Friday, 30 September 2011

I'm Grateful for Little Helpers

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This week I am over at the lovely Lemon Rhodes for the I'm Grateful Link Up.

I am grateful for a little help around the house every now and then, especially when the help is from someone as cute as this little guy.

In our house we follow the "Happy Wife - Happy Life" philosophy. Flynn is a SNAG in training and hopefully one day some lucky girl will appreciate all our hard work :)




The Book Club - with everything but the books!

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I am devastated, truly shattered...... 

I should clarify that all is actually OK and no one in the family has broken bones or lost a limb or anything of the sort (touch wood). I just have a stinking headache and am absolutely knackered so I have had to pull out of Book Club Tonight. I KNOWWWW I told you it was a tragedy!

The thing is the 'Book Club' I belong to is not your usual run of the mill kind of book club. There is something undeniably different about our club - There are absolutely no books involved. What the? Please, let me explain..

I am incredibly lucky to have some fabulous neighbours where I live. Some live next door, two doors down, across the road and up the street. We are all different ages, have different professions and different personalities, but we have one very common thread - we are all mums and we need a drink or 3 from time to time.

I'm not really sure who came up with the fabulous idea of forming a book club, but I can remember us all standing in the street nodding our heads excitedly congratulating each other for coming up with such an utterly brilliant and cunning way of getting a Friday night out once a month. This was a mature and intellectual gathering of minds we were planning, not a wild hens party, so the idea did not attract any objections from our spouses. For those of us who have little ones, our hubbies were more than happy to be on Daddy Duty and grant us a night of freedom. A couple of emails and a few driveway discussions later, and the date for the first book club night was set.

At no stage of the planning do I recall any of us actually suggesting or recommending a book to read. The main details that were discussed were, whose house we would be meeting at first, what food we would be snacking on and who would be drinking what.

From memory, I believe the first book club night was held at my house. I excitedly fussed around preparing for my guests that night. I whipped together a tasty selection of hot and cold treats, lit some candles and put on some casual background tunes. As I popped the cork on the Champas, admired my handy work and eagerly anticipated the sound of the door bell, I realised that we were having a book club gathering, but we had no books. I hastily dug out a selection of my boys much loved Mr Men books and laid them out on the coffee table between the spinach & feta triangles and the salmon blinis. It wasn't Charles Dickens, but heck it would do.

My fellow literacy lovers arrived and we set about having ourselves a hell of a good night. We gossipped, we drank, we ate, we laughed and we had a fabulous time. Apart from the brief mention of the Mr Men books as we pushed them aside to make room for another bottle of plonk, no one noticed that the guest of honour in this book club charade was MIA - the book.

That night was the first of many a great Book Club nights and we have grown in numbers since our original gathering. But the tradition now stands, and on a Friday night once a month (or close enough) our quiet street comes alive at 5 minutes to 7. For it is at this time, one by one we exit our front doors clutching our tipple of choice and join the gaggle of giggling as make our way up, down or across the street to the home of this months 'Book Club' hostess. And whilst we discuss many a subject on these hilarious nights, books to this day are never on the agenda.

* Special Note to my Book Club Buddies: Sorry I can't be there tonight girls, but have a drink or 3 for me and see you next month! xxxx

Thursday, 29 September 2011

When you Gotta Go - you Gotta go

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Timing is everything in this household, mainly because I hate being late for anything. But there is one umm task activity basic human function that refuses to follow any scheduling etiquette. Yep you know what I am talking about - 'Dropping the kids off at the pool', 'Bombing the porcelain sea' 'An appointment with Dr John'. What ever you like to call it, like my children, it never comes when its called. No sirree, it follows it's own schedule of impeccable timing, and has a terrible habit of turning up, just as you are about to walk out the door.

I am sure you are familiar with this frustration. You are standing at the door, handbag on the shoulder, keys in hand and kids wrangled, when one of them says - "Mum I just have to go to the toilet".

Eyeing your watch you reply "ones or twos?". You know the answer is inevitably going to be 'twos'.

Five minutes later, you find yourself screaming "Hurry Up we have to go"! But this type of guest has no manners when it comes to time.

I can hear my son singing away as he patiently sits on the throne, waiting for 'the main event' to enter the arena.

I am getting really frustrated now .... "PLEASE do it quickly" I find myself shouting. Like it is really going to make a difference, this particular guest doesn't care if you have beautiful manners and say please and thank you. It shows up when it is good and damn ready.

Every time I find myself shouting at the kids to hurry up during this type of event, I inwardly cringe. I know how frustrating it is yourself when you are in a massive rush and the pressure to perform can leave you with a huge case of stage fright. The stress can bubble up inside you as the kids bang on the bathroom door shouting at you to let them in, and the panic can be enough to scare the little bugger away, just for a minute.....ooops nope back again. And so the game continues.

