Saturday, May 30, 2009

The dream house that wasn't

Well, we actually put an offer on a house this week. The first house we have looked at that we BOTH agree on, with very few reservations. This is a biggy, because we have been looking for about 8 months now and want to move before the end of the year and we are each looking for different things. For example, I want /need (ok, it's really only a want) a decent size kitchen. I have one now and do not want to go smaller. Hubby wants a double garage. Get the picture?

Well this house had both of those and all the other things we want, and it borders an agricultural zone, aka farm. So no houses when I look out the windows, woohoo! Despite the fact the floors had been replaced 2 years back because of termites, we put in an offer subject to pests, building etc.

Having been inspired by my sis's gardening efforts, I had planned where to put a chicken coop, my raised veggie beds that hubby has promised to build, H's 'secret' garden as he calls it....he wants flowers and cactus in his and some espaliered fruit trees, like this...


Anyway, we didn't get the house, someone wanted it more than we did and it went for $40K above the top advertised price. Boohoo!

Reminder to self: don't fall in love with a place unless I own it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kiwi accent comes back to bite me

I am a born and bred kiwi, although I've been living in Australia for 10 years now. Eek, where has that time gone?? Anyway, one would think that would be enough time for kiwi my accent to be overtaken by my Aussie accent, and for the most part it has. It takes a keen ear for someone to pick, yet the odd person notices it immediately.

So, H, my 4 year old, has lived with me his whole life. Of course he has, I'm his mama right? So he should know how I speak, yes? Well this has happened twice now and it makes my husband fall on the floor laughing each time.....

Me "H, where's that little car that has the pen in it?"

H "What car, mama?"

Me "The one with the pen in it."

H "The pin?"

Me "No the car with the PEN in it, you know, your new one".

H "The PEEN?"

Me "No, the PEN. You know, the one Aunty A gave you?!"

H "The pin?"

Me "The PEN, for drawing, in the car Aunty A gave you!"

H "Oh, the PEN!"

Pen, pin, pun....sheesh!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Superman update

What, not finished him yet? Yes yes, I know, H's 4th birthday was back in April. I hadn't finished him by the night before, all that hand applique was sooo fiddly! In hindsight, I should perhaps have looked for a sew on superman S patch to put on his belly. Instead I painstakingly copied the shapes off the pc, outlined them onto the felt, snipped it out and hand stitched the red onto the yellow. For baby superman I did get lazy and bought a regular S shape.


I still need to do his cape and I forgot to sew a yellow strip along the top of his pocket, but hey, H won't mind I'm sure. H hasn't asked after him because we managed to fuel his current obsession on his birthday by buying some him some transformers. That boy is transformer mad. However, Superman will be finished in the near future, my big sis is coming for a flying visit so she might motivate mine butt. Hopefully.

This is the sis of quilt fame. And this one is hers too.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Childhood vaccinations - a parent's decision

My youngest, at one year of age, is not vaccinated at all. AT ALL. Not even the Hep B at birth, which seems an odd one to being giving a newborn anyway, so we have refused that with both kids. The older one is partially vaccinated.

I know this is a sometimes controversial topic, but I feel in the end every parent must do what they think is right for their kids. In their wisdom though, the Australian Government makes it somewhat difficult if you decide to take the no vax route or even the delayed vax route.

For example, if your child is fully vaxed, you are eligible for the Maternity Immunisation Allowance, a payment in 2 parts equaling $245.50. If they are not vaccinated, no payment. Ok, no problem, I can certainly cope with that.

The child care rebate is also linked to vaccinations. If your child is not on a vaccination schedule of some sort, and you do not have an exemption, you are not eligible for the rebate, meaning you pay full fees to your daycare provider, instead of the Govt paying part of your fees in the form of the rebate. Now this is a bigger issue than the Maternity Immunisation payment, as daycare fees are just a little expensive.

To me, these two conditions are a way of subtly, or not so subtly really, steering people down the vaccination trail.

Hmmm, what am I trying to say here?

I suppose my point is I am somewhat annoyed that the Government links these payments to vaccinations as if they are rewards for doing the "correct" thing.

Parents are conditioned not to ask questions about vaccinations, they are just told it is a necessary part of childhood.

Someone is sticking a needle in your child and injecting them with a foreign substance. To me, this raises BIG questions. What is in the vaccination? Is it safe? Is it safe for EVERY CHILD? Is it a case of 'for the greater good'? I don't want my child to be potentially sacrificed for the 'greater good', no matter how great that good is.

We live in a modern world, where some of these diseases our children are vaccinated against are not really relevant to our life and our country. On the other hand, my local newspaper reported a recent increase in pertussis, or whooping cough as it is better known, and I know that can be a nasty one. Yes, I did think maybe I should bring my young one in for the shot, as special clinics are being set up round the area to give boosters and shots against pertussis. (The older is already vaxxed against this.)

