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Miss Piggy cupcakes

October 8, 2011 4 comments

Take a look at these Miss Piggy cupcakes (from Cup-a-Cake, Chermside).

They look easy enough to make, if you’re so inclined: 2 cut marshmellows for the ears and snout, dots of chocolate gel for eyes and snout and a sugar flower on top of your pink iced cupcake.

I might take some of these to work to share. After all, we should take work seriously, but not ourselves.

Enjoy!

20111008-115446.jpg

Categories: Cake, Craft, Parenthood

Beware of parents

March 23, 2011 2 comments

Language is a wonderful thing; but it needs to be used sparingly and with caution.

This is especially so, with signage in high traffic areas.

“FOR THE SAFETY OF CHILDREN, PARENTS NOT PERMITTED”.

That’s a classic.

Hug Mug & Chocolate OD

February 27, 2011 4 comments

I rather like chocolate, so I took it upon myself to try out a chocolate bar on the Gold Coast. My friends might be surprised to learn that I’ve never quite recovered. The photos might explain why.

Chocolate bar

While I was happily drinking my hot chocolate in a “Hug Mug”, I was thinking two things:

Dark hot chocolate, milk hot chocolate (skipped the white hot chocolate)

1. Isn’t this mug a great idea?
2. What does it remind me of?

Hug Mug (was a man standing up, or sitting down, when he thought of this?)

As if sensing my thoughts, Miss Six asked, “Mummy, why does your mug look like a men’s urinal?”

After that, nothing quite tasted right. Otherwise, I would highly recommend the nearest chocolate bar, though you might like to order a bit less than we did….

I've never met a chocolate thing I didn't like ...

Everything with its own chocky dipping sauce

Milkshakes in curious vessels

Just a tiny bit more? (Monty Python's man with the bucket comes to mind)

Review: “Tron Legacy”, movie

January 8, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s a typical quest story: reluctant hero (Sam) gets a message which sets him off on his journey, where he meets a wise old individual (Kevin) and mythical creature (Quorra) on the way to defeat the bad guy (Clu) and save the world. Somehow, along the way, hero wins and the lost warrior does something to redeem himself.

Disney’s “Tron Legacy” is a hard one to review insofar as I think it’ll be loved by some audiences and hated by others.

Likely Supporters:
Computer geeks (nothing wrong with that, embrace it)
People who loved the original movie back in ’82
Boys aged 8+
Popcorn crowd up to the age of 40.

Likely Naysayers:
Script-writers & novelists (who get pounded by editors to write better characters)
Arts students (who know about “the arc”)
People who like well-developed characters
People who don’t like fast motorbikes.

The movie was a visual feast and the imaged cyber universe, quite impressive, but the dialogue and character development was lame, almost an afterthought. The movie was fantastical in the way that “The Matrix” was, but without the obvious depth. To its credit, however, “Tron Legacy” didn’t take itself as seriously as “The Matrix”.

If you’re a parent, wondering whether it’s okay for your teenagers, well, I’d have to say yes, insofar as it was a clean film: no sex scenes, no horribly smutty stuff (other than female robots in skin-tight plastic suits and stilettos), no frightful messages. It was a boy meets girl cliche in the end, but who cares. Your kids might hassle you for an RSPCA rescue pet as well, because it’s made out to be really, like cool – to impress the chicks, particularly.

Disney overclocked its computers and came up with a movie that will impress the crowds who know what overclocking means, and quite possibly, lots who don’t.

Review: “Tangled”, the movie

January 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Disney’s kids’ flick, “Tangled” came out in Aussie cinemas yesterday.

It’s a gorgeous, hilarious re-imagined, Disney interpretation of the classic fairytale, “Rapunzel”. To its credit, the film isn’t called “Rapunzel” (unlike “Gulliver’s Travels” which were nothing of the sort).

Even Rotten Tomatos loves this movie.

I won’t give away the story, but will say that it’s worth taking the kids to. Everyone gets plenty of laughs and the Disney magic sparkles. The tunes were cute, the morals were intact and the pictures sure were pretty.

And, does it make the parentals hide behind Kleenex? Indeed, it does.

Thumbs up. Go see it.
(And, parents of little girls, be ready for the conversation about how long they’re going to grow their hair….)

