Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cat pee Christmas tree, the saga continues

Well the cat pee Christmas tree saga continues. After days of sitting next to the said Christmas tree and thinking "I am sure I can smell a whoof of cat pee, stupid freakin Christmas tree (add more expletives here)". I decided I had to do something about it or I was going to throw the tree in the rubbish bin, which in itself would be difficult considering the size of the tree vs the size of our rubbish bin.

So on a beautiful sunny Monday afternoon my daughter and I got a giant bin of soapy, disinfected, lavender smelling hot water and started to submerge the separate chunks of Christmas tree in it. Shaking it around trying to rid that evil tree of its stinky odour. Now this took approximately an hour to do, due to the tree being made up of approximately 50 branches. I then laid the branches out on the concrete patio to dry.

Later submerging the Christmas decorations, I know what you are thinking, "really could those pretty glittery decorations sourced directly from the posh Wharehouse chain of stores, survive a dunking in soapy water." Well to put your mind at ease, apparently they can survive two dunking's a bit of a swirl and even being blown across the patio numerous times before being captured and placed in a metal bowl.

So after 2 hours of drying time, I ventured outside and smelt a few branches to be satisfied the stench had gone. I brought a whole bunch back inside and started to assemble the "pain in the butt Christmas tree of the year." After two rows had been put together I noticed a familiar stench entering my delicate nostrils, it was CAT PEE!!!! Seems the first wash had worked on some branches but not all. GRRRRrrr (actual noise uttered).

Out went all the branches (some thrown, some hiffed against the concrete patio), by this time it was getting late and I should have been cooking dinner. But I thought if I didn't try washing it again now then the tree was a gonner. So I started the process all over again, finishing in 30mins due to having quite a skill set in washing Christmas trees by this point.

Only this time I seemed to have an audience of builders, that were working in the section above us (so they had the perfect view). I am pretty sure they thought I had lost my marbles and would have gone home to their partners/wives and said "Oh my god do you know what we saw today...." I really wanted to yell up to them, "THE CAT PEED ON MY TREE" but was worried that it would just make me sound even crazier, so I kept my thoughts to myself and laughed on the inside (again laughing out loud probably wouldn't have given the best impression either).

The result of my crazy Christmas tree washing seems to be a success, it hardly smells now and I think what I am smelling now is a touch of paranoia. I have also moved the Christmas tree to the other side of the room, so that I am no longer sitting two inches away from the tree. So now my little 10month old is having a blast pulling off a decoration having an intense look at it then tasting it and leaving it on the ground to go after the next decoration. Quite the contrast to my destructor daughter at the same age. She didn't bother looking at the Christmas decorations, she just yanked off as many decorations as she could reach in as shortest time as possible, trying if possible to pull the tree over while she was doing it.

So in conclusion, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a cat pee free Christmas tree.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tis the season to smell cat pee

I would like to formally thank the neighbours cats for giving me another smell to associate with Christmas. I can now add the lovely aroma of cat pee to the smell of pine, candles, roast turkey and copious amounts of chocolate.

We had an issue a while ago where the neighbours giant fat tom cat was getting into our garage and peeing on EVERYTHING. Now we keep the cat door locked and our only remaining cat left stays inside, so the cat pee has stopped. Alas I pulled out the Christmas tree this morning (I know I am a month early but bribing my daughter to forget a present I brought in her company yesterday) anyway the Christmas tree and decorations STINK. Nothing like a cat pee Christmas tree, tis the season after all.

I have sprayed it with Oust, sprinkled it in Baking Soda (quite clever as it looks like snow) and now have it sitting outside in the wind trying to rid id of that horrible smell. In desperation and after googling it I then sprayed the entire tree with vinegar and water, as you can imagine there was a bit of fizzing with the baking soda but its all good. I now have an overwhelming smell of vinegar, but that is actually preferable to cat pee.

I have a spot all picked out for the Christmas Tree, on top of the big thick coffee table, out of reach of my little man. Problem is that is right next to Hubby's and my chair mmmmm not sure I am looking forward to a month of cat pee smell while watching TV. I hope the smell disappears.

My daughter has been decorating the tree for the last 30mins, so now it is really well decorated. The decorations are thick and fast in a 30cm band around the middle of the Christmas tree, nothing above and nothing below. Now I just have to decide if I leave this new fandangle styled tree like it is or fix up the decorations once she goes to bed. I tend to be a bit of a decoration freak and have to make sure everything is balanced and equal space apart. Maybe now is my chance to get over this............ahhhhh no me thinks I will just sit there every night for the next month or so clenching my fists thinking ahhhhh need to move decorations need to move decorations.

Good news is that the smell seems to have gone a bit, either that or I have gotten used to it. The true test is when we have visitors if they look like little bunny rabbits sniffing away then I have not got rid of the smell.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gone but hopefully not forgotten

OK I have been missing in action, lost to the blogging world. My brilliant thoughts have been rattling around in my head all alone (laughs). My ability to stick to things has faltered yet again, although my house is at this current moment clean and tidy. There have been multiple times where I have taken the recycling out to the curb in my PJ's. A few times where the clean washing was piled up so high on the bed that it was just about easier to sleep in the spare room. I have failed to put makeup on and have managed to find some manky old track pants to wear around home.  But if nothing else the kids and I have been having fun, creating cardboard cars, making playdough and playing in the park.

I hereby state that I will no longer let my thoughts rattle around in my head all alone and forlorn........... I will try and force others to read them as well. Good night and happy blogging.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sick again.....

I have just been hit with the fifth cold this winter. That's ridiculous, its more colds than I have had in the last 5 years and I am not kidding. For two years I didn't even get a cold or flu (pre kids and during my first pregnancy). Its like my immune system is saying "woohoooo come one, come all, free entry to all colds and other annoying illnesses, I am shut down and don't feel like protecting my owner today". What is so different in my life today than three years ago when I was super healthy and never got sick. I have one word for you "CHILDREN".

Don't get me wrong I love my kids so so much, but it seems that having two kids screws with your immune system. Well mine anyway. Seems lack of sleep doesn't help either. I also have to go with the fact that we are getting out and spending a lot of time around other kids at play centre and music class etc so we are bound to get more bugs. The sad thing is that my little man has been the one to pass the bugs onto me every time (no matter how many times I wash my hands), poor little dude has had 5 colds since he was born as well. Luckily he is pretty laid back and its only the snotty noise that gets him annoyed.

It wouldn't be so bad if it were just the cold. But I have this annoying inherited asthmatic cough that I get after every cold that lasts 3-4 weeks. Where I have massive coughing fits to the point where I spew, sneeze or lately just cry as I am so tired and over it. Night time is the worst which makes sleeping difficult. Considering how long the winter is and that I have had five colds that last about four weeks in length then I have hardly had any time cough free this winter ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

So this morning I decided that I need to get my body back in tip top condition. Who cares about my weight or toning my body. My aim is to get my immune system back in tip top condition to the point where it laughs in the face of a cold. Now just to figure out how........

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Green Nappy

When I say my green nappy, I don't mean my little man had kiwifruit yesterday and I am paying for it today. What I am talking about are keeping it green with environmental re-useable nappies. I am so old school in the fact that I LOVE my re-useable nappies. Or am I super modern? As these things are coming back into fashion. Either way I love using them, I love the feeling I get when I pass by the nappies in the supermarket and don't have to buy any. I love seeing those colourful little nappies all lined up on the line. I love that my rubbish bin is empty of disposable nappies. I love seeing that puffy little bum that reusable's create. Although I love using reusable's I realise that it is not everyone's thing, and I really don't judge or care if others don't use them. Whatever works for you I say.

