were warned that if it wasn't used, it would go.

So down it came.

They instantly decided to use it as a stage and wanted to use it for concerts. Ideally they wanted to keep the base for good.

But we had better plans.

The space has been taken back and we are preparing it for some veggie growing this winter.

We finished the weekend with the weekly task of brushing Immy's hair until there were no knots. This is not much fun for anyone, we are yet to find a conditioner or detangler that helps, but the brushing must be done, at least once a week.

And that is #MyFamilyandMe for this week.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

On our bookshelf: March 2014

Not every one loves books as much as me, I know this because my book review posts are never big hits. But the thing is, I really like talking about books and there are always one or two that stand out every few weeks that I want to talk more about. This month it's these three, so for the 7 people each month who might read my book posts...this is for you.

This month:

Me:  The Paris Wife.

The Paris Wife is all about the first wife of Ernst Hemingway. It's written in her voice, but not by her. Initially I didn't like it, I had to work hard for the first 50 pages, but once I was reading it I found it pretty good. There were times that I wanted to stop reading this and go grab some Ernst Hemingway books instead and then others when I didn't want anything to do with this weird and selfish man.

It annoyed me that the couple are considered poor in financial wealth. They rent out dingy low level homes but also spend many months travelling around Europe whenever they feel like it, they have a nanny for their child and the Paris Wife never actually gets a job, her trust funds, while basic apparently, cover all these things. But this was simply a fact of how they lived, rather than a dislike of the book. Hadley (the wife) can be hard to like, I needed to really put myself in her time era to accept the decisions she makes in her life. It's a love story, but there are times when that love is hard to find.

If you like Paris, if you like history, if you like historical romance, than this book is worth it.

Junior Primary School Kids

Weirdo by Anh Do

I had this book in my present cupboard, hiding out til I needed it. One night Popps needed something to read, and it had to be read aloud for her homework. I surprised her with this book and she started reading it to Mr H. They were soon laughing so much that I didn't think they would finish the book. It's full of drawings, funny moments, toilet humour and laugh out loud moments.

The text is simple enough and engaging enough for early reluctant readers. Perfect for both boys and girls who like to be entertained while they read. Older more capable readers will finish this quickly but will enjoy it too, while older kids who are struggling a bit with reading skills will be able to complete this one and enjoy being able to read to themselves.

Picture Book of the Month. 

Keep Out by Noela Young

Popps came home with this book in her reader bag. As soon as I saw it I remembered loving it. I never had this book as a child but I must have borrowed it often from the library as I clearly remember reading it many many times.

Keep Out! is the story of a group of city kids that have no where to play. They try and play in the streets but the grown ups keep moving them on. They find an abanonded block and take over it, they play in the falling down kitchen and use rubble to build whatever they want.

Local Council come along soon enough and plan to 'clean up' the area, but the kids get their way and the council make it the best park ever. As a kid I remember thinking I would love to find this park.

I went on to Amazon to see if I could get us a copy after not being able to grab one locally. Guess how much it was. You'll never guess - $845. I decided that it was best left in the online shop at that rate. I've been keeping an eye on ebay, but let me know if you have a copy to sell.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The thing about Frozen

In case you hadn't heard, in the Huey household, we LOVE Frozen.

After seeing the movie in the Christmas holidays we downloaded the soundtrack and it was on repeat for weeks. 

We saw the movie a couple more times and then last week I took the girls to the Sing-along Version of the movie. 

What's not to love? Immy got her favourite seat in the cinema (second front row) and was able to sing along with all the songs, even though she can't read the words on the screen. 

Immy has me all organised to do the duets with her and has her ipad set so that she can watch Elsa and Anna on YouTube at any time. 

She wants hair like Queen Elsa, and a lacy cape to swish. 

The thing is, we have never been so caught up in a movie. For years, I have watched little kids be obsessed with Buzz Lightyear. The movie Cars ended up plastered over everything you could possibly think of for years and even though my kids enjoyed most of these movies (except Brave, still haven't watched that again) they never got so caught up in the story lines or obsessed with characters. 

They never played games imagining they were the characters from a movie nor did they want to dress up as these characters or request toys from movies.

But they love Frozen, Immy most of all. Or maybe it is me most of all. 

