Archive for July, 2010

LOL: Because Mothering is Hard (video)

Miss 6 is showing an unhealthy interest in becoming an industrial chemist. This is the second time she’s mixed my bathroom products, more precisely, my (won’t admit how much it cost me) clear eye gel, which looks great now with sparkly blue toothpaste in it.

I’m posting this video today because it’s a safe way to express the challenges of being a mother, rather than ranting about how much I loved that eye gel … I shall go cry in my cappuccino now. Enjoy the show. You need about 5 minutes.

Have iPod Touch, Will Travel

July 26, 2010 1 comment

Reader JB is soon to travel overseas with three children and wonders how to keep them entertained for the long haul flights, without the added worry of extra baggage and lost game cartridges.

Having given this some thought, and having consulted with The Auntie Who Thinks of Everything, I believe this to be the solution:

Exhibit A is an iPod Touch, in a flip-case, attached to a comfy fluffy laynard and with a zippered purse attached containing earphones. No game cartridges, just downloaded applications. No lost earphones. No misplaced iPod. Music, games and educational apps all in one place. How’s that?

The laynard and case came from a mobile phone accessory store, and the purse I already had from a kids’ lip balm set (but zippered coin purses can be bought just about anywhere).

Enjoy your trip, JB! Hope this helps.


I forgot to mention, that the way to get two people using one iPod Touch, is to buy earphones with the capacity to plug in a friend’s earphones (such as the ones in the photo, bought from Target). Alternatively, you can buy an adaptor such as the one from Smiggle (“Heart Hub“) which allows two single user earphones to be connected.

While I’m at it, check out the new app, “Baby Animals”. It’s great for kids of all ages (adapt its use accordingly). It has pictures of every animal you can think of and quizzes and information about them all. Great for long trips and school projects … and long waits in doctors’ surgeries ….

Categories: Music, Parenthood, Products, Travel

Road Test: Beach Cozzie for Kids

Finally, a long sleeve after-swimming cover-up for kids … Brisbane mum, Sam Rawlings, started making these little beauties for her own children and was swamped with people asking where she’d got them from. Now, she’s taking orders and making them for other mini people. My order was custom-made and turned around in a week. If you’re interested, I wouldn’t recommend leaving your order too long though, as Sam is just launching this business and it’s already taking off.

I love to support local go-get-em people, especially when they use Australian products and labour. These Cozzies are well-made, with lovely trim and no scratchy bits. They cost $45 and look great. I can’t believe no-one else has made them in long sleeves, given all our sun-safe messages.

I credit this lovely find to the wonderful Auntie Who Thinks of Everything.

Categories: Health, Parenthood, Products

LOL: Bamboleo Video

Just because Fridays should be fun …

I so loved this song back in the day, that I mixed just about every family video to it, including Granny’s post-stroke recovery trip to New Zealand (it livened it up a bit).

My brother will recall the contest of wills back home: U2 (him) versus Gypsy Kings. We drove each other absolutely crackers, so I shall dedicate this post to my dear brother 🙂


Categories: Life, Music

LOL: Urban Manscapes Video

Thank goodness for people who can see the lighter side of life and share it with others …

222 Is Such a Lovely Number …

And the number of the day is 222 …

This is how many views my little blog has had in the few days it’s been up and running. I don’t know if this is very many, but I know for sure that it’s not my own mother clicking multiple times – so thank you, Dear Readers, for the l-o-v-e. The privately received feedback has been wonderful (even though the public comments are few). I shall return the affection with some more posts and tantalising reviews, shortly.

Categories: Social Commentary

Know Thy Neighbour

July 14, 2010 1 comment

This morning was garbage collection day. I was still in holiday mode and was feeling just a little bit happy with myself that husband and children had been dispatched out the door on time.

At our new-old place (with emphasis on old), the driveway is so narrow that I have to reverse the car out to wheel the bins to the road. No big deal. I grabbed the car key and did just that. As I could hear the rubbish truck approaching from a few streets away, I crammed in a few more rain-sodden packing boxes into recycling, and one or two dry ones into the neighbour’s almost-empty bin. Then, the wind blew the front door shut. It was the kind of heavy wooden door that locked on closing. Did I mention that the house keys and phone were inside and that all the other doors were locked? To make matters worse, I was still in my Elmo pyjamas.