What brought this on? Well my little boy is no longer little and has outgrown his Nappy Days Bamboo nappies (small size). Yes I now realise I should have brought the nappies that fit from birth to potty. Anyway he has outgrown them and it is time to sell them. I shouldn't be sad, but I love them, they have been so brilliant. They never leaked, when I had trouble with disposable nappies at the beginning my lovely little reusable's kept it all in. I even loved them when I went out. I just wished I had had them for my daughter as well. They are all pretty colours, I did wonder why when, the colourful part is on the inside, but I think it is for the mum. When I put those nappies on the line, oh it makes me happy to see those pretty colours all lined up.

So my little man is in some giant nappies now, bland old white ones, but they are still very good. A mixture of bamboo ones and flexitots again from Nappy days. I also have a pocket nappy. The covers I use are actually ecobots system and are really good as double gusseted. I seem to have an obsession with reusable nappies and want to keep on buying them. But I really don't need anymore so must control my urges. It is going to be really hard, I might have to start a 12 step program.

Another thing I use are cloth wipes. They are soooooo easy, you can sew them yourself if you want and they get poop off so much quicker than disposable wipes. They are so easy to wash and bubba really couldn't care less what I use on his bum. I also found these cool waterproof bags on trade me that have funky patterns on the outside. These can be used to put clean wet material clothes in it for the car etc. Also for dirty nappies, dirty cloths. Personally I want lots of those bags, but due to being on a budget I will just stick with the one.

I came across this site that has lots of information about reusable's
http://www.mygreennappy.org/
There are so many good options out there. What I love even more is that a lot of sites have information on how to make your own nappies and that is super super cool (pity I don't own those skills).

http://www.greenbeans.co.nz/

Anyway I will leave you with these thoughts and may I also say I LOVE TO REUSE! Yeah to going old-school.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

May the power be with you.

Well, after another massive power bill and the fact that it isn't getting any warmer around here, we are enforcing a power budget. Anyone who knows me will laugh at that, thinking I am normally on a budget anyway. Yes I know, but as time goes by I seem to slack up, and after watching old re-runs of environmental programs on TV I decided to kick our house back into shape.

I refuse to let us be cold, as that is how we seem to get sick. So we heat the room that we are in and only that room. Luckily thanks to my wonderful husband he had the forethought to get heat pumps put in the lounge and our bedroom ready for this winter. We already had a large heat pump in the main living area, but that is in the open living area. It has to heat the entire hallway, any rooms that are open and deal with the cold air coming up the staircase from the garage. So after spending last winter cold and still paying a massive power bill Hubby decided to take action. So we now heat the lounge (door closed) and the kids bedrooms when they are sleeping.


The following rules are ones I put in place mainly for me, as I am home all day so I am the one using the majority of the power, apart from those that I like to call the excessive shower-ers.

  • 5min showers, I am even buying shower timers for this, as the people in this house are notorious for having 20-30min showers and it drives me nuts. I haven't gone with the hard core turn off the shower after 5 min timers.  But just a crappy little one from Trademe. Although I have warned people that I will be randomly standing outside the door timing them to make sure they stick to the 5mins (meanie much).
  • I will only do one load of washing a day. Seems simple but with 2 kids and a hubby that works out a lot, it could become difficult. The thinking on this one is that I maximise the washing machine space and put no half washes through. I have put lots of plastic bins next to the washing machine so I can sort washing as I take it down there. Thus only washing the clothes in the bin that is full each day.
  • I will hang my washing outside or in the garage where possible, and any that needs to be dried quickly can be put in the drying cupboard (I haven't used the dryer in years, still not sure why someone as cheap as me has one). The drying cupboard is the special place I invented thanks to my mums idea. The spare room cupboard has now been converted to a drying cupboard with a dehumidifier in it. Rather than drying the clothes in the spare room dehumidifying the entire room. I am just dehumidifying the small space of the cupboard instead. Plus it comes with handy clothes hangers and a shelf. My mum has a special drying cupboard they got built into their new house, it has an air-conditioning duct in there. It is the most fantastic thing ever.
  • I will only use the dishwasher once a day. I tend to fill it up and when I have to wash baby's bottles I fill the sink up as I normally would, clean the bottles then do the rest of the dishes in the dishwasher, thus using the water I already had in the sink anyway.
  • Lights off when not in a room is normal for us.
  • Unplug any appliances not being used (apart from the TV, hard drive, surround sound as I refuse to reprogram the time every day). I told our house guest that I will check in his room as he constantly leaves his cell phone charger plugged in and on with no cell phone attached to it.
  • If I have the oven on (which I don't much as I use the crock pot most of the time) then I might as well make a cake or cupcakes as well..... I know that isn't saving power if I wasn't going to cook the cake anyway but my tummy gets happy from this.

Hoping this next power bill will be better, but due to the fact we decided this half way through the month, I don't see it being brilliant. Next month should be great as we are away for some of it. I have to say that I am not looking forward to the GST increase on power.  That is going to be a giant increase and a great incentive to cut back on the power.  Good luck and may the power be with you.......

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pay it forward in kindness

There are either those who give, and expect nothing in return or those who just take. I try and surround myself with those who give, and not because I want things, but because I don't like to feel like I am being taken advantage of.

I know some amazing people, who would do anything for you. To me those people stand out from the crowd, its like they glow. They are always the first to offer help, no matter what is happening in their own lives. They care how you are and how you are dealing with things, even if they hardly know you. Yet these people don't expect anything in return and they never ask you for anything.

Its sad that there are people out there that are happy to take other peoples time and energy but are very reluctant to give anything back or to help those in need. These people are few and far between, well in my life they are anyway, as I make it a point not to include them in my life as they tend to suck you dry and make you feel worthless.

When I give or do something for someone, I never want anything in return. All I ask is that, the person I help is willing to help others when they see a need. A sort of pay it forward situation.

Realistically its as my mum always taught me "do unto others as you want them to do unto you".

I remember when I used to catch the bus to work, I was standing at the bus stop when the bus arrived. A guy standing there realised he didn't have enough money. Being that this was the stop by my house and that I see this guy every morning, I really didn't have a problem handing him the $1.50 for the bus fare. (Please note the 5 other people at the bus stop apparently didn't feel the same as me). He, on the other hand couldn't believe it and was determined to pay me back. I nearly laughed at him and said no really don't worry about. When he wouldn't shut up and kept on pestering me, I simply told him that all I wanted was for him to help someone else when they were in need. Now who knows if he ever did, but he seemed like the type that really appreciated that tiny piece of kindness. So I like to think that he did a good turn for someone else in need at some point.

So the message for today is: Treat others how you want to be treated. Get to know your neighbours. Help those in need and simply try and be a good person as this world is a much nicer place when their are kind caring people around you.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What is in a personality

I am fascinated to see my children grow and develop. To see their personalities being expressed through everyday activities. When they were born, it was fascinating to see what they would look like, and where they got their looks from. Now I am more fascinated with who my children are becoming and what their little personalities are going to be like.

Well it seems my older daughter is a little nutter. Hard not to be when you have two nutters as parents, that trait cannot be blamed on just me. She amazes me on a daily basis and is constantly making me laugh. She is a little performer, always signing and dancing for us, with the big finish and everything. Demanding that we clap at the end of her performance.

She is stubborn, hands and the hips stubborn, but again that is a trait shared by both her parents. The attention span I have to say she got from her mother. She has the attention span of a fish, approximately 7 seconds and you have lost her. I am hoping it is because she is two. Or if she does have my attention span then maybe she can learn from her dad. He seems to have an eternal attention span, he will stick to an activity until he has finished, no matter how long it takes (hours, days). Personally it irks me that he can stick to something for quite so long, when I gave up 4 hours ago and have done 15 things since.