There is just so much to enjoy with this film. Olaf the snowman is just a delightfully funny character, one that you can't help to want to see more of. The relationship between sisters Anna and Elsa, while very Disney, is still a very sisterly relationship. The stone people, the trolls, are hilarious, I could have watched them for longer.

Even the 10 seconds in this clip are funny.

In the end of the movie we are reminded that true love is not waiting for a man to sweep you off your feet. It's your sister. Your sibling who loves you so much that she will risk her life for you, this is the act of true love. The concept of love at first sight...that is something to mock, you can't love someone when you don't even know their last name.

The animation is brilliant. The songs are catchy but even after having to listen to them 7654 times this summer, it's been ok.  

If you need to be a Princess than being Elsa or Anna ain't such a bad thing. You can ride a horse and climb mountains, fight off a pack of wolves and create magical snowmen. You can also sing. Man, can you sing. 

While I admit I haven't looked too hard, I am yet to see a gazillion products, clothing, toys and equipment covered in the Frozen branding, I can certainly see why some kids will be pestering their parents to get them stuff. 

And when I saw this outfit whipped up by a talented lady on Instagram for her daughter, it was just moments before I whipped off an email to her to order Immy her very own Elsa apron. 

Long Live the Queen. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Week 11: Fresh Air

Our weekend was filled with fresh air.

There was Sunday Roast and moments of gardening.

I challenged Popps to a sprint race to show her how fast I was. My legs have reminded me that there are muscles in them which need more use.

Mr H needed to smooth out some ground and in the absence of heavy equipment to do it for us, he put together a makeshift tool.

It required a bit of extra weight to make it really work properly.

It was filthy dirty work and really really fun.

Maybe not for Mr H who had to do all the dragging.

It was even better when there was extra weight.

Then it came to a sudden end when the Draught Horse Mr H ran out of puff.

Then, for the first time in a really long time,  it rained and everyone was clean again.

This is Week 11 in my personal challenge for the year of getting more photos of us with the kids. 

If you are joining in, add a link in the comments or use the hashtag #MyfamilyandMe

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

THANK YOU! No thank you.

I have been a crazy blogging lady for a few years now. Just tapping away doing my thing. I have blogged super good times and the worst of times and along the way I get many benefits. Super dooper friends, connections with the oddest of places, lovely gifts in the mail, the option to give away nifty prizes.

My grandma turns 90 soon and her eyes are not so good these last few months, she told me recently that she really misses reading my blog, and keeping up with what I am doing.

That’s what blogs are for, for telling your stories to people who want to read them. Actually, that needs a correction, that’s the benefit that I personally get from blogging. 

For the last few years I was lucky enough to be included in the Kidspot Top 50 blogs competition.  Nominated by readers, voted by readers.  It was really good for my stats. Kidspot is a huge, HUGE, website and when they include links to my blog I get lots of people clicking through. Brands clearly scroll through that list and decide to take the easy way out and just use the list as the blogs they will contact. The first year I was on the Kidspot Top 50 list I got so many emails I could barely keep up with replying. It was wonderful.

But last year, I didn’t really enjoy the competition so much. I didn’t feel like joining in all the writing competitions. There were so many nominations, extra categories, different prizes for different genres. There were master classes and functions to attend, goodie bags and special facebook groups to join. But I just didn’t feel that I ‘fit’ the competition. This was not about Kidspot, it was all about me. I just didn’t want to strive to win it. From the beginning I felt like a bit of a fraud. Kept waiting for the email to say, opps, sorry, wrong blogger. 

I received an email today telling me I have been nominated for the Kidspot Voices of 2014.

When you get that email it is kind of like when you are in school and you get picked first on a team. On the inside, you scream out a big fat YES! 

Getting the nomination email and knowing that someone else nominated you is a good feeling. It’s a bit addictive. Makes you forget all those moments last year when you thought you didn’t ‘fit’ this competition anymore.

But the truth is, I am not a fit for the Kidspot Voices of 2014 competition.

So this year, I would like to give the biggest of hugs and kisses and THANK YOUs to whoever nominated me. But in fairness to all, I will politely say no thank you.

To all those nominated, Good Luck! Enjoy the ride, the opportunities and the fun that comes with being a part of Voices 2014.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 10. Late, not late.

