Monday, 29 September 2014

Topic Challenge - Week 3 - Glue

This is the third blog post in my series "Topic Challenge". Each week, my friend Fiona is submitting a topic which I have agreed to cover in my blog. This week, the topic is glue.

I'm now questioning my friendship with Fiona. What am I supposed to do with glue? Pft.

When I was given the topic of glue, I was a little stumped. I am not opinionated on the topic of glue. But, even things to which we are indifferent evoke thoughts and memories. These are the first three that came to my mind:

1. Perkins Paste. Remember that? Damn, that stuff smelt good. Here's a pic to get you all nostalgic:

Can you smell it? I can practically taste it. What I didn't realise until I went searching for this image (or perhaps I've forgotten?) is that kids actually used to eat this stuff. Eat it. You know, a little for the cut out shapes, a little for the tongue. Maybe that's why I feel like I can almost taste it? Non Toxic - a small gift from the heavens.

My clearest memory of using Perkins Paste is, at the age of probably 3 or 4, cutting out little suns off some biscuit packaging and sticking them onto a piece of paper while my mum watched Days of Our Lives. I suspect they were not safety scissors (because kids were allowed to get hurt in the '70s). Good times.

2. Clag. I think it was the early '80s part of my brain that brought Clag to front and centre. This guy had a brush, not just a plastic stick to apply the glue. I remember feeling I'd hit the big time with this gear.

3. Mike Willesee.

I recall, as a very young person, watching TV with my parents. Well, to be fair, they were watching and I was in the room because one TV! Mike Willesee interviewed a guy who'd been sniffing glue and as a result, couldn't do the fly up on his jeans.

Yep, that's what I remember. It's possible that the guy had been sniffing petrol. He may not have been sniffing anything. Perhaps he was smoking joints for breakfast? Or too much acid? It may not have been Mike Willesee on the TV at all. How could I really know? It was a long time ago and I've had a lot of wine since then.

Point is, when someone mentions glue, I see a sorry looking guy on a very old TV with a piece of string connecting his fly to his finger. The soundtrack to this memory is my Dad's classic tsk, which, incidentally, is the soundtrack to most of my childhood. Even friends may be haunted by my Dad's tongue clicking. He still does it, by the way.

So, Fiona, that's it. Glue, short and sweet. I thought I'd get stuck with this one; it was hard to adhere to the rules. But my agreement with Fiona is binding, so thanks for sticking with me.

What's the first thing that comes to your mind in response to "glue"?

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

8 Signs of Summer

I love summer. Long, warm days; eating dinner outside. Not wearing 27 layers of clothing. Love it.

The good news? It's getting closer. I can practically taste it. In fact, today, I got such a summer feeling when I left the office at lunch time without a jacket (crazy lady that I am) that I began thinking about the things that are specific to summer. Here's a short list:

  1. Walking around the house barefoot. It's time everyone got a glimpse of my stunning size tens again.
    These may or may not be my feet. (Go Roosters)
  2. Hosing  my children. You get shamed for doing it in winter. Seriously, watching them run away from the water just 2 seconds after begging me to hose them is just plain fun.
    Miss 5 running from hose last summer.
  3. Having water-balloon fights. Closely  related to point 2, but with bombs. And if you recall my recent post about Zuru's Bunch O Balloons, this one's only going to get better.
    Fill 100 in less than a minute. Bring it on.
  4. Sand in the bed. Not good. It's a mystery how it happens, but you've got to take the good with the bad. No image necessary.
  5. Early morning and late afternoon beach trips. The best way to avoid the parking hassles and the sunburn. 
    Good times.
  6. Cold, cold beer. Enough said. But I'll give you a picture anyway. Mmmmm....
  7. Swimmers and towels on the line all the time. We don't even have a pool! (refer points 2 and 3)
  8. The feeling that you're on holidays but you're not. You're just outside late wearing holiday clothes. Bummer.
What does summer mean to you?


Monday, 22 September 2014

Topic Challenge - Week 2 - Stack Wine

This is the second blog post in my series "Topic Challenge". Each week, my friend Fiona is submitting a topic which I have agreed to cover in my blog. This week, the topic is stack wine. So, here we go.

If you're like me, the first question was "Huh? What's that?"

Google was quick to sort me out and, I suspect, suck me in. For I see Stack Wines in my future.

To answer the question I assume you're still asking (if you haven't left for Google already), Stack Wine is wine that comes in stemless glasses, each with it's own lid, stacked on top of one another in a shape similar to a regular bottle of wine. 


