Saturday, March 30, 2013

Accusations of poor parenting



"There isn't even cereal in this pantry" accused Mr H the other day. 

That is what he said, but what he was implying was that my mothering skills were so lacking that I was not even capable of providing my offspring with breakfast. With all that time off I have the least I could do would be to ensure no one starved on the weekends.

Well that is what I heard.


There was of course FOUR boxes of cereal in the pantry and what he should have said was "Can you please stop buying the cereal that is high in fibre and low in sugar, because I would really like to have diabetes at a young age, so please provide me with food items that are loaded with processed flours and covered in sugar.

Of course I responded in the most mature way I know how and spat rude comments at him under my breath, decided he was on Dance Mum duty and I headed off to the shops...for half the day. 

Calm has been restored. And the pantry is restocked.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kids Style: A Target review and giveaway

I wrote recently about how I spend too much on kids clothes. When a friend asked me this week where I got Immy's lovely dress from I told her "A shop with great clothes, where I spend way too much money". I have even recently entered the shop while uttering, "Hello, it's me again, your friendly stalker".

But I have my limits.

I like to buy bits and pieces that I love to look at and the girls love to wear but I always team them with target basics and have done since I started buying kids clothes. Usually this means plain coloured long sleeve tops, leggings and t-shirts.

As I am now on the payroll at Target, they asked me to check out the kids autumn clothing range and see if there was anything that my girls liked. The question really was, would the current range suit my kids 'style'.

I had to stop and think about that for a bit. Do my kids have a 'style'? Do I have a 'style' for my kids?

Yes. We both do.

You may disagree and think you and your kids don't do 'styles' but I would still suggest you do. Maybe yours is 'vintage style', maybe you never buy dresses for your daughter because you know she just would never wear them, maybe your son has heaps of Thomas clothes handed down from other people because everyone knows he loves Thomas the Tank so much or perhaps you want your child to be on Toddlers and Tiaras and so they are wearing Botox.

So what 'style' do I have.

Well, I can be a little strict with clothes. I don't like little girls in teenage or grown up clothing. I don't like little girls in high heels. I am not a huge fan of preschoolers in all black. I don't like to buy ripped jeans, (but if they rip and the kids wear them in the back yard that is ok). I do like to buy Australian designer stuff in boutiques, I hate it when the girls grow out of certain brands that stop at baby/toddler sizes.

This week I took Popps and Immy to Target and told them they could pick any outfit they wanted.

ANYTHING.

Target had given me $50 to get the outfits so they had a limit of $25 each. Together they decided they wanted something that was "same-same". This is a game they play at home together where they try and get dressed as twins and be "same-same"



Problem was Immy wanted a dress and Popps wanted pants. Immy wanted pink and Popps wanted purple. A style clash was underway but then they both decided that jeggings would be excellent.

Not my usual choice, but I was staying silent for once.

They headed to the change rooms loaded with items to try on and had quite a good time in there.

ha ha ha ha - boobie bras...

In the end, they couldn't decide on anything same-same so they got as close as they could. Jeggings and stripey long sleeve tops.

Target girls long sleeve top

As usual, the prices were good, we got the lot, the top Popps picked was only $5.60 plus I managed to slip in the new Donna Hay magazine for myself all for $51.00.

Popps put her outfit on at home and asked me to watch her concert on the swings (for the 93rd time this week). Jeggings, she declared are excellent for being a gymnast - and just like that, a new kids style is born - Backyard Gym Wear.



Target girls clothing, target play clothes, target jeggings



Target kids clothes



Win your own Target Shopping Trip

If you want to check out the Target range and not have to spend a cent, leave me a comment describing your fashion style. The comment that interests me the most wins a $40 target voucher.


The rules are:

The prize is ONE $40 gift voucher from Target

One entry per person - UNLESS - you follow me on bloglovin, (just click here and hit the follow button http://www.bloglovin.com/claireyhewitt) then if you feel like it you can pop back and write another comment and enter twice. (I get an email telling me who follows me, so I will know if you are tricking me!)

Australian residents only.

Competition opens Thursday 28 March and closes Tuesday 2 April at 8 pm.



THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. 