And there was the incidence of a plane load of people being exposed to polio by an overseas visitor some time ago too. So yes, some of these diseases do rear their ugly heads from time to time.

However, things like measles and chickenpox. Things that were more common when I was a child. I was vaccinated against measles and mumps, yet I got sick with both. Not deathly sick, and it was touted that there was faulty batch of vaccination around at the time I had mine. And I certainly had chicken pox, as did nearly all kids back then, as a vaccine against it wasn't available. Pox party anyone?

Does it benefit our children to immunise them against these measles, mumps and chickenpox? This type of immunity can (supposedly) wane over it not better to get sick with these diseases as a child, rather than an adult? The cases of kids getting REALLY unwell, and hospitalised, with measles, mumps and chicken pox are very very rare, yet they are the reasons our GPs give us for the need to have these vaccinations. I wonder which is rarer (is that even a word??), children permanently damaged by measles or children permanently damaged by a vaccine?

Depends who you talk to I suppose.

I've had people tell me I'm endangering THEIR child by not having mine vaccinated. Hang on, if yours is vaccinated, then where's the danger if mine gets sick? If the vaccination works, your child won't be in any danger at all, right?


This is on my mind today beacuse I went to the GP to get the exemption form for my one year old signed. I knew she'd try and talk me round and true to form, she did. You really need to be in the right mood to get this form signed, there are times when you just don't want to deal with an ear bashing. "This is the decision we've made, can you just sign the darn form please?!

Thank you".

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Plan toy pirate ship - toy libraries rock!

Managed to nab this groovy wooden pirate ship at the toy library today...


It's another Plan toy, and I am in love with their stuff! The toy library has asked for suggestions for new items, as they have some funds to of course I suggested MY favourite toys. Oh well, the kids do love them too, so they will benefit, not just me, haha!

I thought the rescue set and the fire engine. The toy library already have the tree house, the airport and an Eqyptian pyramid. Another great one I'd love for my boys is this plan toys dollhouse. I know hubby would not go for it though, he's a bit stick-in-the-mud about supposed 'girls toys' for boys. I could always get it for me though, right??

Friday, May 15, 2009

Back to the birthday cake...

Remember the saga of two Harolds for the birthday cake? Well surprise, surprise, the Harolds arrived several days before they were needed for the cake. Except, by that time Mr soon-to-be-four had changed his mind and wanted a monster cake. I should have expected that, right?

So I trawled the web for some inspiration and eventually found something to base my cake on. I must give credit where credit is due so if you want to see the original design, it's on this squidoo lens on halloween food.

I also need to add a disclaimer......mine is not as professional looking as the cake decorating on that site. Just so you're pre-warned!


Lucky for me, m & ms were having some sort of promo where most of the packs were single colours. Perfect! Except you don't know what colours are in the pack, so I ended up with green and blue.

Phew, birthdays over for another year!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's day - what my four year old thinks of me

At daycare, the kids have been busy doing a few bits of mother's day artwork. 

These came home yesterday and one of them had me in stitches as well as being just a little embarrassing. I remember from being a nanny some of the things kids share, or just innocently discuss, and we all know that kids have no embarrassment.

Well, that said, this is not THAT kind of embarrassment, although I have had those before, but thankfully not committed to least not to MY knowledge anyway, I'm sure there are some things the daycare teachers just giggle over between themselves...

So, a picture of the family....


followed by the quote

"My mum loves to eat fish and chips so she doesn't have to cook".

Umm, enough said.

The best chocolate chip cookies

Oh yum, everyone in my family loves and requests these, so I make big ones for hubby and mini sizes for the kidlets.


Pretty easy to whip up, especially if you have a good electric mixer. My mixer is the sort that sits on the bench and does all the work itself: have to say, I love it. It's a Sunbeam Mixmaster, given as a gift: have a look at these reviews for it though, seems not everyone is as happy with it as I am.

 But I'm sure, if you get a benchtop style electric mixer, you'll never go back. 
Especially if you're as lazy as me, hehehe! Just do your homework first. Anyway, I digress, here's the recipe....

Killer Chocolate Chip Cookies

125 grams of softened butter
100 grams (1/2 cup) firmly packed brown sugar
110 grams (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
270 grams (1 3/4 cup) self-raising flour
190 grams (1 cup) chocolate bits

  • Pre-heat oven to 180c. Line 2 large trays with baking paper.
  • Place butter and sugar in large bowl, beat till fluffy and pale.
  • Add egg and vanilla and beat well.
  • Add flour and chocolate bits and mix well.
  • Roll heaped teaspoons full into balls and place on tray 5 cm apart. Press down gently.
  • Bake 15 minutes until golden at edges. Cool on tray.

My tips:

Make a double quantity of dough, it freezes well.....and tastes great as dough too. Especially after it's thawed out and sitting in fridge waiting to be baked, and you need a sweet fix........mmmmmm.