Why am I writing about something as gross and personal as this. Because I know you can relate.I know you have been sitting there nodding your head as you read my words. This untimely guest is no stranger to your house either.

And besides what else can I do while I am sitting here, waiting for one of my boys to greet his guest so we can get the hell out of here and start this day.

xx Sonia


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Singing them Blues

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Today I am linking up with My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday.

I so heart this photos of my middle son Sammy with his beloved pet pooch Max.
These guys just love hanging out together singing the blues.



Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Strangest Things...

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I tend to go a little loopy sometimes, especially if I am tired after a long day.

Today just happens to be one of those days. 

So to celebrate my loopiness in all it's glory, I thought I would share with you a special trick I discovered I can do with my lips.

It's such a talent to be proud of don't you think! :)




                                         

Why did I feel compelled to share this? I have no idea really!

xxx Sonia

I am linking todays photos up to My Mummy Daze's 52 Week Project - just 32 weeks late :)


Organic Wine - Thank you all Mighty Grape Gods!!!

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{image from Photobucket}

I so enjoy a good whine wine, but since one of my sons and I were diagnosed with a mammal protein allergy a few months ago, I have not been able to drink it. :( I know get the violins out. It actually was very traumatic time (for me, not my son). Actually come to think of it, it probably was kind of traumatic for all my sons and my hubby too for that matter, as a woman without wine equals ... ummm... a cranky woman in my case!

You may be wondering if she is allergic to mammals why can't she drink wine? Well a mammal protein allergy means we have an anaphylactic response any time we eat anything that comes from a mammal, so that includes all meat and dairy. yeah so what does that have to do with wine? Well apparently the majority of wines use milk in the preserving methods. Crazy huh? Milk and wine what a revolting mix!

Well it is not a large enough amount of milk for you to notice or taste, but it is enough to swell my face up like a moon and cause my throat to close up. Now I know that too much wine for me is not a good look anyway, but a drunk suffocating balloon head, is an even uglier scenario.

If it wasn't bad enough that this flesh loving gal was forced to turn vegan and can no longer chow down on a nice juicy steak anymore, they had to go and take wine away from me too. Cue the violins again please Mr Music.

Thankfully my old faithful friend Vodka stuck by my side. And I have to say I feel rather sophisticated sipping on my Vodka & Cranberry or Vodka & Soda out of a martini glass (very Carrie Bradshaw). But the sophistication kind of goes out the window when I rock up to a byo restaurant clutching a whole bottle of vodka.

Imagine my utter joy when a kind Cellar man enlightened me to Organic Vegan friendly wine.

Hallelujah!!!


Here is a link to a website called Australian Organic Directory. This wonderful organisation
offer the most comprehensive organic directory of organic products and organic services, covering organic food, organic beverages, organic skin care and organic hair care products, organic baby products and organic products for children, products for an organic home and organic garden, organic pet products and organic clothing for the family.

Of the most importance for me is their extensive list of organic wines. You can ring the cellars and find out where they are stocked. A little hint, don't bother with the mainstream liquor stores, as they only range one or two bottles of organic plonk , if you're lucky. It is the smaller boutique type stores or online wine merchants that usually offer you the best selection. Though it is worth ringing the wineries as some will deliver direct to your door.

My Fave? Tamburlaine Sauvignon Blanc from Orange, Mudgee & The Hunter Valley. It costs a bit more than your good old clean skins, but it is soooo worth it.


The added bonus is that without the preservatives, you don't get a hangover. Ahh this Veggie Mamma once again has a smile on her dial and wine in her glass. Life is good!

Salute!

xxx Sonia


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Schools Out - Bring it on!

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I love School holidays. Really I do! No I am not insane, nor have I been brainwashed by a commune of free loving hippies who believe schools are jails for our children. Seriously what's not to love about the break from the monotonous school day routine?

Still not convinced? 

Well fear not my friends! I do know where you are coming from, because I too used to view school holidays as some kind of parental torture designed to make us be forever grateful and indebted to the patient men and woman who relieve us of our children for 5 hours a day.

I used to face the holidays with dread and trepidation. The mere thought of having to entertain the little munchkins all day for seven days of the week was enough to cause me to break out in a cold sweat and retreat to the safety of a locked bathroom. But after experiencing them for a few years, I gradually became more comfortable with the idea. Then one day something magically transformed within my psyche .........

I discovered Vodka is ALWAYS on special during the school holiday period!!

No I am just joking, but someone should have a word to Mr D Murphy about that idea.

The truth is, faced with another 2 long weeks with the kidlets I decided to write a list about the positives of the holidays. Suddenly the sun came out and a little bird landed on my shoulder and the forest animals all gathered at my feet to sing. Ok that's a little over the top, but miracuously I no longer feared my children and the time alone with them that stretched in front of me under the guise of school holidays.

