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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.

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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

Karli’s birthday & appeal

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Brisbane turned on a beautiful day for Karli Dyke’s 9th birthday and appeal day at the Jube on Sunday. There was a great turn out and show of support for the family. The bands were awesome, although (perhaps, unsurprisingly) they couldn’t play any Miley Cyrus. (I did ask.)

A number of readers have asked me to report on the day and to provide details for the fundraising effort, so see below … I hope to get my hands on a book of tickets for the signed & framed Michael Clarke bat – message me please if you’re interested. If you’d like to make a direct cash donation:
Keith Foss & Pauline Campbell
Karli Dyke Appeal
Suncorp Bank
BSB: 484-799
A/C : 20-177148-5

The new-look Jubilee Hotel is a neat place for a $2 Sunday steak and $4 Corona, with no trace of its jelly-wrestling and topless girl past. It was a very nice way to spend an afternoon with friends.

Hip-hip HURRAY for Karli. May this year be a really good one!

Categories: Australia, Health, Life, Parenthood

Get your blues on this weekend

October 13, 2010 Leave a comment

If you’re in Brisbane this Sunday, October 17th, 2010, drop into the Jubilee Hotel anywhere from NOON (correction, not 1:30pm) onwards and support precious Karli by listening to some great bands! These awesome folks are donating their appearance fee. All we have to do is come cheer them on. Entry is free and kids are invited.

If you can’t get down there, but would like to buy raffle tickets or make a donation to the Karli Dyke Foundation, message Yours Truly and I’ll find out more details.

About a year ago, Karli was diagnosed with a form of leukemia. She’s the bravest little critter I know. This Sunday, she turns 9 and she’ll be celebrating in style. (Blues bands playing for your 9th party, how cool is that! I can feel a “Blues Brothers” quote coming on …)

Watch this space, as Karli and her super-mum Suzie might drop by and do a guest appearance on the blog.

The bands:
Transvaal Diamond Syndicate
Morningside Fats
Jimi Beavis
Andrew Baxter
Doug Ford

The venue:
Jubilee Hotel

I hope to see you there!

UPDATE: Big shout out to Spencer Howson on 612 ABC Breakfast for announcing Karli’s gig! [Friday 15 October 2010].

Craft: DIY hairclip hanger

October 11, 2010 Leave a comment

I spotted this beautiful hair clip organiser at the impeccably styled home of the Aunt-Who-Thinks-Of-Everything. It looks like something one could make …

And, that would be my 2,000 words on craft for the week. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Reader Anita has kindly sent in a picture of another:-

Categories: Art, Australia, Craft, Parenthood

Clare’s Memory Book: last call for stories & craft-lovers

October 8, 2010 4 comments

Today, Greg put up a message on the We Are Praying for Clare Mennis Facebook site, calling for Clare stories. His message is copied below. Admin will also be incorporating comments from my site. Shortly, a few of us will be putting together a memory book, for Clare’s boys – which will be bound – hence, this **final call** for comments / stories / reflections / condolences / prayers / well wishes for the family. Maybe you have some photos or other pictures or drawings for the family. It’s special for them to see their beloved Clare through the eyes of others.

Greg Mennis:- I would love to hear all the stories. This one was great “The children from a class in year one each brought a flower from home
and put together this arrangement, along with shells and blue pebbles,
to represent one of Clare’s favourite places: Sandgate” Greg
4 hours ago · Comment · LikeUnlike · Flag

Greg Mennis:- Thank you everyone for all the help, support and especially prayers during Clare’s illness and since her passing. Please share your memories of Clare and what she meant to you. I would like them all collected and bound so that when the boys want to they have something to remember their mother with. This means so much to me and the boys. Thank you, Greg
6 hours ago

As you can see from the photo below, this is what passes for craft at my house. I can make Christmas trees look like cheerful Daleks (the mean robots on Dr Who). So, in all, I might not be the best person to bring onto a craft endeavour. Knowing my limitations, I’m extending an invitation to anyone who is craft-oriented, to offer their services in the making of this special book for the boys. If you have bits ‘n bobs that might lend themselves to a memory book, or have a little time or talent for such a project, I’d invite you to contact Sarah or Genevieve on the We Are Praying site, or send me your contact details through the Message box and I’ll put you in touch.

By way of update (and so we don’t have duplication of effort), Cathy Dunbar’s Tupperware party last Saturday has scored the family some nice gifts, including:

a picnic set, a water cooler & tumblers, a serving dish, & additional tumblers. On top of that, Carmen Rooke (our Tupperware demonstrator and also a Mum at St D’s) put a call out to all the other Reps in her team requesting donations – & she’s had a great response….

The spirit of Mary MacKillop, who is canonised this month, is alive and well: let’s not see a need and do nothing about it.

Have a safe weekend, and please, send in your reflections.

UPDATE: Some very touching comments have come through – thank you. Others feel understandably daunted by the task, so I wonder whether they could perhaps help us with little details, like:
What was Clare’s favourite (and why, if you know):
prayer
children’s book
Christmas carol
movie
place in summer
activity in winter
holiday
winter dish
cake recipe (include it!)
colour
saying
perfume
piece of parenting advice
flower or plant in the garden
craft activity
outfit …
You get the idea. It’s the details that will make the boys’ memory of their mother vivid. Maybe the next playgroup meeting could pass around a piece of parchment and pens, to record these little things that made Clare the person she was. Think back to your own childhood and what you remember of your mother – her slippers and apron, her cooking, the things she said when you were naughty or nice, the sounds and smells of the family home ….

I’ve also had volunteers come forward to help out with making the memory book (thanks, Cathy, Anita & Rosanna) and photos (thanks, Sam). Thank you also to the readers, (many never having met Clare) who continue to offer their Prayers.

Categories: Life, Love, Parenthood, Religion