The thing that has surprised me about my daughter is her love of being around other kids. I always knew that she liked other little kids but until taking her to activities on a regular basis I had no idea how much. When you are around your child all the time you forget that there are other little personalities out there that are so different from your own child's. Whenever she is at kindy gym or music class she will seek out another little girl (sorry boys but you will have to wait for her attention) and tries to sing and dance with them. Only on more than one occasion the other kids are freaked out by her hugging and kissing.

Alas we went to playcentre today for the first time. It was wonderful to see another little girl there just like my daughter. Friendly, kind, caring and pretty outgoing. They hit it off to start with and by the end of class they both running around in their fairy costumes holding hands and playing hide and seek with the boys.

My daughter has surprised me with how loving and caring she is with her brother. I was never really worried about her being mean or anything but she is just wonderful. No matter how much of a paddy she is packing, if her brother cries she will stop and go up to him and say "you OK baby, its alright I'm here". She always wants "baby hugs" and tells him how much she loves him. If she hurts herself or is upset she cries "I want baby hugs". I can't wait till he is big enough to play with her more as she will just love it.

My little man is still quite young, at 6 months, but already he has shown himself to be a laid back happy little man. He laughs at his sister dancing for him and is constantly trying to steal the remote. I can see him being a cheeky monkey like his dad. I guess as time goes by more will be revealed.

Each day is an awesome day around my children. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Saturday night is alright for.....



I got all excited on Saturday when I heard that the rugby was on. No I am not a rugby fan nor was I going to watch it. I was excited as it meant that Hubby was watching the rugby with friends and I could sit in the bedroom and watch whatever I wanted to on my TV. Antisocial much - mmmmmm I should probably work on that.

You see when we lived in our small little house I often watched TV upstairs in the bedroom while hubby watched it downstairs. But it didn't seem too antisocial as we still talked to each other as the house was small and the walls were like paper. But when we moved to our new house, Hubby started getting extremely lonely sitting in the lounge. Two closed doors and a long passageway between us. You see although I have direct line of site, window to window, its pretty much soundproof. So we made a rule, that unless I was coming to bed to sleep, we would sit in the lounge together. Which often means that we both compromise on what we watch and that I never get to watch dorky girly programs like, Top model or Glee. He is pretty good at compromising but even he has his limits.

So this Saturday I took my chocolate cake to my bedroom and set up camp for the evening. We are highly technical in the bedroom entertainment area. We have these advanced top of the line, crappy bunny ears. So my choices were pretty restricted. I have a fuzzy channel 1, the reception on channel 2 and 3 are actually OK. Prime is watchable if is raining and I cross my eyes slightly. Surprisingly I do get the Maori channel but only alternate days. Oh and I get Trackside which really isn't good for much as I am not a gambling girl. Although sad to say I have been known to watch those dogs go round and round and round and round the track, even if only for a few minutes.

So in the end I ended up settled for watching The Incredibles and typing away on my computer. I then turned the TV off at the end of the "kids" movie and went to sleep early. Oh the bliss of being a dork on Saturday night. Could life get much better. Yeah I know, I should probably get out more, but the fact is I really enjoy spending time by myself. Is that, so weird?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Random thought of the day

I have many random thoughts throughout the day that puzzle me and I often never know or find out the answers. So I thought for your amusement as to the weird and wonderful way my mind works I would include them below:

Can animals be Homosexual? I always used to wonder this, as I sat up on the top of the hill at smoko time, during docking season. I asked my father once but he just looked at me with a sideways glance and eyes rolling into the back of his head, in a oh my gosh not again look. I mean people pay huge money for stud animals, I was thinking Bulls and Rams in particular. After all that money is forked over what happens if that Bull or Ram simply doesn't swing that way.......... After all, Bulls and Rams pretty much only have one purpose. It would be a tiresome life if that was your job and you just weren't that into it.


Do modern Cold and Flu medicines simply enable us to better spread our germs making more people sick? In the old days if you were knocked out with a flu you would stay home to get over it, thus without knowing it putting yourself in a self quarantine. Bring on cold and flu medicines, which enable you to go into work. Although the medicines do reduce the coughing and sneezing you invariably still spread germs around. Making other workmates sick which make their families sick etc etc etc.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Uninspired

Who knew that my computer was the one sucking the life blood from me. OK I don't need to be that dramatic, really it's only stifling my creativity, draining my motivation and making me totally uninspired. Don't get me wrong, I love my computer and think I would find it hard to live without it and wireless. Yet when I am sitting at the computer all day, I seem to get writers block, artist block and cleaning block (OK that last one is just my laziness kicking in). Its amazing how you can wile away the hours sitting at the computer doing relatively nothing.


As soon as I physically separate myself from my computer, my mind starts working again. The cogs start turning, smoke starts coming out my ears and my brain kicks into gear. Even the simplest task of having a shower got me thinking about pictures to paint.

You see, inspiration has always been the sticking point for me. I have the motivation to paint if I have an idea for a composition. I have the motivation to write if I have an idea what to write about. But quite often I am stuck in front of my computer, eyeballs wandering from side to side, brain completely blank wondering what the hell to do next.

So I had a light blub moment: In order to write my blog or paint a picture, I need to step away from the computer. Basically I need "Computer Time Out".

So in the next few weeks one of two things may happen. I may not blog at all, or I will write totally inspired reads and post lots of pictures of my new paintings. Only time will tell.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Dear Garden, please forgive me

I thought I would write you this letter to apologise for everything I have done to you. I have neglected you, I have cheated on you, I have put everyone else's needs before your own. I have even let your greatest enemies invade your own house.

To my garden, I am sorry, please forgive me.

I can't excuse my terrible behaviour, my reasons are weak. You stay out in the cold all of the time, yet I can't find the courage to venture out for a few minutes in order to take care of you.

Beetroots and Carrots I'm sorry, I have let you live in an overcrowded situation. I neglected to weed out the weaklings and let the strong thrive. Alas I have fixed that situation now and I hope you find your housing situation adequate .

Onions where the hell have you come from, I didn't invite you. Yes you were staying with us last year but I sent you packing and DID NOT INVITE YOU BACK. I think it is inappropriate for you to leave your children with us without asking for them to stay. Alas I have evicted the children, if you are looking for them they are now playing in the compost play pen.

I also have to apologise to you again Mr Carrot. I have cheated on you and not only the once. Due to your "Thinning out" issue not putting on the muscle I like, I had to go elsewhere. I have shopped around and I hate to admit it but I have paid for it more than once. On other occasions I picked up some for free. I am sorry and the fact that you are taking your time building muscle doesn't mean I should go elsewhere but what is a carrot lover supposed to do.

I am also sorry for spending more time on the "inside vegetables" I know I shouldn't but their crib is just so much more comfortable. I find myself hanging out there just for the fun of it, talking to tomato, pepper and lettuce. I will try and share my time my equally and not discriminate on location, as that is just inappropriate.

As to letting your enemies stay with you, I cannot apologise more to you. I could have prevented the invasion, but I just ignored them. Chinese cabbage I can see that the bugs are just eating you up. I will try my best to get the exterminator in to get rid of those. If I could figure out who was staying it would be even easier, although I do have a sneaky suspicion that it is nasty Mr Grass Grub.

As to the overgrown "weeds" they have no right to stay, I sent them an eviction notice this morning, please let me know if they pop back in. Grass is supposed to be living on the lawn, but he seems to have moved out of their due to lack of food and moved right into your little nutritious house.

So all in all I am sorry garden, I didn't mean to take you for granted. I know that without love and care from me you find it hard to survive. If I want to get anything out of our relationship I know I have to put something in. I will try my best to change and take better care of you.


With Love

Your Absent Gardener

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Drug of Choice

My drug of choice is "SLEEP". I discovered this in the last week after getting at least 6 hours straight sleep every night. Its like I am on a total high, like someone has slipped something into my drink. Everything is lovely and even when the kids are being naughty they are still as cute as pie. Six hours sleep you say, that isn't much. Well you know what, I'm OK with six hours and I don't want to push my luck, I am thankful for what I am getting.