If you are wondering what could possibly have been on my list to change the mind of a woman who was seriously allergic to the holidays - well for the bargain price of $29.99 I am willing to share the secret with you. Bahaha. Nope in the goodwill of the sisterhood, I am going to share the top 5 positives from my list with you.
1. NO Homework
What's not to love about that. Homework in our house is so far from the picture of domestic bliss I always imagined in the early years of parenting. The reality is it is one step away from being the number one in my Top 5 DISLIKES of parenting. One day I will share that list with you too.
Homework can turn a fantastic afternoon into utter anarchy. My angels turn from sweet loving little boys to snarling, snappy fiends. I myself turn into a nagging desperate woman as I plead with them to PLEASE finish your spelling words and make a start on your maths. In moments of sheer desperation I have been known to concede defeat and resort to using my best scribbly hand writing to finish off their work for them. Not often, but shamefully more times than I can count on one hand.

2. NO Ironing of Uniforms
For a woman who has a serious phobia about irons, the Sunday night chore of ironing the uniforms is almost enough to have me committed. For all our others clothes, I have managed to pretty well build a wardrobe for each of us, that consists of clothes that do not need to go a round with an ironing board to look respectable. Why does somebody not come up with a micro fibre uniform for our kid's school? mmm mental note for the next P&F meeting.

3. NO Lunch Box Arguments
Everyday my children each want something different on their sandwiches. One wants Devon and Sauce, one wants Salmon and Tofutti and the other demands Turkey, Cream Cheese and Quince Paste. What the??? What happened to good old Vegemite? So every night tired and longing for the comfort of my bed and trashy reality TV, I patiently whip up a couple of gourmet sandwich delights. I wont even go into the tears I shed when I find the same said sandwiches, hot, squashed and completely unsalvagable, come home in their lunch boxes from school the next day because they were too busy to finish their lunch. Arghhhhh!

4. NO Bedtime Rush.
Ok I am the first one to admit that I am guilty of allowing my children to stay up well past their bed times in school holidays. But the peace and quiet my hubby and I get to enjoy when we can send them off to bed to watch a movie is ohhhh pure unadulterated bliss! And the bonus reward for letting them stay up later than usual? They sleep in later than usual. Enough said!

5. NO Morning Mayhem
Now truthfully, my hubby is more happy about this one than me, as I am not a morning person. And every male in our house (which is pretty much everyone in our house except for me and a female of the canine variety) knows that EVERY ONE will have a much better day if Mummy is woken gently. So it is my poor hubby who is faced with the task of dragging one cranky tween and an equally cranky 6 year old out of their beds every morning. Our 4 year old is up at sparrows fart anyway so he happily joins in the morning wake up drill, in fact nothing makes him happier than being granted the opportunity to partake in the early morning torture waking of his brothers.
Once the boys are up - the true chaos begins. Making beds, preparing 3 different breakfasts, brushing teeth, getting dressed, finding shoes, feeding dogs and getting out of the front door in a race against the school bell. Phew I am exhausted just writing it. 

It is about now that I should mention, that besides the break from the monotony of our normal weekday routine, I have also discovered the joy in spending time to really connect with my munchkins again. Time that is untouched by all these stresses that come with life when they are at School & Kindy. 

These days, I book my time off work well in advance so that we can indulge in the picnics, the hilarious kids movies, the play dates and the good old fashioned fun of just hanging out together having a good time - kid style!

Happy Holidays
xxx Sonia

Saturday, 24 September 2011

I'm Grateful - That my Children Care about Others

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Today I am linking up for the first time with the gorgeous I'm Grateful for Link Ups from the beautiful blog Maxabella Loves. This week's link up is being hosted by Lioness Lady



Every day I am reminded just how grateful I am that my children truly care about others. This includes people they know and people who they have never met but have seen from a distance on tv or in the street. 

As we rush about our day, it is easy to let the small gestures they make, go unoticed. You know the things they do like helping a friend who has fallen over, helping someone in the shops who has dropped something, asking questions and worrying about people they see on the news.

Today I watched as my 4 year old son Flynn put his 'lucky' dollar coin in the bucket of a violinest outside our shopping centre. When I asked him why he did that, he said it was because the man looked sad. 

My middle son Sam (6) has a beautiful heart. He quietly asks me many times a day "are you ok Mum?", and he doesn't just go through the motions of asking - he genuinely cares whether I am ok or not.

Kai (10) my oldest, is one of the kindest kids I know. He is always sticking up for the underdog and looking out for people at school who may be in need of a little extra support or friendship.

As I was sorting through some photos today from a holiday we went on earlier this year, I found this photo of one of my little guys at a small shell village that sold jewellery and hand made gifts. Sam decided he would give them a hand by selling some coconuts and beach junk he found. 

