Friday, August 1, 2014

FFS Friday - The Business Edition

Short and sweet this week. It's freezing here (FFS) and both girls have snotty noses (FFS). Cuddles are required. But before I lose my train of thought...

M requires a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. FFS.
Whilst she has private health insurance, she hasn't held it for twelve consecutive months yet, meaning that she's ineligible for this surgery in a private hospital without a certificate from her surgeon and our GP saying it's a non pre-existing condition. FFS.
I prefer the public hospital anyway. NO FFS.
But their waiting lists are known for being atrocious. FFS.
With this in mind we put the request form for her surgery the day she was given it.
I called the next day to make sure that the form made it's way to the right people. The response was 'Well M'am, if you put it in the box we would have it. OK?' FFS.
Fast forward to yesterday. Four weeks after I'd called and we hadn't heard anything. I called again, got put through to a lovely lady who couldn't find M in the system anywhere. She offered to call me back immediately after she'd done some research. NO FFS.
She called me back about three minutes after we hung up. 'I'm so sorry, but I've just been downstairs to double check and your form was still in the box. It's been there since you put it in there. I've added her to the waiting list now and I've backdated your request. Did you happen to take the tape off the box opening to put your form in?' 'Nope.' 'Ah. Well, I'm sorry about the mix up.' FFS.
I'm glad it's not urgent surgery. Perhaps the public servant who condescendingly told me 'Well M'am, if you put it in the box we would have it.' COULD HAVE CHECKED. FFS.

In June I subscribed to RedPawPaw, a new Australian business offering a box of grocery sample products delivered for $5. Sure! Why not? It was fun getting a big box of groceries. NO FFS.
I am so old. FFS.
The second box from RedPawPaw took an extraordinarily long time to arrive, and the company doesn't answer their phones and wasn't replying to their Facebook page queries. FFS.
Towards the end of the month with no tracking number available my parcel arrived via Australia Post, not a courier as explicitly stated. FFS.
Mighty first world inconvenience - AP parcels need to be signed for and picked up. Courier comes to my door. FFS.
Filled with glossy printed brochures, the RedPawPaw box looks lush and high end. NO FFS.
What is FFS-Worthy is the email that arrived the week after the last box, stating that due to high demand they were relaunching in two month's time. And then the email saying that due to customer complaints they were changing their delivery partner (to Australia Post). They also stated that they would unfortunately have to pass on their delivery cost. FFS.
This brings the new cost from $5/month to $19.25/month. FFS.
No no, it's cool. You can cancel. NO FFS.
So I did. NO FFS.
Then overnight I got an email thanking me for my continued business and a receipt for the charge of $19.25 for my August box. FFS.
They aren't answering their phones. FFS.
Nor replying to questions on their Facebook page. FFS.
I have cancelled my box again on their website. FFS.
Who knows what will happen next? FFS.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

ParentRadar (tm)

I like to imagine that in most family homes the children can be calm and collected. Then a little jolt zaps them and their ParentRadar (tm) has been switched on.

No idea what I'm on about? I'm sure you're lying, or instagramming a prettier version of the truth.

Let me walk you through it. Grab a coffee folks, let's go.

In my house the ParentRadar (tm) is activated when my children hear me talking on the phone, closing the bathroom door, taking off my glasses to go to sleep at night, going to get a piece of firewood from outside or attempting to make conversation with Mr S. It is not activated when I cook in the kitchen, hang out the washing, vacuum the house, go and stand by their beds to say goodnight when they are asleep, or make a cup of tea.

Recently ParentRadar has been activated when they see me pull on my workout gear. A 7 minute workout last week wound up with both children crying after 2 minutes. This morning I got up at 5am after M crept into our bed at 4.55am (THANK YOU FOR LEAVING THEIR BEDROOM DOOR OPEN MR S, IT WAS DELIGHTFUL LISTENING TO BOTH YOU AND M SLEEPING IN MY BED.) and decided to go for a run.