Comedy in cat food labelling

November 14, 2010 Leave a comment

This week, the Six-Kilo-Cat developed her annual fussy-with-furballs problem, necessitating the administration of twice daily tablets, Cat-Lax paste and a whole new menu.

Scratched-up and emotionally crippled by the ordeal, I took myself to the shops in search of new cat chow – something to hide tablets in, chiefly. To this point, I’d managed to stay within the Kia-to-Corolla range of cat food, but desperation finally brought me to the Rolls Royce of kitty cuisine.

Comedians in cat food labelling...

Well, how funny did I feel, reading the labels:
* pate, marinade, jus, sauce and gravy (nary a jelly at this price point)
* sliced, shredded, whole, or strips
* chicken, turkey, duck, whitemeat, ocean fish (how discriminatory), prawns, beef, chicken hearts and livers, virgin tuna (as opposed to what, exactly?)
* accented with long grain rice, tossed with vegetables
* a delight, affair or banquet?

Readers would know that truth in advertising is something I hold dear, mainly because it happens so rarely. Give me a brand of cat food, something like this:
* Ducks’ guts in goop
* Fish eyes ‘n fins jelly
* Chicken wobblies in sauce
* Beef offal with cereal.

As the kids insightfully point out, the cat can’t read. However, after all the fuss and big-spending on new food, the kids also advise me that the boss only eats what comes out of light pink tins and still spits out the tablets. Go figure.

I’m in love with Caketopia

November 12, 2010 5 comments

Today’s must-share experience is all about cake.

Cake is one of my favourite subjects. I majored in cake at law school and it did me heaps good. A dear buddy once made me a birthday cake and couldn’t get the glass out of the middle. We wore silly hats in the uni refectory, which went with the well-meant but equally inedible torte della microwave. Lucky she’s really, really good at law, is all I can say. (M, maybe we’ll order from this site next time?)

Take a look at the Caketopia blogspot and tell me that you’re not in love too.

Two examples…

(With thanks, Reader A.)

LOL: Buffy v Edward Cullen

November 4, 2010 Leave a comment

This week, I’m bringing the Friday funny forward a day, because you’ll want to watch this again tomorrow. This has been out for a while – apologies for not posting it sooner.

I’ll spare you the thesis, but the person who remixed this content is not only very, very funny, but also effective in showing up the dreadful messages in the Twilight franchise. Stalking is not cool. Having the personality of asparagus is also not cool. Comparing someone to heroin is … you get the idea. I’m sure Stephanie Meyer didn’t intend to include those messages, but they’re there. They don’t matter to people who are all grown-up and in good relationships, but they do matter a lot to more impressionable minds.

Craft: Halloween pumpkin & be safe message

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Using the right pumpkin makes the job EASY!

Brisbanites frequenting supermarkets have started encountering big, overpriced, yellow pumpkins just lately. I took it upon myself to see what all the fuss was about.

In the name of craft and open-mindedness, I put aside my reservations about ‘celebrating’ Halloween, to see whether these pumpkins were anything special. To be honest, I’d wondered how hard it would be to carve one up, given the near brute force needed to cut up our typical Butternut pumpkin for dinner.

In short, it was as easy as falling off a log. Using the right kind of pumpkin makes all the difference. As you can see from the photos below, it’s a softer pumpkin which has a lot of ‘guts’ that’s easily scooped out by little kids. The cutting must be done by an adult (obviously, one would think). The supermarket instruction sheet sets out 8 steps, but really, there are only five, tops. To be clear, the hairy fingers in the photos are not my own. Yours Truly suffered a shoulder / neck injury while sleeping (how sad is that?) and couldn’t operate the knife without screaming like a banshee, so Dear Brother did the honours.

1. Carefully cut the top off using a knife (operated by a competent adult).
2. Scoop out the insides.
3. Draw a face with a permanent ink marker or mark the outline of a face with pins (eg. using a template).
4. Cut out face
5. Insert a tea light candle and light it.

Easy carve pumpkin

Instructions & template

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Carving up a pumpkin and having a bit of dress-up fun at home is one thing. But if you are taking kids out for trick or treating, do keep in mind the contradictory messages (Don’t take lollies from strangers, except on Halloween. Don’t be mean, unless the neighbours don’t give you sweets. Bullies are bad, except on Halloween.) which can set you up for trouble down the long and winding road of parenthood. While you might be going with them this year, there’ll come a time when they’ll think it lame that their parents tag along (and by that stage, they’ll be too big to say “No” to, with any sort of moral authority). And please don’t kid yourself that children in a group are safe. Sometimes, a group is the most dangerous place to be.