Sadly he didn't get any sales that day, but I got something that money cannot buy - a child with a beautiful soul.

xxx Sonia



Friday, 23 September 2011

Life IS better with Friends

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Last night I had the most fantastic night out to dinner with some of THE MOST FABULOUS girlies I know. 

Every day I thank my boys for this gift they gave me - their friend's mums.

Now don't get me wrong, I still cherish with all my heart all my gorgeous friends I had and still have before my munchkins came along. But I was lucky enough that through my kids, I met a some really awesome woman that are now amongst my very bestest friends. And whilst we don't have that history that you have with friends you have known forever, these special friends help to paint your future. 

The friendship with these beautiful woman is based upon support and understanding. 
Our kids are the same age and share the same interests. We work together volunteering at school, we sit on the sidelines of sports games together, we share pick ups and drop offs, we laugh and cry together and usually we are going through the same hormonal age specific issues with our kids around the same time. So through all of this - we just 'GET' each other.

Last night I was super keen to get out that front door. The kids were cranky and tired with that end of school term weariness that just possesses them. Hubby was harassed and exhausted after a long day at work. Before I could let the guilt at leaving them all in this state get the better of me and have second thoughts about heading out, I pretended I could hear the car of one of my friends arrive out the front to pick me up. 

I know I know "Liar Liar pants are on Fire", but I just so didn't want to start my night out on a stressy note (I don't know that there is such a word as 'stressy' but meh!). So I sat out the front in my garden, clutching my treasured bottle of Organic wine and enjoyed the quietness of the night all to myself for just a moment. 
Ok it was more like 10 minutes than a moment, but who is really counting apart from my conscience?

My girlfriends arrived to get me and so the night of eating, drinking and endless laughing began.

Life IS truly better with friends.
xxx Sonia


I escaped to the front garden 10 minutes before pickup - excited much?
Me & and the gorgeous Marisa


Beautiful Vera & Virginia - these girls have the most fabulous smiles

Mandy & Lucy - These lovely ladies seriously crack me up!


Me again, Cath & Vera


hmmmm me thinks they're up to trouble


Me and the hilarious Cath, giving some loving to our Coping Cordial


Liz, Marisa, me and Mandy - it so took us ages to get a photo where all our eyes were open


Come on Vera - do you really think you are invisible when you put on your magic napkin?

Free Monthly Calendar Download

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I have way too much going on in my head, so I need to write it all down - in as many places as possible. I have lists of things I have to do, lists of things I want to do, lists of projects, shopping lists, work lists - I even have a list to remind where I put all my lists.

The one thing I so cannot function without is a calendar. I desperately rely on it to remind me where we are supposed to be each day or who's got what on.

Even though there is only a couple of months to go, I thought I would share my calendar template with you. I made it to match my Weekly Dinner Planner so that whilst they are functional, they look nice too.





Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Finding The ommmmmm in Mom - Take the Challenge

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OK OK I am not American, but ommmmmm as in Mom, looked better than ommmmmm as in Mum. LOL anyway that's just my theory behind my thinking.

As parents, how hard is it in any given day to just take some time out for yourself to relax? It's too bloody hard if you ask me between work, family kids, school, life!! And I must add that I am blessed with a wonderfully supportive hubby who does more than his fair share of things. But the reality is, we really dedicate such little time to ourselves. So I have challenged myself (and before you think I am completely selfish, my hubby has been instructed to do this for himself too) to come up with my Top 10 Favourite ways I can relax and for the next month I am going to focus on doing at least one thing every week just for me. (online shopping not included of course ;)

Sound good? Well I encourage you all to make your own lists and join me in the Ommmmmm Mom Challenge.



My Ommmmmm List

1. Coffee, lunch or even better dinner with my favourite girlies.
*Please note hubby - 3 coffee dates = 1 dinner. :)
2. A nice hot bath with candles and a good book or mag and NO KIDS allowed!!
3. A walk on the beach with my trusty old ipod / iphone.
4. Unadulterated retail therapy at an actual shopping centre not a virtual one.
5. Lying next to the pool with a glass of my fave organic wine and housie mags.
6. An evening with my hubby with no electrical appliances to disturb us.
*Note - battery operated ones are permitted. LMAO
7. One hour of interrupted time to do a painting or finish a non business related artwork.
8. Get a manicure or if time permits a facial or massage too.
9. Meditate with some candles burning, cooling eye mask and a relaxation CD quietly playing in the background. (I have never actually tried this but it sounds fabulous).
10. Sit in one of my favourite cafes by myself with a great book and steady flow of coffee.

hmmmm sounds divine doesn't it? So what are you waiting for? Get cracking with your lists and share them if possible as you may come up with something that sounds marvellously irresistible to someone else too, and after all - sharing is caring!