I cooked the porridge, hopped in the shower. Pippa's ParentRadar (tm) was immediately activated and by the noise she was making when I got out of the shower, she'd been awake for a while. The weather turned rainy and I still planned to go out, but the galeforce winds changed my mind.

I decided to do a Fitball workout instead. I found the DVD, pumped up the Fitball and put the DVD in the player. It made a REALLY strange noise. I asked Pip if she'd put anything in the DVD player... I was met with 'Ummm..... Mum.... ahhh.... Ummmmm...' I discovered a paddlepop stick in there. Pliers in hand, stick removed, I began the DVD.

Approximately two minutes in, Pip lost her mind because I wouldn't give her the Fitball. This kept on for a few more minutes until she realised she could do this.

Extra resistance

Rider aboard, I kept doing my pushups and supermans. We then sat on the Fitball doing reaches and lunges. I thought 'Oh my god, my quads'. Pip said 'Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!'

Everyone was happy. M was doing the workout with me, then ran past me, tapped the ball, tripped over her own feet, on to her nose. 'OUCH MY NOOOOOOOOSE NOOOOOOOSE OWWWWW'. Pip was unhappy again that I wouldn't let her take the Fitball. 'NOOOOOO MUM MUM NOOOO'.

18 minutes of workout. Every child screaming. Mr S looking a bit worse for wear. But truly, ParentRadar (tm). Has anyone got an antidote?


Friday, July 25, 2014

FFS Friday - A Comedy of Errors

It is 9.39am here as I tap away on my computer. The girls are entertaining themselves with a puzzle and a wind up mobile. Let me tell you about the last two days as I laugh hysterically on the edge of sleep.

Wednesday

The girls are both in filthy moods all day. There's snatching of toys, raised voices, throwing self on floor tantrums and surprisingly none of those behaviours were mine. After swearing black and blue that she does not need a sleep M crashes out in the beanbag for 40 minutes. P has an unusually long sleep and looks a bit worse for wear when she wakes up. I realise that perhaps she is coming down with a cold or tonsillitis again. I hope not. Tomorrow is my six hours of freedom of daycare.

Overnight M wakes up twice saying her throat hurts and winds up sleeping in our bed wearing no pajamas but instead a sparkly princess dress. Sure.

Thursday

P looks awful when she wakes up and appears to have a fever. I hope that she's just warm from sleeping. She refuses to eat breakfast, and throws a few epic tantrums over life ruining events like "Daddy won't let me eat my cereal standing in front of the stereo". Half an hour before we leave for daycare I check her temperature again and sure enough, it's 38.3, up from the 38.1 when she got up.
We have a discussion about the correct days of the week to get sick. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday are fine. The day in uneventful and P accompanies me to the Dr for my appointment. She is ok for now, but her throat is pretty red and we have a script at the ready.

Overnight M wakes twice. Mr S brings her into our bed where she promptly sets up camp on my side of the bed and Mr S goes bACK TO SLEEP. P IS SITTING ON MY LAP as I am typing. Can you tell?

Friday

At 5am P WAkes up AND I RESETTLE Her and decide that I might as well stay awake as P's bottle leaked all over my dressing gown and ergo, leaked all over me. I'm cold and I calculate the odds of an uninterrrupted shower and a hot cup of coffee are pretty good. I decide that's a stupid idea and I could have more sleep. I go to get back into bed and discover M snoring on my side. Shower and coffee it is.

I shower in peace, have a hot cup of coffee whilst watching the Commonwealth Games. I decide to put some wood on the fire and get the porridge going. This is when my day gets laughably interesting.

The fire smokes somewhat and after putting the wood on the fire I head off to the kitchen to get the breakfast started. Suddenly the smoke alarm starts binging away madly. It's not the one in the dining room (near the fire) but the one right next to my bedroom. Where everyone is sleeping. I race through the house and wave a cushion at the smoke alarm hollering 'IT'S OK IT'S OK' to Mr S and Millie. I poke my head around the door and explain briefly what happened. M is shaken but has several explanations of Fireman Sam and what she would do if there was a real fire. As Mr S tells M that Fireman Sam won't be coming because he has realised we were just having a practice, M explains to us both that Fireman Sam isn't real, he's just on TV. I tell them both to go back to sleep and go back to the couch with my coffee.