So you can take it to your picnic, friend's place, party (or just into your bedroom if you want to - I'm not judging) without the need to also take glasses or a bottle opener (if you've somehow managed to buy yourself a bottle with a ....what are they called again? Cork?).

Here's what they look like:

I love any idea that makes wine easier.
Is it really that hard to pack glasses? Yeah, sometimes. I'll admit, my picnic-with-wine days are few and far between, but when they happen, this will be my solution. It's a great gift coming into summer. That was a hint.

Unfortunately, however, I don't think it's available in Australia. These little beauties come from the US but they're not currently supplying here. 

Do you know where to buy Stack Wines in Australia? Please help the rest of us if you do!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

It's a Big Day for Small Reasons

Today is the last day of Term 3 and the kids now have a well earned 2 week break.

Regardless of the difficulty of managing school holidays (the ol' 12 weeks off school vs 4 weeks off work chestnut), there's more to school  holidays than simply getting more time with your kids (I may or may not be smirking as I write that).

Here is a short list of the benefits of school holidays for me and my family:

  1. Not stressing about having fresh enough bread to make lunches.
  2. Not stressing about having something nut free to go on the just fresh enough bread.
  3. Not chopping up fruit and vegetables at 7:30am for lunch boxes, knowing there's a solid chance you'll be throwing them out that evening because "I forgot to eat it".
  4. No homework to follow up on.
  5. Not having to locate, read, sign and return notes (knowing that the process can fall down at any one of these steps).
  6. Not having to remember which uniform they need to wear. And then realising the one you need is wet. Or simply missing.
  7. Not having to locate and pack books, coins, drink bottles, hats, jumpers and "special projects".
  8. No "special projects".

And these are just some of the choice phrases I won't be throwing around as often over the next two weeks:

  • Get dressed.
  • Eat your breakfast. Now. 
  • Why aren't you dressed?
  • Tuck your shirt in.
  • Put your tie on.
  • Where's your lunch box? 
  • Where's your hat?
  • Brush your teeth (I'll still say that (maybe) but with a little less urgency).
  • Pack your bag.
  • Why aren't you dressed?
  • Move your bag.
  • Do you have your hat?
  • MOVE your bag.
  • Put your pyjamas away.
  • When was the last time you saw your hat?
  • It's the rule, deal with it.
  • If you'd put your shoes away in your shoe box, you would be able to find them now.
  • No you can't have a lunch order. Because I actually have fresh bread!

I'm exhausted.

When the kids return for Term 4, they do so in summer uniform. This is considerably easier to manage. No ties, for starters. Damn those things. (Mr 8's is the ready knotted version on elastic. Of course, Mr 8 decided to undo that knot and believe me, trying to re-tie them is like trying to refold a 3m x 3m map in a wind storm. It ain't happening.) 

So I'm rejoicing in the holidays for now, but experience tells me that I'm not sure the joy will last for the full two weeks. I dare say in a few days time I'll be pointing out all the benefits of kids going back to school. You know what I'm talking about.

What do you love about school holidays?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Topic Challenge - Week 1 - Socks.

This is the first official blog post in my series "Topic Challenge". Each week, my friend Fiona is submitting a topic which I have agreed to cover in my blog. This week, the topic is socks. So, here we go.

I'd like to think that there will be fewer pairs of socks going through the wash as we move towards summer.

Like most in these parts, my family share a love for thongs and even bare feet in the warmer months. In fact, I've had many (infuriating) experiences in recent years of my kids leaving the house with nothing on their feet only for me to discover this at the "we're here" part of our journey.

But alas, while husband continues to wear boots to work (that require socks) and school's still a happening thing, socks will continue to move through the laundry cycle at a rate of stupid to one.

Now I am NOT a go-to girl for practical household suggestions or life hacks. Know that I am barely keeping above water in the flood that is my life. My version of cutting corners and saving time is, more often than not, simply not doing. Or at least, not doing as often as I know I should. Pft.

If you consult the webisphere on matters such as "how to avoid losing socks in the wash" you will come up with perfectly sound suggestions such as:

Courtesy of - Clip them together before putting them in the wash

A great  idea but it's not for me. That implies that I have even the smallest idea of what's going into a load and the energy and forethought to organise it. Nope.