Peace Out xxx Ommmmmm



Tuesday, 20 September 2011

MUMMMMMM he's breathing all my air again!

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Ahhh *sigh* I can so clearly hear my mother saying to me many many moons ago "you'll get yours kiddo, just you wait, you'll get yours". Actually she used to say it to me quite often as I went through *ahem* a rather trying phase for my parents when I was a teenager. Little did she know then, that "you'll get yours" would actually come in the form of three gorgeous, but highly often highly strung little boys. 

Now I know I used to fight with my brother a lot when we were young. I do recall being so upset one day that he would not let me join his Spy Club, that I smacked a Moove sticker right in the middle of his prized signed Star Wars poster. Oh geez, World War 3 very nearly took place that day in our peaceful childhood home.

Although we used to fight often, my brother also had some very kind and generous moments. One day in particular, he took the time to teach me every single swear word he knew. It was certainly an upgrade from my simple vocab of poo, wee and stinky bum.

When his friends came over to watch a movie, he was very kind and thoughtful - he used to give me a snack and a drink before he locked me in the backyard.

My brother and I sure had some fun times together.  I remember one year in particular, it was Christmas time and he took me around to all the houses in our street to spread our season's cheer. We would knock on the door and when it was opened I would break out into my best rendition of Deck the Halls. My brother would show his support by standing very patiently behind me, and when I was finished he would would hold out his St George Money Box and allow the kind people to make a donation for the needy. I didn't realise we were needy, but I sure enjoyed that stash of lollies and pink sunglasses I purchased with my cut off the "donations".

Fast track to now and I am a mother myself and I find myself with a nagging conscience that fills me with remorse for all the suffering my brother and I put our poor mother and father through with our fighting. 

My kids seem to find something to argue about everyday. If they are not screaming about somebody stealing food off someones plate (happens a lot in our place), they are crying about the most incredible things like someone taking all the air ??? I so did not know there was an air shortage. I must of course pay tribute to the timeless "He's looking at me again Mum". That one leaves me rendered dumb and speechless every single time. 

We have a whole playroom full of toys, but all three coincidentally NEED that empty toilet roll for a trumpet at the same time. It amazes me that they know that out of a box of 50 million textas, that particular green texta is theirs, "I've had it like forever so give it to me now!"

You think I am exaggerating don't you? Get this - My kids fight about picking up dog poop. If they aren't protesting "I did it yesterday so it's not my turn", they actually fight because they want to to pick it up. Apparently, because the poop came from the new puppy, it's special. 

We get the "he's got more than me" to "why do I have more vegetables than him?" 

Heaven forbid when friends come over to play, then we get "he's taking my friends away from me" It seriously is a losing battle.

But then in the wink of an eye everything can change. An eerie and not too familiar calmness descends upon us. Noise in the form of laughter starts to fill the room, and the oh so sweet smell of a truce fragrances the air. Suddenly they are best friends. They want to put on a dancing and singing show for us, they want to go outside and ride their skateboards and scooters together and they are even willing to hold hands to cross the road. They excitedly plan to snuggle up together for a sleepover in one of their rooms and miraculously WANT to eat popcorn out of the one big bowl. 

Blissfully sweet moments like this completely melt my heart. I absolutely glow with proud mummy satisfaction when I hear them encourage each other on something one is struggling with, or when the older two take the time to teach their younger brother the alphabet or how to count. I spend the day safe in the knowledge that they will look out for each other at school, and may even get together to join friends and play handball.

Those glimpses of brotherly love can single handedly obliterate the memory of the previous day's all out war over who's Zhu Zhu can ride a tech deck better. They can allow me to sit back for a moment and admire my parenting handiwork. Almost.......... for a brief moment......... until the air shortage issue is once again brought to my attention.


RELATED LINKS
How to be a Perfect Parent ...... ha ha ha ha

Today I am linking up with Where's My Glow for her fabulous FlogYoBlog Friday  and  Serenity Now's Weekend Bloggy Reading
Make sure you check out all the brilliant posts over there!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Free Weekly Dinner Planner

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I have posted this Weekly Meal Planner in a pdf file after quite a few of my friends have seen it stuck up on our fridge at home and asked for a copy. This is a sneaky way to make sure they are checking out my blog :) You want it? Come and get it!

I do not break our planner up into breakfast, lunch and dinner because we really only worry about planning dinner at our house. 

As I mentioned before the planner is stuck up on our fridge. The shopping list is very very handy - we write things on the list as we run out of them as well as any ingredients needed for next week's meal plan.