Twenty minutes later I hear M still chatting to a half asleep Mr S. I encourage her to come out the lounge with me to let Daddy sleep. He grumbles that his alarm will go off in two minutes anyway... but still manages to bring himself to closing his eyes for another half hour.

M and I settle down to breakfast ("I DON'T LIKE PORRIDGE MUM I WANT CEREAL PLEASE") and watch the Rhythmic Gymnastics. Mr S strolls through to the shower giving me a "TV with breakfast?" eyebrow. M immediately abandons her breakfast in favour of a shower.

P wakes up and demands breakfast immediately. I'd hope so after the sum total of the food she ate the day before was a cookie, a banana, a bite of sandwich and a few crackers. M is getting dressed (again) after her shower and I try to make P's breakfast before M realises that she is eating the abandoned breakfast.

Too late.

P snarfs her breakfast, M snarfs her breakfast. P throws a tantrum when I don't encourage her to use a peeled banana as a rolling pin. M throws a tantrum when I don't let her have her dummy "BUT I AM SO TIRED" (THEN YOU SHOULD STAY IN YOUR BED AT NIGHT AND SLEEP).

I attempt to put away Mt Washmore after vacuuming, dishes, bathroom clean and making the beds. P finds me to tell me 'No more wateer?'. I foolishly think that she's drunk it all. Thirsty girl! I make my way back to the loungeroom for more clothes to put away when I see that the water is actually all over the couch. Remove couch cover. Blot couch with towel.

Hey Mr S, let's buy a cream microfibre couch. Yes, we don't have kids.
Only idiots would have a cream couch with kids.
We'll totally not still have this couch by the time we have kids.
We now own two rotating couch covers.

M is yelling for me from the bathroom. Sit down and talk her through her morning ablutions, help her get dressed again. She is screaming and I'm not entirely sure why. She scraped her knee on Sunday and she says at top volume that it is HURTING HURTING HURTING. Continue with the washing.

P finds me and I realise she needs a nappy change. Go to change her nappy, Mr S announces that he is leaving and can't wait for me to change Pip before he has a cuddle. Sure thing. They play a game on the bed and I take over Mr S's part in the game. At the punchline of the game P looks at me like I'm an idiot.

We agree that Mummy is indeed an idiot and I get back to the washing.

'Helping'

I finally finish the washing, which took a surprisingly long time given that it was only half a load. FFS.

I head to the kitchen to do the dishes where I am found and repeatedly asked the following question and I'll let you decide who is who (whom is whom? Whatever.):
'Mum? May I have a cookie please? And a macaron?'
'MUM. COOKAAAAAH. COOOOOKIIIIEEEEE.'

We agree that after I've done the dishes they may have ONE cookie or ONE macaron each, not both. It takes a few more reiterations of this before the message is clear.

One cookie is had by each child and parent. I hang up the next load of washing. I have also sat in front of the couch drying it with my hairdryer.

Coffee again.

It's now 10.11am and I have been out of my chair four times to witness M putting together the same six piece puzzle by herself 'AWESOME WORK! HIGH FIVE!' and winding up the music box for P 'MUM WORK WORK WORK'. I am about to hit up another coffee.

May I also just mention that Mr S asked me to bake 'A lot, like LOTS of treats' for his staff on Stocktake Day. I did.


He told me when he got home that day that they weren't actually arriving until 3pm. He also 'forgot' the macarons. I know he doesn't like them, but I don't really either and I thought his workmates would enjoy them. FFS.

I gave the macarons to my neighbours last night. They said they were lovely.