For those of you without children, you have NO idea. Oh yeah young people I hear you saying, "what I go out and don't sleep all night sometimes". Yes that may be, but you haven't felt the result of continued loss of sleep on a daily basis, for months on end. Every night only sleeping in 2 to 3 hour segments. Yes it adds up but you can never really get into that nice deep sleep that makes you feel alive in the morning.

There is a reason they use sleep deprivation as a form of torture, it makes you go loopy. New mums you haven't lost your marbles , you are just not getting enough sleep. I have a 5 month old boy who is only just now starting to sleep through (due to hunger). Over those months I thought I had permanently lost brain cells. I was forgetting everything, getting grumpy at the kids all the time and feeling overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks.

Well now after the week of at least 6 hours straight sleep every night I feel fantastic. I have my energy back. My memory is slowly returning, although I still forget at least 4 things on the shopping list that is mainly because we have baby meltdowns half way through. I feel like a normal human again and as I said everything my kids do seems to be absolutely wonderful. Probably because my kids are wonderful, super cute and so kind and caring (yes I am their mum I am allowed to say that).

The first child is usually a bit of a shocker on the sleep front, mainly because you are unaccustomed to getting no sleep. Then you child hits 3 or 4 months and starts sleeping (normally) and you get all hormonal and think it would be wonderful to have another child.

WARNING: Having a second child means a lot less sleep. For some reason having a second child makes the first child mysteriously wake every night in between the babies feeds. Also day time naps for mumma just are not in the books, as there is a toddler running around hitting you with the nearest toy every time you close your eyes. Thanks to the Wiggles you also get a "WAKE UP MAMMA". If by any chance both children happen to sleep at the same time, you are so wired from lack of sleep that all you can do is race around like a headless chock trying to get everything done, cleaning, cooking etc etc etc.
So all I can say is think wisely before you let the hormones take over.......Sleep is special.... Talking about sleep I think I will retire now and get my 6-7 hours worth ahhhhh life is good.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chocolate Gateau - Easy Recipe



Yes I actually made this, for people that know me they would be amazed.  Granted it doesn't look super pretty but dam it tasted good.  If only I had coffee essence as the coffee version tastes even better.  I thought I had better share this recipe as if I can make it then pretty much anyone can make it.

I can't take credit for this recipe, the lovely golfers at Pahiatua golf club are and in particular Nola Fergus is responsible.  The Golf club publishes a recipe book every year, including their favourite recipes and dam they are brilliant, these ladies are geniuses.

Sponge - gateau
Beat 4 large eggs, add 1 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp. Hot water, beat until thick.
Fold in 1 cup self raising flour.
Bake in 2x9inch (23cm) tins.
20 minutes at 198.C

Chocolate:-Use above mixture, using only 3/4 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of cocoa powder.
Add extra 2 Tbsp. Water.
Ice with chocolate icing.

Coffee:- Same mixture add 1 Tbsp. Coffee essence.
Ice with coffee icing.
Filling:- 4 oz (125gm) butter, 4 Tbsp. Boiling water, 4 oz (125gm) sugar, vanilla essence.
Beat until thick.
For chocolate cake add 1 tsp. Cocoa to filling ingredients.
For coffee cake add 1-2 tsp. Coffee essence.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Proud Mumma moment

It was Friday evening and Hubby called up from work saying should we go out for dinner tonight. Since it had been over 6 months since we had been out to dinner with the kids I said "Why not". So he booked in very early to avoid the crowds that are inevitable at Monteiths on a Friday.

So we turned up at about 5:15pm and I could see the people around us doing that 'oh no they have kids' look, although I think the two high chairs should have clued them on to that one slightly earlier. We secured both kids in their highchairs, and only put the 2 year old in there so that she couldn't escape. It was great, lovely food and a good atmosphere. Luckily it was slightly loud in there so when my daughter decided to use her outside voice we didn't get any stares. It was great, as she is old enough now to understand manners and listens when we explain why she should or shouldn't do something. Whether she actually does it is another thing.

For once I was fully prepared, I am notorious for forgetting important things. I even remembered to bring my daughters travel colouring set that I put together for her. I made that out of an old zip up diary and she loves.

Whilst sitting there I did comment to my husband that we had a cone of silence around us. Where there was at least one table free right the way around us. I giggled to myself as I always used to be one of those people that say "oh no not sprogletts (children)". Now I am one of the people with the dreaded sprogletts.

When we had been there an hour and were just about to leave, a lady came up to us and said "I just want to let you know that you have beautiful kids and they are so well behaved and quiet". Ahhhhhh at that moment I felt like the best mum in the world.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The little things

Some people get their thrills out of going to concerts, going on overseas trips or buying new fast cars. Myself I get excited about the small things in life. I always have and hopefully always will. Don't get me wrong I love new cars etc, but I probably get more excited by the number of drink holders than the actual car (sorry car enthusiasts).


Its the small things that make me happy. A caramel cappuccino, poached eggs on toast oh and I hate to say it but a McDonalds breakfast. Sunshine on your face after days of rain. The smell of nice clean washing coming in from the line. Gentle raindrops on the roof when you are about to go to sleep. The smell of freshly cut grass. It has always been the small things that put a smile on my face and make me truly happy.


Since having children I feel like those happy moments have been multiplied. It seems every time I turn around my daughter is doing something that makes me smile and laugh. Like when I ask her if she can do something for me and she says "oh no I can't, I too busy", don't worry she still has to do what I ask but I get a good laugh as well. Then when my son smiles and giggles at me, I wonder if anything could be as special as that.


I am lucky that I get such happiness out of the small things as life is short and unpredictable at the best of times. So I think we need to enjoy every moment especially when it comes to spending time with your family and friends.


Live life and love every moment.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Packing for 2 kids

We are going for a short visit to my mums house this weekend. I was just getting used to travelling with my two year old daughter. She is potty trained now so her bag is substantially smaller than it used to be. I just pack her clothes as I would pack my own, maybe with a few extra pairs of underwear and pants. Since her clothes are soooooo much smaller than mine it means she only needs a little bag.

Now I have to pack for a 5 month old as well, oh man. It seems silly that when you go and visit someone for two days that you take 50 bags and just about need a roof rack to hold everything. Ok it isn't hat bad, at least there is a cot, blankets and thousands of toys at mum and dads. Otherwise that car would really be packed to the rafters, with porta cot, blankets, teddy's for baby, nappies, clothes and toys for my daughter etc etc etc. Not to mention the two Nelly's (my daughters little soft toy doll she sleeps with).

Why two Nelly's you ask? Well after my daughter got so attached to the first Nelly, I decided if I wanted to wash the doll I was going to have to get a second one to add to the rotation. This worked well for a few months, I would sneakily switch the Nelly's to wash one and give her a nice clean one to cuddle. That is until she discovered the second Nelly in the washing basket. Well she came into the lounge with the BIGGEST smile on her face declaring "Two Nelly's". Alas we haven't been able to separate the two Nelly's since. On the bright side, I'm just pleased we didn't get four Nelly's like some people do, otherwise we would now be lugging around all four Nelly's at once.

Nappies are another thing I hate packing. Now I am a reusable Nappy girl, Tots Bots reusable nappies are my nappy of choice, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. I usually lug around my bucket with clean fluffy nappies in it, my nappy covers and material wipes. But I am afraid to say that I have had a sick little girl all week and have had to wash multiple sets of sheets, bedding, clothes, carpet, towels plus the normal washing. After this mamoth washing week I am kind of over washing. The fact is that I have just cleared the back log of dirty washing that was sitting in the garage, or should I say consuming the garage. Now I have one large double bedroom dedicated to clothes racks and drying washing with one poor little dehumidifier.