Since I shop on a Saturday (actually I don't restrict shopping to just Saturdays :) but grocery shopping anyway), I normally sit down with a cuppa Saturday morning and plan out the coming week's menu. I include any new recipes I want to try out, special requests from the kids, as well as quick and easy meals for those nights the kids have soccer, swimming or after school activities. I then add any household items, lunch meats, kids snack etc we need to my shopping list and hit the shops.Grocery shopping is so much quicker when you know what you need. I can get in and out super fast and get home to enjoy time with the family.

Having a shopping list for planned purchases has also saved us tons of money, as I really only buy what we need for the week. We used to throw out so much food that had gone off or expired. Now we have less wastage and big savings.

I am very lucky as in my household, my hubby cooks during the week. This planner has made it easy for him to do a quick check in the morning and get out any meats that need defrosting for that night's meal. 

I must also add that it stops the endless nagging from the kids - "what's for dinner mum?"

So feel free to download and Bon Appettit.



The above posters can be bought at Etsy - Buy Now

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Begrudgingly, I am letting go of my Grudges!

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This Print can be bought at Etsy Buy Now



Pssst, I am going to let you in on a deep dark secret of mine. It is not at all pretty so be prepared....... 
I hold grudges. 

It is not something I am proud of in anyway at all, hence why until now it has been a safely guarded secret. A secret that only my poor hubby and the individuals who I held the grudge against, knew about. 

Recently I have embarked on a very interesting journey within myself. I decided it was time to give my heart and soul a good old spring clean. Let me tell you, this has not always been an enjoyable ride as I needed to deal with some "issues" that have been taking up some valuable space in my mind. And let's face it - a mummy mind does not have a lot of spare room. These "issues" have had a tendency to at times sap my much needed energy. Please note my past tense use of 'had'. This is a very exciting milestone for me to reach in this project.

One of the things on my 'Spring Clean' list involved taking a good long look at my life and exploring ways I can maximise the joy I get out of simple everyday things. I decided I needed to Windex my eyes and my mind and view my life with a fresh new outlook.

I read a lot of books (yeah I have a habit of that when I need some direction). And everyone from Buddha, the Dalai Lama and Eckhart Tolle, all told me that to truly enjoy the present, I need to let go of the past.
Hmmm this sounds great in theory, but anyone who understands how deep a nasty little grudge can dig it's toes in, knows this is easier said than done. But as is my way of approaching things, I have decided to completely embrace this idea of letting go of the past, roll my sleeves up and dive on in to the old grudge cupboard and start clearing it out.

Now diving into my dusty, mingy old grudge cupboard is actually no mean feat as there is so much bloody junk in there. In reality I can only just barely open the door and gaze mournfully at the complete mess I have allowed to amass in there. But as with any dreaded task you need to tackle, the key is to just get in there and make a start.

As I was sorting through the tangle of grudges, I uncovered a couple of pearlers from the box marked 'Childhood Humiliation'. I felt compelled to share these with you before I chuck them in to the big skip parked outside my front door. When I look at these grudges in print, I can actually laugh at what a pathetic excuse for a grudge they really are.

So here goes;

1. When I was 12 years I went to my friend Rachel's birthday party at Luna Park. I can recall feeling very trendy that day decked out in my new tartan pants and spiky short hairdo. Now before you judge me and perhaps prematurely label me a dag, please remember that this was 26 years ago and it was cutting edge fashion for the times. As I was waiting to go on the rotor, another little boy tried to push his way in front of me. I was relieved when his mother stepped in to put him back in his place, until she opened her mouth and spoke the words that would metamorphis into one of the biggest grudges of my childhood. She said "just wait your turn darling and let the little boy go first". That little BOY the horrible lady was referring to was me. Oh the pain, the shame, the unbridled mortification. Those words played on loop for months over and over in my mind as I painfully grew out my short spiky hair. Well lady - be gone! I'm letting you go.

2. Jump back 5 years and I now find myself back at Primary school. It was a stinking hot day and I was walking back from the canteen with my hands clutched around a precious cola Sunny Boy. I was so looking forward to sucking on that cool little beauty. I had only just managed to squeeze the frozen little sucker up from its triangular packaging (they were tough little buggers to open) when one of the boys in my class ran up to me and said "Give us a bite". Before I could protest, he had snatched my joy out of my hands, squeezed too hard and plopped my ice block onto the dirty and dusty asphalt where it immediately began to melt. It was unrecoverable and completely devastating. The little snot didn't even offer to replace it, with a shrug of the puny shoulders, he was gone and so was my Sunny Boy. I can still feel my anger rising up as I write about this, but alas - be gone! I'm letting you go.