Yours in Fridays,

Amy

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Really Useful Things

When we need something like this, it's usually 3am and Mr S and I are tag teaming the sick kids and medication thereof. We have a hastily scribbled piece of paper on the bench for each kid detailing their dosage and times of paracetamol, ibuprofen, antibiotics or all of the above. Don't forget the teething gel too.

Usually we sleepily mutter 'It's Nurofen time' to the awakened parent, but I thought that there needed to be a better. So, demonstrating that I am still a graphic designer at heart, here is my hastily put together (THE KIDS ARE SLEEPING AT THE SAME TIME OMG) Medication List printable.

I've put two sheets on each page, so you can fill out the relevant information and have a few on hand. There's some pretty basic stuff on there too, like name, age and weight. I'm hoping that you can remember these things off hand, but in a pinch or emergency it is so handy to have this right in front of you in bold type. It's pretty basic, but I know I'll be reaching for it if my girls both go down with illness at the same time. Again.

I've got a few more Really Useful Things to put into a printable format for y'all - so stay tuned.

Until then, I hope your kids are really quite well and you never need this.


Click on the image above to download, or click here.


Think this is Really Useful? Please pin it!

Friday, July 18, 2014

FFS Friday - The Kid's Show Edition

Norman Price

The main protagonist on Fireman Sam, Norman Price, is a young 'mischievous' lad who makes trouble at every turn. Station Officer Steele is the only character with any sense who wishes to 'set him straight' whilst his mother Dilys mutters things about him being a good boy, truly. It's also what I imagine the mothers of misbehaving rugby players must say. Also, the closing credits to The Great Fire of Pontypandy state 'It's the safest place we know, Pontypandy by the sea' - LIES. It's clearly NOT the safest place if there's a fire every day requiring the help of expert firemen. And whilst I'm at it, I'm surprised Elvis and Mandy haven't taken out Sam on the quiet. They seem to be competent firemen but Sam's always there barging in to fix everything. FFS.

Wiggles

I have grown to enjoy the 'new' Wiggle line-up. Lady P is somewhat Wiggle obsessed and comes sidling up to me saying 'Mum? Wiggles PWEEEEEASE?'. I find myself humming 'Apples and Bananas' and realise that its 10pm and my kids are nowhere in sight. FFS.

Wiggles vs Tasmanian Tiger

Whilst watching said Wiggles, I heard a song about the Tasmanian Tiger. I was visibly disgusted to see what they used for a Tasmanian Tiger costume. WTF Wiggles? SHAME ON YOU. FFS.


Let It Rain

I live in a high rainfall area. So much so that I haven't watered my vegie garden in months. There seems to be one spot on my deck that does not get wet, no matter how horizontal the rain is. The first I realised of this was Mr S asking 'Amy? Have you been watering the Jasmine plant?'. The answer is no, Mr S, I have not. I have begun watering it, but I noticed it had been moved to the middle of the deck today. Perhaps to catch some of the 30mm/24hr rainfall we've been experiencing. FFS.

Hangry Hangry Hippos

M is a never-ending toddler pit of hunger. Between 7am and 9.30am this morning I was asked 'MUM. I'm hungry. What can I have to eat please?'. After breakfast, which was two courses of cereal, a piece of toast and a drink. I cracked the shits with this and at 9am made two gigantic lunchboxes with the instruction 'When this is gone, you may have something else to eat.' This would usually buy me a few hours, and perhaps by lunchtime I would help them finish up so we can eat lunch. Nope. By 11am 'Mum, I've finished this, may I have something else please?'. OMG FFS.

Reasons My Toddlers Are Crying

M: 'WHY DID YOU CUT MY SANDWICH IN A DINOSAUR SHAPE? I DID NOT WANT IT IN A DINOSAUR SHAPE?'
Me: 'I asked you if you wanted it cut in a dinosaur shape, and you said yes.'

P: Threw herself on the ground at the park between Mr S and I. Face down in the tanbark, making tanbark angels whilst screaming hysterically. Why? I wouldn't let her drink my latte. I KNOW. FFS.