So I made the executive decision, I am having two days off from reusable nappies. Sorry earth but I am tired and need a break. Oh I know you don't get a break from being polluted but sometimes a mumma needs a rest. Talking about taking a break, I just remembered that my little man is now on solids so I have to pack all of those goodies as well (sigh). Again I usually make my own food for him, but I think I will just pop to the supermarket and take the easy way out this time. Thank you modern society you really do make things easy for us when we really need it.
Oh well I should probably stop writing about it and actually get started packing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lego my hero


I visited my parents this weekend and when I left they sent me packing with my old Lego from when I was a child. I have to admit I was DAM excited about getting home and having the chance to play with it. Although I didn't know if it would be the same without the other half of it. My brothers half that is. I always had the houses, post offices and a few cars and trucks. My brother had the roads, space ships and other vehicles. Basically between the two of us we had a little Lego empire. Cue evil laugh (Mew ha ha ha ha ha).

Anyway after getting the Lego home, my daughter and I spent 2 hours sorting it out and putting it into its little slidy trays. That was a great job for a 2 year old as she LOVES sorting colours. To be honest it was a life saver and a great way to waste away the hours. Especially when a certain mumma forgot that there was a 4 hour power cut. So there we were sitting in the lounge in our PJ's playing with Lego until 2pm.

Had I realised there was going to be a power cut I would have had us all showered and dressed by the cut off. Alas I was fighting a bug and relaxing watching TV when KA-BANG everything turned off. Well the look on my daughters face was priceless, wide eyes and hands in the air she said "What did you do, Mumma?". Even after the explanation she still wasn't very happy. But I now think she understands as yesterday the TV flicked off (due to some sky TV problem) and she turned to me and said "Ah its the power, aye mum". You have to love 2 year olds and their ability to pick up new words in a flash.

After power had been re-connected and all was right in the world again, I had a chance to play with my Lego. Yes I said my Lego and I will play with it as much as I want, I may be in my thirties but Lego is a toy for everyone. I made my daughter little houses that she could pull apart, open doors and windows and put mail in the little mail boxes. I always thought my daughter had a short attention span, something I am guessing her mother gave to her. Well when she is playing with Lego the short attention span just disappears. She played with the houses I built her for over an hour and keeps on coming back to them.

Although she is to small to make anything fun with the Lego boy can she have fun playing with it and putting the Lego flowers and trees inside the Post Office. Anyway I have to go and make more fun things with my Lego.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Home grown

I knew I was getting old when I started to watch the news, preferred staying in rather than going out and started growing my own vegetable garden.

I grew up on the farm so I am used to seeing giant vegetable patches that produce all of your vegetable needs. When I moved to the city and lived in rented properties I had all but given up on the idea of producing my own vegetables .
Cue TV cooking shows that had chefs growing their own kitchen
gardens. For example, James Martin Digs Deep and
River cottage, which I quickly become addicted too.

Hubby and I were inspired, surely we could grow something in our tiny wee 2 metre square garden. By this time we were living in our own home, so we could dig up what and where we wanted, to create our little slice of vegetable paradise.

We started small and brought in some actual soil and sheep poo thanks to dad (our section was all rocks and clay). Hubby was in control of most of it as I was known to be a bit of a black finger (aka every plant I touched, died). That was until at 7 months pregnant Hubby decided to go and play Grid Iron Football and totally destroy his patella (the thing that holds your knee together). What followed was a few weeks spent in hospital and months of not being able to move from the chair. He gave me strict instructions while in hospital, "I must take care of the garden and NOT let anything die". Crap I thought, how the hell am I going to do that.

Alas the stress of killing his garden made me spend many hours out there taking care of it. Which made me realise something important. In order to be a green finger you actually had to put some time and effort into your garden.

So without realising it Hubby had created a big fat pregga lady who was now obsessed with gardening. Some people get cats or dogs when pregnant. So that they can nurture them and take care of them, its just what pregnant people do. Well my baby was my garden and boy did I go nuts nurturing it. Hubby would quite often look out the lounge window to see a 9 month pregga person pulling out the few remaining shrubs and digging up the garden to create more space for my precious vegetables. He would quite often bang on the window with his crutch yelling at me to get in side and stop doing crazy things, that it was dark outside now. I would religiously water it and fertilise it every week. Yell and squash bugs if they dared to attack my precious wee pants.

All this pregnant green finger craziness created a brilliant productive little vegetable patch that not only provided our vegetable needs but our neighbours as well. Now alas we have moved to a bigger house and have had to start all over again. I will post our successes and failures of dealing with a slightly different environment, our new gardens and crazy looking bugs when I get the chance. In the mean time happy gardening.

PS: All the pictures are actually of my little garden.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I thought putting my latest creation up here might encourage me to paint more, sorry about the photo it is a little wonky, but the painting is hanging up in the front door area and I couldn't get a better angle.  At the moment I am just painting to decorate our house which is very bland with hardly any pictures on the wall.  Also painting pictures for family presents, poor people, when you give someone a painted picture they feel obliged to hang it up even if they don't like it.  But we have a rule for grown up Christmas presents, that we only give presents that we made.  It makes you think and be a little creative and so much fun.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A little ray of sunshine on a cloudy day


I was sitting down finally having a rest after putting both kids to bed.  Tired after a night of taking care of a little girl with a tummy bug, changing sheets after sheets.  Washing clothes, clothes and more clothes after she was sick on us all.  When the door bell rang, I got a little ray of sunshine.  Clare from goshorty was stopping by to drop off the dribble bibs and beanie that I had ordered for my little man.  Wow they are cool, not sure what it is about baby gear but it is so dam exciting.  I wish I could sew but alas I can't and even if I could I doubt my creations would be anywhere as brilliant as these goshorty ones.

Check out her website, facebook page and blog
Webiste: http://www.goshorty.co.nz/
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/goshorty.nz
Blog: http://www.shortbutnot.blogspot.com/

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Man flu has arrived

OK man flu has officially hit our house. Lucky for me, the rest of us have already had it, so I only have the one grown man to take care off. OK apart from the fact that we have a sick wee girl that must have a tummy bug today.

I can't blame hubby for feeling so sick though , I had this flu about three weeks ago and it was hideous, in fact at one stage I remember saying "Oh my gosh I think I have the man flu" it was that bad. In saying that, I was at my sickest during the week so I was looking after both kids at the same time as feeling like a bus had run me over. Sure I wasn't paying them my fullest attention, after all I did have trouble keeping my eyes open. But baby had clean nappies on and they were both being fed. Unlike hubby I found it very difficult to get any sleep during the day time and I fully blame the Wiggles for this. Every time I closed my eyes my daughter would race up to me and yell "WAKE UP MUMMA, WAKE UP".

Bonus is that I am now feeling pretty dam spiffing and I am all ready to be nurse to hubby (get your mind out of the gutter please). For the first time in ages I also have full sympathy for how his is feeling. Normally I am the fit and healthy one who never gets sick and although I try to take good care of him I really don't feel very sorry for him (I will admit to that). Now having crawled my way through the flu with only Pandol (thanks breast feeding), I am being the best nurse ever. I am anticipating his every need, making sure he is fully hydrated and fed. Gosh I am feeling all saint Teresa-ish here. Lets hope this flu doesn't last too long, I am not sure I can do this sainthood thing for any extended period of time.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Play and activity mat

When I was pregnant with my first child I decided to start something that would keep me busy and utilise my creativeness.  I came up with this giant activity mat.  It was hard to get a picture of this one as it is giant, about three meters by two meters.  I painted onto the calico with material pants, that you iron on after the paint dries.  I painted a collection of pictures and words on the mat and also added numbers, English and Arabic and the alphabet. I initially wanted to put a waterproof cover on the back but due to the lack of my sewing skills and my uncooperative very old sewing machine, I pulled out of that idea. 