3. I now find myself, in the 6th class and desperately longing for boobs and a training bra. My mother refused no matter how much I begged and pleaded, to buy me one. As she rightly pointed out I was flat as a tack. But I was sooo envious of the girls who got their bra straps flicked by the boys on a daily basis. This was almost too much for me to bare. So I resorted to pinching one of my mum's double D cup bras out of the laundry basket and stuffing them full of Kleenex. Ok so I went from flat to stacked overnight, but I didn't really think anyone would notice. I went to school that day in glorious anticipation of my first bra strap flick. What I wasn't expecting was for the tissues to work their way out of the bra and poke out through the collar of my shirt. Even worse, what I wasn't expecting, was my friend laughing herself silly and proceeding to tell the class that I was wearing a bra stuffed full of tissues. The teacher was so kind as she took me to the bathroom and helped me get the tissues out and remove the now humiliating apparel. But it didn't stop me plotting my revenge on my friend. Revenge never really came, but that's ok beacuse now I've got the boobs. So... Be gone! I'm letting you go!

And whilst I am feeling ever so slightly nostalgic, I will share one last dusty old dinosaur with you....

4. It's 1987 and I am dressed to the nines in my white taffeta bubble skirt, off the shoulder glow go go top, and a wide black elastic belt. I was looking pretty damn fine (in my mind anyway). I was about to head out to my first blue light disco, and at the tender age of 14 I was breathlessly holding out hope that tonight I would get my first proper pash. Not a peck on the lips, but the type of kiss I had seen on Puberty Blues where they move their head from side to side. I had my target lucky guy chosen. A boy I had had a major crush on since I first laid eyes on him on that morning at the school bus stop. I recall planning with my girlfriends how we would orchestrate this oh so seductive moment. And whilst I cannot remember all the details of the plan we hatched, I know it involved one of my friends quietly slipping up to him and subtly whispering that she knew someone who really "liked him" and that I would be waiting out the side door for him to come and pash meet me. Well imagine the humiliation, when he did come to meet me, along with half a dozen of his friends or so, and a handful of my closest friends who I had 'allowed' to share in this life changing event with me. Worse still, the anger that rose up in me when he and his mates laughed at the immaturity and socially moronic thing I had just manipulated. I never went to another blue light disco after that night. I was eternally scarred. But it's now time to let go of that humiliation and the grudge I managed to hold against at least 5 of the 6 guys who laughed at me that night. (I forgave one as I developed a major crush on him a few months later and its hard to lust and grudge at the same time). So once again - Be gone! I'm letting you go.

As I mentioned, I am only sharing a few of the grudges I had archived from my earlier years with you for the time being. In all honesty it's all the humiliation my poor ego can cope with for now.

I am looking to the future with hope and forgiveness at the ready. I do have one exclusion clause in the small print however, I make no promises about not holding grudges when it comes to anyone doing wrong by my kids. With that said, I must get back to this Grudge cupboard as I simply cannot leave it in the state it is in.



Saturday, 17 September 2011

How do you put a band aid on a child's broken heart?

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Tonight I read a post on The Imperfect Mum's Facebook page site, from a distressed mum who's 9 year old son had a sleepover party planned tonight, but nobody turned up. I know I know - I reacted the same way when I read it. It just completely broke my heart. 

Can you imagine the heartache of that poor child AND his parents. So many wonderful people offered her some great advice and a later post from her reported that she had taken her son to a video store and loaded up on games, and they were now enjoying a feast of pizza, popcorn and ice-cream cake. He was now having a great time in spite of this fiasco with his bestest friend of all - his Mum.

As a mum myself, my first instinct would have been to do something completely outrageously fantastic with my son and then make a point of rubbing the little AWOL snots noses in it. But that's the immature and irrational part of my personality kicking in. 

She did exactly the right thing by distracting her son and staying calm. She lead by example by remaining positive on the surface. I can't help but think just how important our actions as parents are in this type of situation, as our kids learn from how WE react. Sure the most important thing is to protect your child's self esteem, but then you need to help them rise above it, and look for the life lesson in the experience (however abstract that may be).

I am sure we can all remember a time when we waited around ever so hopefully for someone who never showed up. A time when we were rejected by someone we wanted so badly to be friends with. Or perhaps it was a party that you waited breathlessly for the invite that sadly never came. The reality is it hurts, damn it - it can hurt worse than an ingrown toenail. The point is though - we survived and through the experience most of us learnt empathy for others and took those lessons with us into adulthood.

Fast forward (too many years to admit) and many of us are now parents, and the reality is we sometimes relive those painful snippets from our past, through the lives of our children.

It would be a hard person to say that they weren't concerned if their kids had friends or not. Actually, it would be a bloody cold hearted fiend that doesn't deserve to have children.

I myself have cried when one of my little boys one day said to me, "Mummy today I walked around the playground all by myself at lunchtime because I had no one too play with". I just wanted so much to turn up to school the next day at lunch time to play with him myself. It really took great restraint on my behalf not too.
Instead, I armed him with as much knowledge and strategies I could muster up on how to befriend people. The next day I set him off on his way all the while with a pounding heart and an anxious wait for his return that afternoon. He returned that afternoon with a huge smile and informed me he had had an "awesome day". Phew *high five with the hubby* and we were happy campers. 