I deal with the sock void like this:

  1. Wherever possible, I buy the same socks. This increases the chances of matching clean socks. This is acceptable because socks are boring anyway.
  2. Odd socks are put into the sock owner's drawer without the mate. Crazy, but eventually the mate gets put in as well. And then, one day, someone (OK, let's stop pretending it's anyone other than me) notices sock soul mates that need help reuniting and voila, a pair is born.
  3. My kids sort the socks (and undies, face washers, tea towels and pyjamas) and are charged with matching them up and identifying whose drawer they belong in. This has removed me from the painful process of matching whilst teaching my kids that washing sucks. I mean, that washing is part of our life and we must all contribute to the running of a household.

Lastly, I'd like to point out how efficient it would be to use the spelling sox rather than socks. I realise this poses a problem when referring to the singular sock. And I'm not Dr Seuss so.....socks. (And blocks and rocks and clocks.)

Are socks ruining your life?  Do you have a sock system we should know about?

Monday, 15 September 2014

Dog Dress Ups - Perfect for Stormy Weather

Ever wonder what goes on at home when you're not there? Well husband just sent me a photo of what's happening at my place:

It seems, from this image, that husband and staffie are playing dress-ups. Intriguing.

Staffie's been part of the dress up game before. As you can tell by her expression, she loves it, especially with this superhero look:

As it turns out, there's thunder and lightning in the air. You may recall from a previous post the damage she did to our door last summer? Here's a reminder:

So husband just happened to hear a segment on the radio advising dog owners to dress their shit-scared dogs in a tight-fitting shirt to help calm them down. Lucy, the cowardly staffie, is frightened. And now she's sporting a lovely grey singlet.

Perhaps the fear will just turn into embarrassment?

Does your pooch flip out in a storm?

Ray Donovan - The BEST TV Show Ever!

What? You’re not watching Ray Donovan? I’m sorry, did you say NOT watching Ray Donovan? I’m not sure we can continue.

Seriously, get on board. It’s good. Ridiculously good.

What’s it about? Oh, I thought you’d never ask.

It’s about a Hollywood Mr Fix-It guy called Ray Donovan and his troubled, dysfunctional family. He’s played (incredibly well) by Liev Schreiber (Naomi Watts’ man in real life) and supported by other sensational actors like Jon Voight, Elliot Gould and Paula Malcomson.

It's impossible to look away

Whist we see the situations a Hollywood Mr Fix-It has to deal with (and I sincerely hope these are dramatised for our viewing pleasure), the show is really about the personal struggles of Ray and each of his family members.

Ray's Dad. They're not close.
It covers marriage, sex, abuse, mental health, alcohol, drugs, parenting, fame, talent, fitting in, finance, discrimination, prejudice, violence, friendship, loyalty, mystery and pretty much anything else that I haven't mentioned.

And most of the time your mouth is gaping and you're pausing the show to say "Did he? Did they just? Was that? OMG!"

Ray's wife. She puts up with a lot. She also likes wine.

We're currently in the middle of Season 2 but I urge you to start at the beginning. Don't "give it a go" with the latest episode. Do whatever it is you do to get access to TV shows and commit. You won't be disappointed.

Are you watching yet? Who's your favourite character?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

I'm Going to Smash my Kids. (At Water Balloon Fights of Course)

I love summer. I'm looking forward to it almost as much as I'm looking forward to the next episode of Ray Donovan.

One of the things I like doing most with my kids in summer is playing with water. Our pool doesn't exist, so we have to cool down in more traditional ways, like hosing each other and having (this is my favourite) water balloon fights.

All that running and squealing and delight is priceless, but the process of filling up the balloons is a struggle. Nothing says cuticle damage like tying those little buggers up. And watching them pop as fast as you fill them is simply deflating.

But look what I came across this week:

Kids, Mummy's got a new secret weapon.

It's called Bunch O Balloons from a company called Zuru. Apparently, this little set up allows you to fill 100 balloons in less than 60 seconds and....wait for it....they're self-tying!


The report I read says they'll be available in Australia next year. I hope they mean January 1st because I plan to get a bunch of Bunch O Balloons and I don't want to wait.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

I don’t own a Thermomix. Not even the OLD one.

Wow. This Thermomix business is serious. Clearly I’ve been living under a rock because I truly didn’t understand how big this thing is.

I first heard about this life-saving machine a couple of years ago when my cousin’s wife gave us some homemade jam for Christmas. She told me all about her new love and although I couldn’t quite relate, I was happy for her.