Cooking with Kids: Easter Bunny Scones


The season is upon us and we have been the recipient of too many bunnies in this house. 

Immy and I had an afternoon to entertain ourselves and she always chooses to cook something when she is given the chance to choose a game. 

At Christmas time she was given a kids cook book and she loves the scone recipe, I have changed it slightly, depending on what I have in the fridge and this time Mr Rabbit met his end by having his ears bitten off and then some of his body being smashed up and placed into the scone mixture, and that is how we ended up with Easter Bunny Scones.

I like this recipe because it is so basic, also, the scones are cooked on baking paper in the frying pan so the kids watch them cook.

Immy loves the dough and plays with that while it cooks, she draws pictures in flour on the board and enjoys the entire process. 

In pictures:

Start with a bunny, bite off the ears and smash up some chocolate. Eat a few pieces. 






Put  2 cups of  SR flour, 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of cream into the bowl and stir.

Add a cup of sultanas and the smashed up bunny - how ever much you want.

Keep stirring.







Tip out onto a floured board and let little hands squish and roll and fold and squeeze. 
Flour sprinkling required along the way.





Use whatever shape cutter you want to cut out the scones.

In the frying pan, on some baking paper, medium heat, place the scones.

 Cook for 5 minutes, turn and cook for another five. 







At the same time, let the little people play.






Do not lick the chocolate straight away, you shall burn your tongue.





Plate them up and add in school lunch boxes for a couple of days.






Happy Easter





Monday, March 25, 2013

Three little words making me ranty.

I know there are much bigger things to be worried about in the world. Awful is flourishing. But I still have a list of things that I don't like right now and the most pathetic thing on that list are these three little words:

LINK IN COMMENTS

I know why you do it.

I know it is to try and increase readership to blogs, to get around the silly people at facebook that play with who sees what and when. I understand.

I even did it myself once to see if it made a difference. I am not convinced it does, but there is no real proof.

End of the day - it's just annoying.

It is even more annoying if you have your facebook linked to twitter and I see a tweet that says "Link in comments". Thanks for nothing. Clearly I can not click on that now, can I?

Because I am small minded at times I just don't click on these posts at all. 

I am really sorry, I know there are so many people that do this,  highly likely that I am a grumpy old man in thirty something nana clothing, but I just don't like it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Drawtism

We don't have the game Pictionary and I looked for it in the shops the other day and I couldn't find it, but everyone knows it. Lot's of people do have it, and if you are one of those people then dust off the box, call around some friends and have a party.

Not that you ever really need an excuse, but if you were waiting on a reason to start playing and have some fun. HERE. IT. IS.

DRAWTISM!

Drawtism


You now when you are playing Pictionary and you are drawing something really great but no one understands what you are trying to say. You can't use words, you start flapping your hands, you look at the ceiling and roll your eyes wishing other people could concentrate and see what you see on the paper.

Sometimes, this is how other people feel nearly all the time. Some people with Autism.

Drawtism is the excellent idea from Alpha who are trying to increase understanding of Autism and of course raise funds to assist in research and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The idea is simple, yet fun. Firstly, be creative anyway you want, but get a group together and start playing a game of Pictionary. You can make up the rules yourself regarding fund raising. For instance, maybe it is a $2 entry to play, it is $1 in the jar every time a team doesn't get the picture correctly...or fine people for the silliest drawing. You could have some food and drinks while you are at it and your own little auction of stuff - maybe everyone brings something they have always wanted to regift and you can all auction them off to each other, funds all going straight to the jar too.

But you don't have to fundraise. Sometimes the conversation can be the biggest thing. Perhaps you could just have a game and explain to your children the concept. Explain that this is how some children they meet might often feel, possibly one of the children in their own classroom, their swimming lesson or dancing class.

The Drawtism team have everything you need to host an event, you don't really need to do all that much. Hop over to the website and they will send you a kit, or just print out what you need.


The website is http://drawtism2013.gofundraise.com.au/

The Freecall number is 1800 606 656

Drawtism Postcard

And if you are having a party - send me in an invite. If you blog it - let me know and I will add a link to your post on this one too.






Thursday, March 21, 2013

Making a change

"Someone should do something about that" said my hairdresser.