The fact is he too survived this, and through this experience he learnt how to reach out to new potential friends. More importantly in my opinion, he also developed empathy and now keeps his eyes out for any other lonely wanderers in the playground, and when he spots one, he invites them to join in with his friends and play.

Ahhhhhhh! *shudder* Then there is the dreaded party invitation snub. Man that's a hard one to navigate around. It pains your heart to see the sadness in your baby's face when they find out they have been excluded from the invitation list of a particular party. However as a parent you rationally know that you just can't have every child to a party (Though we have been known to invite the whole class to avoid hurting anyones feelings). When this has happened I have used it as a way of teaching my kids how to be careful of other peoples feelings when they are invited to a party that their friend is not. I know that in 10 years they will not remember that they weren't invited to Billy's 6th Birthday party (Heck they probably wont even remember it by next weekend). But WE remember, and sometimes if i am being totally honest, I think it hurts me more than it hurts them. 

These type of (usually completely unintentional) exclusions leave us open to the gnawing parental worries and anxieties that hit us in the middle of the dark night - Does my baby have enough friends?, WHY wasn't he invited to the party? What is wrong with you people? LOL, I told you my immaturity likes to rear its childish head when it comes to my kids. But I don't think I really need to elaborate on these irrational thoughts as I am pretty sure I am not the only mum who has ever lost sleep over this.

Anyway - I didn't actually set out to write about this at all tonight, I had a whole other post planned. But the heartbreaking post from that poor devastated mum, about her little 9 year old who's party was full of no shows, got me thinking and lead me off in an entirely different direction and I just couldn't let it go.


Friday, 16 September 2011

Welcome to Fabulous Friday

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Ok so by now you all know how much I love to shop (don't we all??), and I love love love to share a fabulous find. 

So to celebrate my passion for sharing and shopping, I have decided to make one Friday a month around here - FABULOUS FRIDAY. 

This is a day where I will share any great finds I have unearthed during the week. Some of the links will be to products I have purchased myself and others are links to products / services / sites / blogs or pictures that are just so damn fabulous I have to share.

So without further ado - I am busting at the seams to present this weeks finds.

SHOPPING BASKET
I have to start with my gorgeous shopping basket from Kitchenware Direct . I am so in love with this basket as all my friend know because I keep saying to them "have you seen my gorgeous basket?" "Did I tell you about my fabulous basket?" "Just LOOK at my damn basket will you!!!" Even better, they are on special at the moment for $25.95 AUD.



BPA FREE DRINK BOTTLES
This is another brilliant find (if I do say so myself). My lovely Australia Postie delivered mine last week from Everton.com.au, and I keep them filled with water in the fridge in their nifty little tray, ready to grab and go for the family. They are all BPA friendly, so no nasty plastic toxin leaching. $19.95 AUD + Shipping

MY NEW DIARY / PLANNER
So I like to be organised, but I need a little help. My new diary from Mooo.com.au has a week to 2 pages and even has my name printed on the front and on each page, so there is no mistaking who it belongs to. This photo isn't of my diary, but you don't have to choose the specified colours - you can request whatever colour you like. I got beige, white and brown (to match my new shopping basket). I know sad aren't I ? They also have great stationery, labels, kids bags, shirts and loads more cute stuff. The awesome part is you can customise it all with your own name.  $24.95 AUD + Shipping

A BEAUTIFUL SUMMER MAXI
A special package I am looking forward to getting next week, comes from a friend of mines business Summer Living. I have ordered a gorgeous summer dress at a gorgeous price too. $34.95 + Shipping. This dress is the one I ordered and it is from the Bohemian range and comes in stack of different colours.



FAMILY ORGANISER
This is another brilliant product from some friends of mine Prettyneat. It is a practical over sized A4 folder housing gorgeous designer templates to assist you in organising your family. The folder comes with custom made tab dividers so everything has its place.



PERSONALISED JEWELLERY
Ahh and jewellery! A girls gotta have Jewellery. Uberkate has a huge selection of different pieces. Each Uberkate piece is made from precious metals that have been hand-crafted into a distinctive design and are then personalised for the individual wearer. Drop the hints and get the man in your life ordering for Christmas. Ahh heck, just treat yourself!

CHICKEN SAUSAGES
Of course this week - you just have to pop into your local pet store or Piiwater Pets to get your chicken sausages, adorable Puppy :)



FRESH FLOWERS
And last but certainly not least. Fresh Flowers. No link required for these gorgeous beauties. Just pop into your local markets and pick up your favourite bunch. I so do not believe in waiting for someone to buy you flowers. Every Friday I treat myself to a bunch or two because I think I deserve it. :)


Happy Shopping.