Earlier this year, another cousin brought dip to a get-together (beetroot if I remember correctly). Apparently she made it effortlessly using her Thermomix. I was so impressed I ate the lot.

I’ve seen mentions of it on Facebook every now and then and I knew it was popular, but I did NOT know it was the Game of Thrones of appliances.

What is all that stuff?

Today I’m reading about the angst that a new model has caused. If you’re not across this, it seems that many people who recently bought the old model did not know that a new model was coming, despite, in some cases, asking that very question of their Thermomix representative. Tsk tsk.

I understand how annoying that would be for people who have forked out $2000 for this thing. Let me say that again. $2000. Holy chopping boards, that’s a good blendie-cooking-thingie. Probably much better than my version:

Now I'm not knocking it. No way. If I had a lazy 2 grand sitting around I might even own one. If I knew what to do with a Thermomix and (and this is a big one), I could be bothered doing it, I might even own one. But I doubt I'll ever get one because I'm not much chop in the kitchen and also because... well....

Honestly, it was a fluke I could even locate that mixing-thing in my kitchen for my photo shoot!

Do you "do stuff" in the kitchen?

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Dog Shaming: Storms and Staffies Don't Mix

Staffies and storms are not friends.

It's easy to feel sorry for dogs when they fret at the sound of even the most distant thunder. We let them in the house, excuse them for knocking things over and turn a blind eye as they rearrange furniture to find themselves the smallest, safest spot in which to ride out the storm.

But what happens when the storm hits and the humans aren't home?


Not quite the look I was going for.
As Sydney finally says good bye to winter (well the calendar says we're saying good bye but my 15 layers tell me otherwise), I thought I'd reflect on one of the memories of last summer to help prepare for the next. The bloody dog.

On this particular occasion, we were out  of the house for two hours. During that time, as it often happens here in these parts, a huge storm hit. Lightning, thunder, sideways rain, the works.

We knew we'd come home to an unhappy hound, but didn't quite expect this. Clearly the bitch went postal and we got to sweep up small slivers of door for the next two days.

Our door remains in that state, a little reminder to her every time she pushes past it with her arrogant snout of the shame she brings on herself.

Man's best friend makes it hard sometimes. Really, really hard.

Does your pooch freak out in a storm? How do you handle it? And would you buy them a ridiculous "storm jacket"?

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

My Daughter Quit Dancing and I'm Cool With That

Today my daughter quit dancing.

It wasn't a sad day. Granted, it was a little frustrating that it was mid-term and after considerable financial investment for a 5 year old, but it wasn't sad. Actually, it was a relief.

Miss 5 loved dancing when she first started at the age of 3. (Dancing is a loose term at this age. It's really just jumping and clapping with fancy shoes on). She was happy to go to classes and loved the performances. Dressing up, wearing makeup and getting her hair done was just plain fun.

I must admit, I did start to enjoy it, much more than I ever would have imagined, possibly because it brought the girly out in my tomboy daughter. After two terms of dancing, she agreed to actually wear a dress. On Christmas Day! The grandmothers were beside themselves with pride.

But the world of dancing was foreign to me. I didn't dance as a child (which shows now, believe me!) and I didn't understand how serious the dance culture can be. I had nothing to add when the other mothers vehemently expressed their disappointment at the over-choreographed routines or inappropriate troupe sizes. God, I didn't even know what they were talking about half the time!

I'd like to say she reminds me of myself.....but splits were never for me.

I never saw the Sydney Ballet in her future, but she held her own at dancing. She even won a couple of awards. But starting school this year changed things. She was tired! Having to go to school all day and then go to dancing two afternoons a week was too much.

We persevered for months, knowing that the energy had to go somewhere. And she liked dancing - she totally enjoyed the classes - she just didn't want to go. It's like the thought of having to go out when you've already taken your bra off.

I also encouraged her to stick with it knowing one day she'd thank me for learning how to look half decent on the dance floor and for having calf muscles. Two things that have always escaped me.

But today, when she climbed into the car and spat out her usual "I don't want to go to dancing" whinge, I decided I'd had enough. I just could not be arsed anymore.

I don't care that I've paid for the next 3 week's worth of lessons and that we already have her end of year concert outfit. I don't care that she has hand-me-down tap shoes waiting for her to grow into. I don't even care that she just recently got a new jacket with the dance school emblem on the back.

I asked if she was sure. She was. And so was I.

Is quitting OK in your household?
Did dancing or another activity get too much for your kids?