My two year old is just really starting to enjoy it and loves me shouting out a word and she then runs and jumps on the matching picture.  It is also great for my 4 month old little boy to roll around on as it stops him eating hairy carpet.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Inside Acitivies with my 2 year old

Making Finger puppet butterflies

It has been raining for way to long now, so I decided that I needed some special activities for my little girl to do.  While watching some of the many hours of Kids Zone that I seem to be watching these days, I saw this idea and thought it was brilliant.  My daughter loves stickers and zooming around like a crazy person so something that incorporates both was a goer.

Remember that all I did was cut out the shape (note to self, try and make sure the next butterflies don't look like she is giving the finger).  My daughter stuck the stickers on, where ever she wanted to.  Then I wrapped a bit of cardboard around my finger and stick that to the back of the butterfly after she had decorated it and we were ready to fly.



After this we proceeded to zoom around the lounge being butterflies.  This held my daughters attention for a good 30mins, which is kind of a record with her.  I am now motivated to do more fun activities.  More updates soon.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Crazy, messy, clean

I made a pact with myself recently, to keep myself and my house in a presentable state. Simple task you may think, alas not when you are me. Its not that I am a messy person its just that I seem to have inherited a lazy gene, when it comes to keeping a nice house. Add to that mix, the fact that I have a 2 1/2 year old little girl that is like a toy hurricane and a 4month old little boy to take care of.
So I set myself the following rule: I will have the house and myself in a presentable state at all times.
This means that anyone can knock on my door at any point in the day and I will not be embarrassed about what I am wearing or the way my house looks. When I say at any point in the day I mean after 9am and before 9pm any other time you may catch me in my snuggly PJ's.

I set this pact with myself as I was sick of looking like a homeless person, who was living in a tip (ok my house wasn't that bad). We never used to get random visitors, we always had some sort of warning. So when hubby told me that we were having visitors in 10min,s I would literally scream and race around the house like a looney toon. Picking up toys and books and throwing them in the nearest cupboard. Shoving dishes in the already full dishwasher and vacuuming right up until the second that the visitors knocked on our door. I would have to get hubby to answer the door as by that time ,I had built a bit of a sweat up, from running around like a mad person. Plus I usually had to race upstairs to put some half decent clothes on and lashings of mascara.
Since we moved and Hubby became best friends with the neighbours, I have had multiple random visits throughout the day and evening. I love this new neighbourhood and the fact that we have neighbours that we like, but it has made me realise that my house isn't the tidiest and I have often been embarrassed by the mess. This is magnified as the neighbours house is spotless at all times. It also made me aware of what I wear and the fact that I hardly ever put on make up any more. After having a child you can sometimes get in a rut when none of your clothes fit properly but you refuse to wear maternity clothes as you are no longer pregnant. Well, my son was 3 months old and I actually fit my clothes so I had no excuse to be wondering around in my track pants (with holes in them, in the butt area to be specific). Added to that is the fact that I like looking nice and having a clean and tidy house. It makes me feel at peace with the world.
So I am embarking into a cleaner and more fashionable lifestyle. I struggle, I am trying to retrain my mind. So that I put things away, clear the benches every night and make sure all the folded washing is away each night (that part seems to be the struggle). Not sure where I got this lazy streak from as my mother is a clean freak and to top it off my mother-in-law is even more of a clean freak. My ultimate goal, the point that I know I have reached total cleanness is if I pass the Mother-In-Law test. If she comes to my house and doesn't try and clean or tidy anything, then I will know I have reached the peak of cleanliness, my Mount Everest of clean and tidy, my ultimate aim. OK in all honesty I will probably never reach that summit and I should probably make a more realistic aim, like reaching the cleaning summit of Mount Fiji or Mount Cook. After all I would like a life as well as a clean house.

Do not fear tidiness will prevail. I will not fall victim to my own laziness.

I feel like a Hippy tonight

Tonight I feel like a bit of a hippy. We have just finished dinner of Dahl (lentils) curry with homemade preserved lemon.  I will follow that with a homemade double layered butter cake with butter icing (not so healthy, I know). I would have included a picture of the lentils but lets be honest, they don't look pretty.

I have not included a recipe for the Dahl curry, as I am not sure if anyone would actually be into that. Plus I have no idea what I actually put in it. I am a bit of a random chef and throw a bit of this and a bit of that, then if it doesn't taste quite right I throw a bit more in. Plus I used my secret spice mix from my mother-in-law (authentic Indian).

I have to say the curry was exactly what we needed, both Hubby and I were feeling a little unhealthy and lacking in vegies. Plus it tasted dam delicious, warmed the cockles of my heart, it did (smiling as I say that). Perfect for this cold and rainy weather we have been having.

Hubby is a bit reluctant to just eat vegetables so I threw a tin of tuna at him, I think he realised afterwards that he didn't actually need it. The perfect mix to the meal were our homemade preserved lemons, that hubby made(will put a seperate post on these). These weren't actually that preserved as they had only been in the jar a week, but we were too excited not to try them.


To follow soon will be my lovely butter cake, iced pink just to annoy the boys of the house, there is nothing more amusing to me than watching two guys digging into a pink cake, with hundreds and thousands on it. I double layered the cake just to put more butter filling/icing in it.  I also swiped some strawberry jam in between the layers as well. That will end the healthy start to my meal as I know how much butter and sugar went into this cake, not for the faint hearted I have to say.

For the cake I used the Butter Cake recipe in the Edmonds cook book, and butter filling for the filling and icing. I LOVE THE EDMONDS COOK BOOK, it is my present of choice for people leaving home, it has every basic recipe you could need in just the one cook book. I have lots of other cook books but that is the only one I refer to regularly. Love you Edmonds.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Taking time for mum

I had a light bulb moment this morning, mummy needs to book in "Me time".

My light bulb moment occurred as I was about to have a shower and I realised that my leg and underarm hair was nearly a groomeable length. The leg hair I could handle, I mean after all it is winter. But the underarm hair, I actually screamed and jumped back with shock. OK to much information you're thinking, agreed but I needed you to realise that when you are a mum sometimes the simplest of things fail to get done.

The problem is, that on the lengthy list of things to do each day kids are first priority, Hubby second priority (what he has the ability to take care of himself). The house is the third priority and Mummy is the last priority. On the majority of days mummy gets jumped off the list to another day (aka just dropped off the list altogether).

Why does this happen? Mothers these days are highly educated intelligent people who have temporarily dropped their careers to take care of their families. We all know that in order to properly take care of the family we need to firstly take care of ourselves. But do we do it? No. As there is always something more important that needs to be done, someone that needs taken care of, something that needs cleaning. Not only that, but we also take on extra jobs and constantly offer help to people even though we haven't shaved our legs in weeks. It seems when you become a mum your ability to say "no" is also eliminated. Pre children if someone asked me to do something, I would automatically say "NO" (loudly) sometimes even before they had finished asking. Once I had done this I could then consider the question and decide if I actually want to do it or not. Post children I say "Sure I can do that" and then "is there anything else I can do for you as well" and I actually mean it, I actually want to help. I get a thrill from helping other people, but sometimes the smarter thing would be to say "yes I can help you, but maybe after I de-forestise my legs."

I think as the children get older you learn to take time out, but with a new baby and a toddler it seems impossible. My mission for this month is to set 30mins a day aside for myself, granted it may not be in the middle of the day, probably more likely to be 10:30 at night but I will do it. My legs will not go unshaven again I will claim part of myself back, after all I am not just a mother, but a wife and a woman.

Minestrone soup Recipe

I just made the yummiest soup using veggies from the garden and whatever was in the fridge. Minestrone is the perfect soup to keep people healthy and warm in these cold days of winter. Now I am not normally a fan of Minestrone soup but after watching food TV and looking at the good old Edmonds recipe book I attempted to make one. This is what I did and yummo, it was exactly what my sick body felt like.


