You can use any variety of chocolate, milk, dark or white.

If you run out of egg, I have discovered that using pureed fruit gives almost the same result.

If you don't use self-raising flour (I don't), you can use the measurements of one cup of flour to one rounded teaspoon of baking powder. You can also make your own baking powder.

Oh, and try not to eat them all at once!


I now try and make these cookies ever so slightly healthier:

  • I use 3/4 cup rapadura instead of the 1 cup of sugar.
  • I sub' wholemeal spelt flour for the regular white flour.
  • I also leave out a wee bit of the butter and add a little kefir instead and let it sit on the bench overnight, in an effort to get rid of some of the phytic acid (phytic acid being an anti-nutrient)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

WDYT - pay per view site

Want a site that rewards you for viewing pages? WDYT, or WhatDoYouThink sends emails that link to pages....view the pages, be rewarded with 5c every view. Exchange rewards for gift cards with major retailers, easy. For more details see making cents at home. - Turn Your Opinion Into Rewards!

I always wonder, am I the only one that does surveys, pay per views etc? I wonder how popular they actually are. Oh well, they work for me! I suppose I like them because I am lazy, so it means I can make money sitting on my butt, hehehe. Oh dear, I must get out more....

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mother's day - things for the kids to make

Ok, maybe a little bit late, but if you want to get the kids busy for mum or Nana, The Crafty Crow has some lovely little ideas with beautiful photos and links. 

Actually, go to her site proper for all sorts of cool stuff you can do with the kids. I can spend hours fossicking around on here, and there are great things in the archives and you can follow links to just about anywhere! 

Oooh, yay for spending waaay too much time on the net, hahaha!

And while I'm at it, look at this little cutey from Red Bird Crafts,


complete with tutorial of course.

Ok, better leave it at that for now, I could put more and more on here as I've collected all sorts of great links and tutes that I'll share at some point, cos I know you're dying to see them right?!

Gee if only there were 26 hours a day, and we didn't have to sleep, imagine the things you could get done!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Steam vaporizer - good for congestion?

My one year old has a cold. Snot, conjunctivitis, chesty cough, snot, oh and a new molar. And snot, did I mention snot? Right, you get the picture. This is a different cold to the one he gave me recently, from which I am still sense of taste and smell are slowly coming back after nearly 2 weeks hiatus.

So after having to resettle him about nine times overnight, I'm thinking a steam vaporizer might be a worthwhile investment. I checked out two of the popular models on my trusty review site to see what other people are saying, the Vicks Warm Steam Vaporizer and the TAAV Vaporaire. I'm unsure though, wouldn't pumping out steam create a damp problem in the room? Or do you just air it out well during the day? Would it make the room too hot? The bub is still in mine and hubby's room, so three people plus steam? Hmm.

Well, at the chemist I managed to get to they only had the Euky Bear vaporizer. After inquiring about the Vicks model I was told they no longer carry it because of so many complaints that it 'sounded like a steam train'. The Euky Bear vaporizer gets the best feedback, so that's all they carry. It's the most expensive too. Oh well.

As for a damp problem, I certainly wouldn't run it for nights on end. The smaller the room, the more condensation my four year old's room, I have to lay an old towel along the window sill, or the condensation runs down the window, over the ledge and soaks the carpet.

In mine and hubby's room where baby is, I just leave the door a little ajar and air out well during the day.

No, it doesn't seem to raise the temperature in the room.

It does keep the air from drying out and the eucalyptus adds a lovely smell to the air, but hubby hates the smell so no more adding
eucalyptus to the water. I wouldn't actually buy the eucalyptus that comes with the machine again, it's quite expensive and the machine doesn't NEED it, and I'm sure you could get it unbranded but cheaper if you really wanted it.

I paid about $70 for the machine and about $12 for the eucalyptus.

Yes, expensive.

However it is quiet, it is very safe....bub can't access the water or burn himself if he happens across it, it works well and has a 2 year warranty.

I'm happy with it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Does your child eat chalk?

My one year old has some current favourite foods. These are....chalk:


See the yellow chalk dust round his mouth? He walked round for ages just chewing on this lump of chalk, drooling yellow dust all down his front. This was not an isolated incident either, whenever we're out on the driveway drawing, he's out there chewing.

Crayons: hmmm, maybe it's something about the colour yellow??


Although he completely ingested a chunk of brown crayon a day ago. I told dh we'd see it in his nappy in a day or so. His reply, "brown crayon, think about it". Er right, unless I do a poop dissection, I won't know if it's out. And I already know more than I want to about poop, see my how to remove poop from your carpet post here....

What else? Playdough, paper bags, as well as more normal things like cheese, yoghurt, strawberries. Oh well, I suppose most of the former things are all non-toxic, and the makers of these products obviously make them non-toxic for a very specific reason....

Don't remember my eldest child eating anything he could get his little hands on..
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