Keeping kids safe is hard work. In a perfect world, there would be no begging for lollies (as opposed to nuts in days gone by, in preparation for winter), but if it must be done, then perhaps consider door-knocking just your friends and family and by prior arrangement. Don’t freak out the elderly, or people who don’t understand or want to have Halloween thrust upon them. Realistically, anyone opening the door to strangers on Halloween is crazy, even if it’s a little kid standing at the screen door (who’s standing behind him?).

A bit of consideration goes a long way in not only keeping good neighbours, but in keeping EVERYBODY safe. Go look up some statistics about how many kids go missing on Halloween overseas. Ask your friendly police how many assaults happen and how many complaints they clock up. Fun should never be at the expense of others.

And this is the end of the government, anti-fun policy.

Have fun, responsibly. And regardless of your religious beliefs, think about the dearly departed on 1 November, which is what it’s all really about.

UPDATE: To avoid being gouged on the price of a Halloween pumpkin, try using a watermelon – it does work and you get to eat the insides. The Halloween pumpkin isn’t good eating. See my later post with photos of a Halloween watermelon, thanks to the Auntie-who-thinks-of-everything.

Trend Alert: Goodbyn lunch boxes from USA, for kids & adults

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment

The Auntie-Who-Thinks-of-Everything alerts Yours Truly to a new trend, that’s sure to work its way to the outer sleepy suburbs….

Personalise your Goodbyn with stickers

Here’s the inside with some bits tucked in for size demonstration purposes. It easily fits a regular sandwich, fruit, crackers & cheese and the rest. Check out the Goodbyn or Biome website for more.

Liquid tight compartments to keep foods separate

Love thy lunchbox - the Goodbyn

Inner city Brisbane schools are abuzz with the latest in cool kids’ lunch boxes. Word on the street is that kids are loving the Goodbyn lunch boxes from the USA, but which can be bought in Australia from Biome.

What’s to like, with just another pile of plastic, you wonder.

Well, consider:
* lead free, BPA free, pthalates free
* funky, personalised with 3 sheets of stickers
* LIQUID TIGHT seals between compartments to prevent merging of foods & smells
* great for the environment if it reduces one’s dependence on cling wrap, plastic bags & disposable drink containers
* comes with a freezable drinks container which keeps food cool & probably doesn’t require a cooler bag
* fully recyclable
* one lunch box, one lid – no losing separate little boxes with little lids and ice bricks and cooler bags (less to label)
* easy to open (for 5+) and easy to carry handle (also available for 10+ to adults)
* it’s like a lunch tray
* a percent of sales goes to environmental causes.

But:
* about A$45
* big & a challenge to squeeze into little backpacks
* stickers come off after washing eventually
* recommended for 5 plus because of the single lid – if the child drops the box, the whole lot goes
* once you’re hooked, you’re hooked.

The adult version of the Goodbyn doesn’t have the big lip / ear for easy opening and comes in more sedate colours. It’d be great for taking leftovers to work, be it curry and rice, salad, fruit salad and yoghurt or dip and veggie sticks. Perhaps other stickers would be required for adults. Here’s one I thought of: Think Big, Eat Small. Or, Would You Like Chocolate With That?

Apparently, you can put yoghurt or dip into one compartment, without it spilling into others. This is pretty nifty. In terms of liquid tight seals, the only other brand I currently know and trust is Tupperware (Tuppercare Snack Cups & Everyday Bowls, Fuel Pack & All Day Pack for babes). But, I haven’t seen anything in the configuration of the Goodbyn. Having it all in one, does seem convenient.

I don’t own one (because I’d just been to several Tupperware fundraisers…) but I’ve seen it in action. My niece gets on with her new lunchbox very well and in the end, that’s what matters – making lunches something children look forward to. Everything else is a big bonus. Anything that makes good parenting easier gets my tick of approval.

So, this week, while you’re filling out school book orders for next year and probably wondering how many weeks are left till Christmas, you might want to contact Santa for a Goodbyn stocking filler.

Happy lunching!

Categories: Parenthood, Products, Review