Ingredients:
Some oil to fry onions etc in
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 leek
3 small funny looking carrots (ok so my carrots have not grown very big in the garden this year)
2 large potatoes
Half a cup cabbage cut thinly
4 leaves of Silverbeet
1 tin of beans, any but just not baked beans (well you could try but not sure how that one would work)
1 tin of tomatoes
Chicken stock ( or if you are like me and don't have any, a couple of packets of maggi onion soup etc)

What to do:
Chop up all of the vegetables.
Fry the onion and garlic, in oil or butter if you are feeling naughty.
Throw in the vegetables (remember just use whatever you have on hand)
Add water or stock depending on what you have available (I like to add twice as much liquid as vegies in this soup). I added a packet of onion soup and a packet of chicken noodle soup as I am quiet random and never seem to have stock on hand.
Throw in the beans and tomatoes from a tin, stir up and cover.
Leave to cook for a few hours.  Another option is to pop it in the crock pot and let it do its business.
Add salt to taste.
Please note if you choose to add pasta and are making more than one helping of soup, just add pasta to the soup you are going to use. Otherwise the it gets all gluggy and yucky the next time you want to heat up the soup.

Enjoy

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sick Child Etiquette

How do you feel when you see a child that is all snoty with a cold at kindy, music or other activities? Do you take your children out when they are sick?


In the past I have always hermitised my daughter and I when either of us is sick. As I don't like going out and getting other people sick. Especially because my daughter is super cuddly and kissy with other kids and I would hate to have her smear her snot all over another child's face.

I on the other hand don't really mind if other children are slightly sick at kids activities etc but do mind when they are fully, green snot hanging out of their nose, sick.

With my second child having arrive in January I am now in somewhat of a conundrum . I now realise that with two children there is a huge likely hood that at least one of us will have a snotty nose at any given time during the winter.

So the question is; to go out or not to go out?

Having been in solitary confinement (ok trio confinement) for the past 2 weeks with my children, all of us having snotty noses, and coughs and feeling utterly miserable. I was at the point that I MUST see other humans or I would go mad. So this morning I ventured out to Kindy Music class. I was the only family member that was coughing by this point so I didn't feel to bad. In my defence after every cold I get a terrible asthmatic cough for a few weeks.

Another thing to note is that I was sanitising my daughters hands and making sure she wasn't coughing or snotty to prevent spreading what ever the evil bug was that we had.

Am I the only paranoid one out there or do I just need to chill out. I think I am slowly chilling as with two children now it is either chill or hibernate for the winter.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Introducing my friend Baking Soda

Ever since I got into this environmental kick I have been looking for alternatives to cleaning and beauty products available today. Ok I am no environmentalist by any means. I like to think of myself as a suburban environmentalist, I mean I care, but not enough to pull a muscle over it or anything.

When I first started getting all environmental, I tried all of the new "Green" products in the supermarket and health stores, trying to do my bit. Yes they were good but also very expensive, often more so than the normal products available . At that same time I was listening to a talk back radio show with Shannon Lush a cleaning guru. She was my hero, she could get stains out of anything and mostly using trusty Baking Soda and Vinegar. This started off my "what can I do with Baking Soda" kick. I tried using Baking Soda a lot of different ways and eliminated the ones that just didn't work for me. Three years later I am still using my favourites to clean, shine and deodorise my house. So here are my favourites:

• Soap scum cleaner: This gets rid of bath grim in a single wipe, so much better than those toxic smelling cleaners on the market at the moment. Mix Baking Soda and dishwashing detergent (for example Sunlight etc) to make a paste. Use this to clean your bath and shower , I also use it to clean my stainless steal kitchen sink as it makes it shine again. Great for any tough grime.

• Shoe deodoriser : If you have smelly shoes just sprinkle some Baking Soda in the shoes and remove it before you wear them.

• Fridge deodoriser: You can also put a bowl of baking soda in the fridge to absorb smells.

• Damp rid: Place a bowl of Baking Soda with a drop of your favourite essential oil in a damp area of the house. This will absorb smells and moisture, just remember to stir it up now and then.

• Sprinkle and Vac: Instead of buying expensive carpet deodorises just sprinkle Baking Soda over the carpet, leave over night if possible and then vacuum up.

• Brighten up your washing: You can add Baking Soda to you normal wash cycle to brighten up your washing, make a paste with water and rub into a stain. But be ware, it is said that Baking Soda and washing powders containing Baking Soda can damage your re-useable nappies (especially bamboo material) so be selective.

• Drain cleaner: put lots of Baking Soda and either boiling water or vinegar down the drain, this cleans it out nicely.

I like to buy a big bag of Baking Soda from Moore Wilsons etc, that way it is more economical than buying thousands of little packets from the supermarket. Enjoy your day and may the Baking Soda be with you.

A great site to reference other Baking Soda and green tips is:  Green Living tips

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How things have changed "In my day...."

I remember on long road trips my parents would give us the "back in my day" speech and tell us how it was when they were young. They described that there was no TV and when they did get TV it was only in black and white for a long time. "Wow no TV" we used to say but how did you survive, what did you fill your days with.

This got me thinking, what will I tell my children in my "back in my day" talk, what has changed over the years since I was young. I realised that it is going to be a dam big talk over multiple road trips, as so much has changed.

They are going to think we are sooooo old when I tell them that when I was little not only were there no cell phones our phones didn't have buttons on them and when it rang we didn't just pick it up, we had to wait to see if it was our ring, as we were on a party line. If we called a business, there would be no automated voice telling us what to press or say, we actually got a real person on the line and chances are they were located in an office down the road definitely not India or Indonesia.

How am I going to explain that we didn't have a computer until I was 8years old. When we got our trusty Amstrad, there were no flashy graphics or pictures, if we wanted anything we had to type it into DOS. Games were restricted to snakes, tennis (two lines and a ball) and battleships. We had no Play Station 1, 2, or 3 or PSP. No Nintendo Wii or other virtual games you can actually play and see it on the TV. Not only did we not have wireless internet we didn't have broadband or even a connection through the telephone line, we just DIDN'T have internet. There were no social networking sites, no tweeting, no email, no googling things you didn't know and definitely no blogs. People had to actually talk to each other to share their thoughts and feelings, we wrote letters and went to the post office to send it. If we didn't know something you had to ask dad or look it up in the giant and super heavy encyclopaedias. If you wanted to know something ,about someone you had to ask the village gossip rather than just googling them.

We had no digital cameras and online photo albums, we actually had to use a camera with film in it, then go and get it developed and put them in a real album. If you wanted to carry pictures of your friends and family around, you didn't just pull out your cell phone. You had to carry a little album around in your purse.

Back when I was little there were no iPods, let alone iPod nano, no dvds not even CD's. We used to have walkmans that played a tape. I am thinking by the time my kids are 7 or 8 years old that tapes will no longer be around. All of the tape players would have gone off to Florida to live with the record players that retired years ago. I can probably visit a museum to show my kids a record player, that I used to play my Muppets record on ( how old am I feeling right now). When we were young we had a big old box of a TV, if you wanted to move it you needed approximately 4 strong men it was so heavy. It only had 4 channels on it, luckily we only ever had 2 channels to watch when we were young so no worry about running out of space.

So many things have changed it is nearly impossible to mention them all, I mean shops weren't even open on Sundays, shopping wasn't a pass time, we went shopping when we needed things. Everything was simpler, or was that because I was young. What's scary is that things are changing every second, what will my children tell their children when they have their "In my day" talk.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The lost art of the dinner party

I have fond memories of all the dinner parties my parents used to host. Preparing food days in advance, the whole family pulling together to get the already spotless house clean and tidy. The best crockery was brought out and cleaned. The silver was shinned up until you could see your face in it. Tables were placed together in order to squeeze 12 or more people in. The nicest table clothes were pulled out along with their matching napkins (no paper napkins in sight). My job was to set the table with the best of everything. Now was the time to test my knowledge on which piece of cutlery goes were and in which order. Crystal wine glasses were pulled out of the display cabinet, I tell you it was a magical time. Once the guests had arrived and kids had been shown off we were all shuffled off to a separate room with our chippies and TV.