This #MyfamilyandMe post is a day late, but it's not really late because we have a long weekend and that means tonight endth our weekend.

The weather treated us to golden days and warm nights that are just splendid and we have not wasted a minute of our time.

Our roses are of the super dooper beautiful smelling kind and they are gorgeous right now. Popps and I got playing with the camera as she tried to make her hand in to a vase. Another little instant captured forever.

Link up in the comments if you like or use the hashtag #MyFamilyandMe

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Amelia Indigo

One of my bridesmaids when I got married was Lizzy. We first met when we got thrown together at university to live together in a bungalow. Our ‘bungy’ was a left over from the soldier settlements from World War II. How we loved that manky place. That was over 20 years ago. I can’t even believe that statement.

As you can imagine a lot can happen in 20 years. Weddings, international travel, babies, study, jobs, deaths, parties and celebrations.

This year Lizzy is celebrating the birth of her new little niece, the super gorgeous Amelia Indigo. But Amelia’s birth did not go to plan. Her birth ended up being an extremely traumatic event for her Mum, her Dad and especially for little Amelia.

On Christmas Eve, the soon to be first time parents Roger and Natalie were booked in for a c section, while both Mum and bub were doing really well, Natalie had been diagnosed with having a low lying placenta. They exchanged Christmas presents early, so excited to be meeting and sharing Christmas with their new baby the next day.

When they arrived at the hospital they were told there would be a delay and during this time they had another scan to see how the baby was.  The scan showed that Natalie’s placenta had moved and the hospital indicated that a Caesarean section was no longer required.

Natalie went into labour on 7 January and after a very active labour, she was nearly fully dilated when all of a sudden she lost consciousness and suffered a placental abruption. This caused Natalie to immediately start losing a significant amount of blood. With Amelia still to be born, extensive medical intervention was required to save both Natalie and Amelia.

Amelia Sefton
Roger was now alternating visits between the Adult ICU to see his wife and Neonatal ICU to see Amelia. As he walked the hospital corridors, doctors discussed with him that he might not end up taking either Natalie or Amelia home with him.

For her first 72 hours Amelia was treated with a body cooling blanket designed to slow the swelling of her brain, swelling that was caused by the events of her birth, and limit any further damage to her little body.

Amelia Sefton first cuddle with mum

Amelia didn't get to meet her Mummy until she was a week old. She was not cuddled until she was 17 days old. She has now been diagnosed with Grade 3 HIE (Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy) – with damage to her brain. 

Amelia Sefton
On the 13th February 2014 Roger was able to take both his girls home in what was an emotional homecoming for the three of them.

It’s a tough road ahead for them. Amelia is now going to need years of ongoing specialised therapy to help her. 

Early invention is vital and the age of 0 to 2 years is the primary window to undertake intensive therapy, this is when the brain grows the most.

The most effective therapies are not all available as standard treatment so they are very expensive. The therapies also take up lots of time and commitment which means time off work for Roger and Natalie.

With Roger, Natalie and Amelia currently in London, Lizzy and her family, and close friends of Roger and Natalie are feeling so far away, often with that sense of feeling hopeless, unable to provide much help for Amelia’s long list of growing needs.

Amelia Sefton

So they are doing the best they can to assist with raising money to help ensure Amelia gets access to the treatments and therapies that will ensure she will reach her full potential.

Along with a local Trivia night and collecting donations for raffles, Amelia has a fundraising page.

Lizzy says “We will be eternally grateful if you could donate $5, $10 whatever amount you can spare to help provide the life changing therapies and treatment needed by Amelia.”

“We would also welcome positive thoughts and prayers for the future journey that lies ahead. And with that, we all thank you, from the bottom of our hearts for reading Amelia’s story and to anyone who can donate or help raise money for our little star – Amelia Indigo”

Please support Amelia by donating to my online Fundraising Page.

Donations are immediately receipted but are not tax deductible

Amelia Sefton

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Week Nine: Park

Each week for the year I am making an effort to get photos of me and my family. This week we found a new park, the rest of the community is still to realise it's there. We will be sneaking down to it while the longer days still allow us the time after school.

If you are taking part in My Family and Me, just leave a link in the comments - either to your blog or your instagram account if you prefer.