Life is all about opportunities to grow. Glaring at the front door, I pondered this along with some choice and best-not-repeated other thoughts. Make lemonade out of lemons, I tell myself often. I was getting pretty sick of lemonade. Lately, I’d been making the stuff like bootleg.

What were my options? A. Drive to work and get keys off husband. Nope, not happening. B. Break in. This could be an option. The place was so rickety that an asthmatic wolf could blow it down. C. Use a neighbour’s phone and call husband home with keys. Was this the best way to meet the new neighbours? Putting to one side how impressed Dear Husband would be to get a message from Dear Wife saying come home – I’ve locked myself out – in my Elmo pyjamas …

I’m not ordinarily one to preconceive conversations, however, I started to think how to approach the neighbours in my pyjamas without them calling the police. I couldn’t approach the renters across the street, the ones who never wave back, because I couldn’t see a happy ending to that meeting, any way I looked at it. Then there were the extremely prim and proper retirees who knew my mother. Not happening. Then, there were the other neighbours who wave back. But I didn’t want them to regret being friendly. How would the conversation begin? Would they look through their peep hole and pretend to not be home? Would the pajamas be an ice-breaker? As in, the darling children picked them … I’ve locked myself out … may I use your phone? I’d probably cry with embarrassment and not get any words out at all, then they’d call the police and maybe even the ambulance. Nope, not going there.

I followed the cat around to the back door. She looked at me with her slightly cross-eyed yellow saucers, expecting me to let her in. As if to demonstrate, she launched eight kilos of claws onto the fly screen door and hung off it until the beading popped out, peeling the fly screen all the way back. Reaching through the fly screen, I could pull open the glass sliding door. Brilliant! It was unlocked. The cat and I made our way inside, as if nothing had happened. We pushed the fly screen back into place as best as we could. No-one will ever need to know, other than you, Dear Reader.

So, the moral of today’s story is, get to know your neighbours well before you ever have to call on them and make the rubbish bins someone else’s responsibility.

NB. Some details of this story have been changed for dramatic effect. Eg. the cat insists that she’s closer to 6 kilos.

Categories: Life, Pets, Social Commentary

How to Survive Twilight: Eclipse

Here are my best tips for getting through the latest movie in the Twilight vampire saga.

1. Before booking tickets, bone up on the previous two films. The best way to do that is to watch these reviews.

2. Book Gold Class. Not only will this help the third movie catch up to the gross of the first two, but if you are of age, alcohol helps. Failing that, any kind of digestible distraction helps.
3. Go with the girls. This is a girls-only fantasy film. If a male accompanies you, he’ll be expecting a reward … and it won’t just be tickets to The Karate Kid or The A-team next time.
4. Take someone who has read the books. Not even they know what’s going on, but together, you’ll have fun trying to work it out.
5. Wear sneakers, runners, joggers or sandshoes. There is so much blurry vision of people sprinting, the only thing missing is the Nike or Adidas logo, so bring your own. In fact, all that running might motivate you to run home. Fast.
6. Decide whether you’re on Team Edward or Team Jacob before you go. Everyone else does, even if sappy emo-girl Bella takes 2 hours to make up her mind.
7. Beware: the scariest thing about the film is the cinema full of middle-aged women trying to decide if they’re on Team Edward or Team Jacob (remembering this is a teen movie).
8. Spoiler alert: all the ladies end up rooting for Edward, because let’s face it, what woman longs to be changed into (instead of from) a hairy werewolf (instead of an ageless, powerful, irresistible version of herself)?

Males who have been to the film universally comment as follows:
1. Where’s our eye-candy?
2. What sort of a jerk would be lead on by a girl like that?
3. As if.