These dinner parties weren’t just a slapped together meal, it was often a four course meal. With soup for a starter, always rich and creamy. My favourite was the cauliflower and broccoli soup that were both poured into the bowl at the same time creating a fantastic bowl of soup with green broccoli on one side and white cauliflower on the other side. Then there were the entrees, white bait fritters, fish mornay in pastry cases or crapes wrapped around chicken and mushroom in white sauce. The main course was usually a selection of roasts, crispy potatoes and thousands of vegetables. Then my favourite course....... Ah dessert, the work that went into desert was just spectacular and what was better was that there was always left over for us kids to eat the next morning. There were homemade cream puffs, chocolate ├ęclairs, custard squares, cheese cakes, Pavlova’s (triple layer with banana and caramel lathered over it). Oh the memories of those tastes, it was pure heaven.

I have always been inspired by the effort involved in these parties and also the wonderful food that was created. But it seems that they don’t really exists anymore. Restaurants are so much easier, less preparation and no dishes to do. If I do have people around for dinner, it is usually just a roast and the deal is that the visitors bring a dessert). So I am determined to do one proper dinner party before I get to retirement age (that gives me approximately 30 years). Why you ask don’t I just do it now, wellllllllll although I can cook, I cannot really COOK. So practice I must. I have started.... I made pumpkin soup (easy I know) but this time I went by the recipe and it was actually nice. Over this winter I plan to make other more intricate soups. I am kind of excited about practicing desserts but the only problem with that is that we will be left to eat them and get fat, oh well sacrifices must be made for the greater good.

Oh and I just realised another complication, we don’t own nice crockery, or silver wear (or even the extra knives and forks involved in entrees and desserts) so the deadline of retirement may be a smart idea as it seems I have to save up for equipment as well.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Throw away society

Environmental rant of the month....

How things have changed. In my parents generation if something broke you got your trusty screwdriver out and fixed it, or if you really had to admit defeat you took it to someone to get fixed. These days if something breaks you merely throw it in the rubbish and buy a brand new, WAY better, one. In the process filling landfills and messing with the environment.

Back in the day you could buy quality goods that real people had made with materials that normal people can tinker with and fix. For example my parent’s fridge lasted, if I remember rightly, 27 years (pretty sure that one was replaced on their 27th wedding anniversary and not because it was broken). One of their original pot sets has lasted years, and to prove that point I have now inherited it and it is brilliant. I remember at my granddad's house, his teapot handle fell off so what did he do, he screwed a goat horn onto it and it lasted the rest of his life. In my mum’s day, when you were young you saved up your money and brought nice expensive sheets and towels and put them into your glory box to save for when you got married. People sewed their own clothes, knitted jerseys and cooked everything from scratch. They made jams, biscuits, cakes and chutney’s, grew vegetables in their own garden.

I miss those days and some of us will confirm that our generation are going back that way a little bit. We have a veggie garden, plastic house and I try and cook most things from scratch. I hate buying throw away cleaners, like disposable cloth window cleaners. I hate all the packaging around everything these days. I use reusable nappies and wipes and always recycle. I have more than one savings account and have never paid interest on my credit card, as it always get paid off in time.

I am reminded of the throwaway society, every day. We have a 21 year old living with us (and it’s not just him but most people his age). It scares me the way young people think and the fact we have a whole generation of people that think it is normal to throw everything away, not even bothering to give it away, or sell it. If a car breaks down, ah I will just get someone to take it away and buy a new one. Cell phones get replaced faster than I can say “oh you have a new cell phone”. The general ability to take care of one’s possessions doesn’t exist, as they are so easily replaced. Savings accounts..... who needs savings when you can have a credit card or overdraft facilities. Its all about competing to get the flashest things and the newest technology and it doesn't matter how you managed to pay for it.

Now I know I can’t fight the industrial revolution and the fact that people make money off creating goods that have a limited life span. I can’t change that goods are packaged to the max so that their product sells not their competitors; or that people in third world countries have jobs because of the throwaway society.

But what I can do is teach my children what I think is important and hope they buy into some of it. Like......
• That things don’t have to be thrown away all the time.
• If you take care of your things then they last longer.
• If you no longer want something then chances are there is someone out there who would buy it, or better still someone less fortunate that you can give it to.
• That it is important to save money and not rely on credit all of the time.
• The joy in growing your own vegetables and making food from scratch.
• That you don’t always need to buy flash cleaners etc when baking soda and vinegar does the job just as well.
• That there are consequences for every action you make so think wisely.

Anyway that is the environmental rant of the month, until next month, see you later.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Learning Hindi

Namaste
Yes this is my new thing, some of you may think it’s weird, what a choice and why. Well to explain it, my husband is Fijian Indian and his whole family speak Hindi. My husband understands it and speaks a little but mainly smart arse Hindi.

So my reasons are that I want our kids to understand and speak Hindi, as I want them to retain their culture. More importantly I want to make sure that when Hubby’s family is talking in Hindi that they are not talking about me.

Quite often I am at family events (with older family members that don’t speak English) and I try to look like I am listening but....... after 2 hours of trying to listen to a language you don’t understand I am sure the best of you would tune out. So I start watching Hindi television, which to be honest is pretty dam good, again, I just wish I could understand it.

My mother in law is very good at explaining things to me, but still I struggle. I spent many hours learning from CD’s a few years ago, when we owned an Indian restaurant. But to be honest I am feeling my age and my lack of ability to retain knowledge. Is it always this hard to learn a new language when you are old (sorry older), I mean two year olds can pick it up WHY OH WHY can’t I.

So people I have my books and CD’s back out and am learning Hindi. I am even trying to learn how to write it, but at the moment having trouble trying to remember how to write the vowels. I am determined to stick with it (hold me on that people call my bluff). Most of you reading this are probably thinking, jeeze forget Hindi how about you try and master English. Yes I know but all in good time people all in good time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Starting out

Today I decided to do something with my life. Not that I haven't done something with my life already. As I have two wonderful kids and a lovely husband, a great house and basically everything I need. But now that the kids are giving me time to think, breath or whatever..... I think I should do more than be a business analyst. I mean what the hell is a business analyst anyway its just a name given to any job that doesn't actually have an exciting job title, like astronaut, biochemical engineer, exotic dancer you know the ones. So I decided that I need to find a new niche. Something that I am good at, something that is my special talent.

Now usually with a special talent you don't have to go looking for it, its just there. Like a friend of mine is a great sewer and has created her own business sewing groovy little kids clothes. Another friend creates websites and does a dam good job of it. A lot of other friends are teachers which I consider the ultimate calling. I tried that once and really didn't work for me. Ahhhh it drove me nuts, it is such hard work and the kids, don't even mention the kids.

So, my special calling, I thought about being an artist but it seems I am not that brilliant at that, doing paintings for my own house and presents seems as far as that one will go. I thought about sewing like my friend, but to be honest I can't even figure out how to get the sewing machine working let alone following a pattern. Then there is cooking but ask my husband, I don't think a business will be built out of that. What else is there left, I mean I can play the piano reasonably well, and basically do everything else, reasonably well. So it seems I don't have a calling or special talent that makes me, me. What makes me, me is that I am normal. So I thought I would start a diary and get writing and maybe I will find my special talent. Time to get my average thoughts down on paper, actually we are in the new millennium I am writing it on the computer.


So the the blog begins.......
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