"The council never comes out to look after this area" said the lady in the shoe shop

"Our school isn't very good at fundraising" said I.

In day to day life you always hear about how those other people should get their act together and fix things up, do something, make stuff better, organise a change.

The primary school Popps attends is a lovely school, but when I talk with other friends and family about the fees they pay, the fundraising they do, the functions they hold for the schools benefit, I know that our school is losing out. We have a very small voluntary fee per family, only a third of parents have paid it this year, it isn't that they can't afford to pay the amount it is just the mind set. The belief that they shouldn't have to.

We all know that if you get people organised, get them encouraged, get them working towards a goal, however small, then you can achieve things. You can make changes. Change might be slow, but it will occur. To change the mind of people to make them see that investing in education, investing in children, investing in your local community is a very wise choice. It's not just financial investment that is required, it's gardeners and fence builders, canteen helpers and people contacting library books. People turning sausages or donating easter eggs.

This can not be done by sitting home watching Packed To The Rafters and eating chocolate on the couch.

I know this because I have tried that for the last year. No matter how many times I read the weekly newsletter, change has not been made.

On Monday night I will be busy attending my first Parents and Friends school meeting. I don't really know what to expect or how much I can add, but I know I don't want to be one of those people who waits for everyone else to do things.

Are you on the P&F or the school council, the canteen roster or the fundraising committee? Any tips?




Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Easter Bunny goes online.

I headed out to do some shopping 'sans kids' today. While I was out I thought I might check out the Easter eggs for this year. They left me a little bored, Easter eggs really haven't changed in decades. It may be only once a year, but there are only so many Humpty Dumpty eggs and Elegant Rabbits you can consume in a life time.

I headed home and started a search and stumbled on these goodies which are all available online - Easter Bunny wouldn't even need to leave the house to deliver these.

Click on the image to take you straight to the supplier.


Ok, I admit, the photography in this one did make me think of 'Hare Balls' - but for the more mature in your family, grab these from Koko Black 





A little less Easter looking, but still very very fun. These are in Melbourne at Burch and Purchese, and available at the online store too.


A cute little bag of chocolates from Oxfam Australia, they also had a range of options suitable for Easter, and some blocks of chocolate that might be handy to have in the pantry!



Another classy option from Koko Black




Also from Burch and Purchese. The girls will love these and they are hoping (can I write hopping!!) to get these in their Easter baskets.


This is a more useful option for the teeny ones in your family. I just can not buy yet another soft toy, no matter how cute the Bilby or Bunny is. This pack is at least useful for entertaining and carrying a few googgies from an egg hunt. It is from Haighs, but you might need to head into a store to grab one. 



I spent quite some time on this website - Heart of Chocolate.
The thing I kept going back to was the drinking chocolate. I think it is a perfect gift for the many people who just don't want to eat 87 Easter eggs in one weekend. As usual, I was impressed by the packaging too, but I am a sucker for modern packaging of old products.





How do you celebrate Easter - is chocolate a part of your celebration? Any further ideas for online Easter shopping?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Our Bookshelf



There is a lot of reading in our house and we are forever tripping over books and fighting about who read it last and who should have put them away.

There are just too many books in the world and not enough time to read them all. A bad book wastes the time you could have had on a good book, so here are the favourites in the Huey house lately.


For Little Kids:
Immy loves The Game in the Dark by Herve Tullet. This is great fun book for before bed. It is a glow in the dark book that she and Mr H have a lot of fun with. They use the torch and make shapes on the wall, they hold their hands on the pages and "charge up" the page with the torch to make new images. They make up the story each time they 'read it'. There are no words in this book. It is purely up to you to be the story maker, the fun guide, the teller of tales.

For Primary School:
Popps just can not get enough of the the old style Enid Blyton books, a big thank you to all the people who have found them in their local op shops or sent them to us. The collection continues to grow and the stories are already being re-read over and over again. Some of the books are quite a few decades old and we love reading the inscriptions in many of them.