Just remember, it’s a love story …

Categories: Books, Love, Movies

Road Test: Coco Crush & Coat Magic for pampered pooches

July 9, 2010 2 comments

Loving thy pooch doesn’t mean putting up with doggie odour and lots of knots. Last week, I reviewed a product for cats. Dog-lovin’ readers are demanding equal time. So here goes …

Yours Truly is often asked to share Elvis’ style secrets – Elvis, the Shih-Tzu Poodle cross, affectionately referred to as the Shitoodle, that is. The resemblance to Presley is admittedly only fleeting, when the dog is sporting big hair. In his party glasses, he probably looks more like Elvis Costello.

Elvis goes to Animal House professional grooming every two months and it is there that we discovered the summer-inspired bliss-in-a-bottle, Coco Crush. It’s a non-irritating pump spray that smells so good that you have to know when to stop spraying (and be mindful not to spray oneself…all over). It takes one away to a beach in the 1980s, when everyone was soaked in coconut tanning oil. Cousin Basil, the Jack Russell, also enjoys more invitations onto the couch since borrowing Elvis’ cologne.

The other product is for coat care and knots – Coat Magic, no less. It speaks for itself.

For those in the Brisbane area, John and Janet do a wonderful job with the pooches. Elvis LOVES going there. For those pooches who aren’t local, try some of the products. Now, where did that bottle go….

Categories: Pets, Products

Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After & Marmeduke

Mini People were spoiled for choice with movies this holidays. All of these kids’ flicks were entertaining and were universally loved by the Mini People as well as their keepers.

In order of preference: Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After & Marmeduke. Why?

Toy Story 3 was the favourite. The story was great, the animations were as we’ve come to expect and there was no bagging out of stupid parents (other than “mom” accidentally throwing out the toys). Kids think their parents are stupid by the time they’re teenagers as a matter of natural progression – paying Hollywood to bring this process forward into the tween and early years is just an assault on parenting. This is why movies are a sometimes treat, to be enjoyed with a parent present, even if G rated. Toy Story 3 was good clean fun and it had useful messages about loyalty, care, friendship and anti-bullying. Admittedly, I was leaking from the eyes within minutes of this film starting. A word of caution however: this film’s marketing and tied in merchandising is very effective – hold onto your wallets.

Shrek Forever After was well put together, although the Mini People probably responded more warmly to the Marmeduke movie, simply because this edition of Shrek was darker than the previous movies. Children don’t really get why Fiona and Shrek were not as nice as they were in the earlier movies. Visually, the animations were fantastic and the story-line held together better than Marmeduke. Parents will get more out of Shrek than Marmeduke, as it’s cleverer and speaks to things that adults in relationships (particularly with kids) understand. For the kids, it’s just a revisiting of loved characters and easily digested humour. This is probably a good film to send dad to, with or without kids, to head off any impending mid-life crisis revolt against domesticity. While this does in a way, bag out dads, at least it’s a dad’s own journey toward contentment, rather than a movie which is narrated by a dog who’s cleverer than the owner. The simple moral of Shrek is to appreciate your family.

The Mini People loved Marmeduke as did die-hard dog-lovers who were able to ignore jarring plot issues, awkward character development and poor quality CGI. Marmeduke was a dog’s version of a high school teen angst movie. The parallel human plot was about the family’s growing disconnect because of the work-obsessed, clumsy, goofy father. There were plenty of nifty things for kids to learn from this film, like how to roll eyes every time one’s father speaks, how to write snide text messages about your family, how if your dad’s too busy to notice – sneak off to the skate park instead of soccer training and how talking to your dog instead of your parents somehow makes it all better (because of course, the dog fixes everything in the end). There was just a bit too much cheesiness in the rushed ending. Also, why does the cat need a Spanish accent like Puss in Boots? And why do all the dogs dance in the end like in Shrek and Garfield? Marmeduke, the movie, just felt like it had been pushed through production too fast and was roughly hacked together in the editing room. On a brighter note, the menace of merchandising wasn’t an issue and the Mini People thought the moral was to take better care of the family dog and to fight against bullying.

It’d be great if there were more stories about the resourcefulness of kids and less said about unhealthy family dynamics.
What’s that Skippy?
A bushfire? Where?
At the ranger station?
Let’s go, Skip!

The kids in the movies of my time were so clever, they even understood kangaroos. Enough with the eye-rolling, already!