Me: How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm.
I have struggled recently to get into any fiction books, but this book was fascinating. Don't read it if you are looking for a parenting book to give you answers on what you should be doing with your child. I read this book like I would a magazine with really interesting articles on what people are doing in other countries. This book is a true highlight to remind you that whatever parenting tactics you are using, that might not be 'right' to the rest of your community, that somewhere else they might think you are perfectly normal.  I did find the author, who has one child, referred to herself and her parenting a little too often, to be honest, I am not interested in her style and her child. But this didn't detract from my overall love of the book. It was a book with a little parenting, and a lot of travel, learning cultures and hearing of traditions that families around the world have used to raise their children.

Man Reads: Yes, that is a little gender stereotyping, but there are some books I just don't read, and Mr H reads many of them. I call them Man Reads because he has usually borrowed them from either my Dad or his own father. Tom Clancy is a regular author in the Man Reads pile. I have no idea what it is about or how good it is but I know Mr H is burning through it pretty quickly.

What's on your bookshelf this month?


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Halls Gap with Kids - Mackenzie Falls


Mackenzie Falls is one of the jewels in the Halls Gap crown. It is one of the most popular spots for tourists to the town to visit.

It’s a little drive out of the township and you can stop at other spots a long the way if you are keen to see as much as possible.

If your husband considers himself a rally car driver then you may feel slightly carsick by the time you wind around the mountain and arrive at Mackenzie Falls. But otherwise the drive is pretty easy.

A view from about half way down.


When you get started you will notice that there are a options for walks, depending on your ability. We chose the hardest walk which is about a 2km return trip.

Once upon a time this path was pretty basic, more of a goat track with rocks to navigate, no longer is this the case. The path is now completely paved, there are stairs where once there were only rocks to climb on. I recall 20 years ago that this walk was much harder.

While there are the easier options the best place to view the Falls is from the bottom.



Mr H, Popps and I made it down very easily, Immy was tired from a big weekend and found the steps too steep to walk down. She is not a good long distance walker at the best of times. Mr H carried her most of the way down.

Downhill walking is easy for those with bad cardio fitness but Mr H and I both suffered from jelly calves at the bottom. That feeling that your calf muscles are wobbly.





We spent about an hour at the bottom, just paddling our feet in the rock pools, lazing in the sunshine and hanging out. You are not meant to swim in the pool at the bottom of the rocks, I am not sure if this is a new thing since the floods in 2011 which would have made it more dangerous but in the past we have gone in for a dip.





The walk back up is a tiny bit harder.

Immy survived about 30 metres before being carried the rest of the way. Mr H is pretty fit and he took off with Immy on his back and found it pretty easy.



This is me hiking up, not looking very glam!


I am not so fit.

I found the stairs on the way up a little tiring but there are stops every 30 metres or so which made it pretty easy. Popps took off fast and made it to the top of the stairs and then started to say she couldn’t make it. We stopped for a few minutes together and then headed up slowly. At the final look out she whinged that she didn’t want to walk up anymore, but we were only about 30 metres from the top and once she realised that she was fine.

Really Truly, it is a very short distance, there were many people who looked REALLY unfit but they were still managing this walk. It will get your heart rate up a tiny bit but it won’t last very long!




Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Looking fresh

It was well past time.

My old blog was looking as old as I have been feeling, so I called some help and got a blog makeover.

If you are in an email or a reader you will need to click on the heading to see what I am talking about. The heading that says "Looking Fresh" in bold, just click it and see what happens...


It used to look like this:




We are still playing around a bit but hopefully the new look is something you all like. Gone are the pictures of me and the girls and in is a more simple heading that is suitable for now.

Gone is the left hand column and all the junk that it started to fill up with.

And in are some new buttons - just over there - to the right, the little blue squares, there is one for all the other places I hang out, there is even one for Instagram, where I can be found micro blogging on days that I don't blog, especially as so far this year there have been quite a few days blog free.

Thanks to Liz Griffiths for being more than patient with my changing requests and late night emails and for doing all the hard work behind the scenes.

Due to the spammers hanging around here so much lately I have also turned off the Anon comments, I know this will restrict some of you, let me know if it does and I can consider turning them back on again, but for now, the spam comments are just toooo many.








Friday, March 8, 2013

What colour are your eyes?


For a long time I just thought I had blue eyes, my dad had blue eyes, my sister and brother had blue eyes and mine were just the same.

Then one day when I was around 13, I was in the country pub in the town we lived in – the only establishment considered a restaurant so of course kids were there along with everyone else - when one of the old drunk men regularly holding up the bar said to me “You have funny coloured eyes”. I was too polite to speak back to adults so I must have just stared at him a bit without saying anything.

“You have cold eyes” he continued “they are grey, they are the colour of Nazi soldiers”.  This was not sounding good.  I walked off and like all early teens I thought about it for months wondering if other people thought I had funny coloured eyes. If they did, no one ever said anything.

Well not until I went to an Iridologist to get some help with migraine headaches.

She was nicer, “What interesting coloured eyes you have.” She went on to diagnosis my migraines as dehydration related and said I did actually have blue eyes but they were so dehydrated they had a yellow tinge which made them a funny colour. I simple had to drink the potion she sold, for the bargain price of $96 a day* and I would be cured of migraines and have normal blue eyes.

I drank and drank and then I drank some more potion. I still got migraines and my eyes never changed colour.

Most photos you really cant tell exactly what colour my eyes are. I usually never even give it any thought, but last weekend Dorothy took a picture of Immy and me and in that photo, the first thing I noticed was that Immy has the same colour. They used to be blue, but they are not anymore.

She has my eyes, whatever colour they are.







What colour are your eyes? Do your kids have the same?




*This may be an exaggeration, but I remember it being really expensive.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Venus Baths - a walk for everyone

On the weekend we headed off to the the Grampians for the unblogged weekend.

During that time we squished in as many things as we could and one of them was a walk to the Venus Baths.

If you get to the Grampians and would like to do a walk but don't want to do anything that requires more than a basic level of fitness, this is a great walk to do. There are lots of harder walks, but sometimes you either don't have the time to do them, the kids can't manage them or your fitness levels may not make the walk enjoyable. This is the walk for you!



After the floods in 2011 the entire walk was closed down and it has recently re-opened. The track is fantastic and easy to manage. Someone has dropped some major cash into this walking track which makes it really accessible. Both the girls managed this distance and the terrain ok. We stopped along the way for rock climbing and flower picking and searching for water in the river - there is not a lot right now.




The destination is well worth it on a warm day, there is a great swimming hole for grown up people and  natural waterslides for little people. Popps swam in the main water hole and we had to bribe her to get out.

We didn't bother with towels or any extra items, they walked in bathers and dried off like lizards on a rock before we left. We took one water bottle to share and that was it.





If you are giving the natural waterslides a whirl - BE CAREFUL - they are VERY slippery. Children need to be on their bottoms BEFORE they stand in the water, otherwise they will be on their backsides very quickly and with a thump.  Thankfully we returned with no broken wrists as they both hit the rocks on more than one occasion. The slippery surface does make for an excellent fun slide though.





To get to Venus Baths, just park in the main car park in Halls Gap, head to the tennis courts, walk through the gate of the botanical gardens and follow the signs.

You may also choose to see if you can get your head through the gate - this is like an optional extra!




Venus Baths is an easy 2.3 km return trip. On a warm day it provided lots of shade and was not difficult.










You don't have to travel far to find wonderful little spots like this.  Next time you have a free weekend, jump in the car and head to the hills!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Phew.

Phew.

When I put the call out to see if anyone wanted to come and be unblogged with me I knew I was taking a big risk that no one else would come along.

It's a long way for some people to travel. Lot's of people are not big fans of weekends away. Kids have sport commitments and dance classes that shouldn't be missed and some people just don't want to go.

But, there are a great group of people heading to the Grampians today, bloggers, non bloggers, blogger families and Mums having a kid free weekend. They are camping, sharing houses and relaxing in cabins. Some are taking bikes, and bathers to enjoy leisure time together, others are planning to workshop some ideas for their blogs.

On Saturday afternoon we are all getting together and having a big communal meal that can roll on for hours, surrounded by kangaroos and cocky's, emus and flies. We will have a fire for the night time, glow sticks, sparklers, marshmallows and red wine.

Thank you to the wonderful people who have taken a leap of faith and followed one of my crazy ideas. I  hope you all have a great time, but already, you have made my day.


Now, just to get ready for the dog sitter, and pack the car, the bikes, the bathers and towels........

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