Is it warm yet?

M loves the warm weather. She loves to splash in her paddling pool and wear as few clothes as possible. Every day for the last month she asks me slyly 'Is it warm yet?' The first few times I fell for it and as it was indeed warm in the house, 'Yes, it is warm.' 'GREAT! Let's get out my blue pool!' Er, no. This was met by much sadness on her part. Now I know that the answer is 'It's nice inside in the sun, but outside it is still winter. It's not warm enough to go swimming outside yet.' But seriously, every single day. FFS.

CAKE CUP OCKY

When she was ill, Lady P was regularly up at 5am in our bed, either screaming or wanting cuddles. She was almost better but still having these 5am jaunts. I was trying to settle her back to sleep and she rolled over, sat up, ripped the covers off Mr S and yelled 'CAKE CUP OCKY'. Immediately we both realised what she was doing. Yep, her own version of 'Wake Up Lochy'. Thank you Wiggles. FFS.

Now, if you don't mind, I've got some Wiggles to dance to.

Friday, June 27, 2014

FFS Friday - Wintery Whining & Customer Service


Wintery Whining

  • It's cold. I know I live 43 degrees south. My freezing temperature is not helped by the load of wood I've currently got, which requires a Very Hot Fire for it to actually burn. OH, the logic. FFS.
  • My house resembles Mt Washmore. I'm into load 2 of 4 or 5 for the day. FFS.
  • I hate folding washing. FFS.
  • It's deceptively sunny outside, which means Millie asks me approximately 5 times per day 'Now it's warmer, can we fill up my little blue pool?' and my answer of 'No, it's winter.' is not met with happiness. FFS.
  • Can I get a weary 'what what?' from my parental colleagues about Threenagers. FFS.
  • In the interest of my personal ethics, I responded to an email about a paid but undisclosed post for the blog with the request of higher payment and disclosure. The client does not do disclosed sponsored posts. FFS.
  • I used to work in newspapers, and that sort of thing HAD to be labelled 'ADVERTORIAL'. FFS.

Customer Service


  • I am huge on customer service. When I worked in retail I was always shocked at how surprised my shop's customers were about the high level of service we displayed. FFS.
  • It shits me that good service is a rarity. FFS.
  • I am the annoying person that rings a business to say what good customer service I had today. NO FFS.
  • I ring Coles Online all the time because their drivers are consistently AWESOME and Coles need to know this. They are doing it right. NO FFS.
  • My driver thanked me and said that he'd been given a box of nice chocolates from his boss for a job well done. NO FFS.
  • I've been trying to source some clear vinyl for a sewing project. It appears to be available in the states, or not at all. Perhaps Spotlight? I haven't tried there yet. I avoid The Big City where possible. FFS.
  • I've been ringing a few small online sewing supply businesses to source said vinyl. One had not returned my call, five days later. FFS.
  • Another did, and was thankfully very helpful. NO FFS.
  • Guess where my business goes next? 


You Like to Laugh at Me (it's ok, I do too)


  • Sometimes Facebook Page schematics do my head in. FFS.
  • I know that I have a loving attentive husband, however it seems that when I bake he is blinded by the delightful scent of freshly baked goods. FFS.

You all on Facebook seemed to like the Ridiculous Spousal Conversation (tm) that ensued this week.
Ridiculous Spousal Conversation of the Day (tm): Mr S: 'Can you please bear in mind that I need food for work when you do the shopping?'Me: 'What do you mean? There's a freezer full of muffins in the laundry.'Mr S: 'You did not tell me.'
Later... I rang him.
Me: 'When I baked you twenty four delicious muffins I SAID 'I will put these in the outside freezer for you. You said 'Okay'. OKAY?'Mr S: 'Okay...'
Never let it be said that I hold a grudge about baked goods.

I'm glad my baked goods, pre coffee frustration is a great source of amusement for everyone.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bean Bags: A Scrap-Busting Tutorial

My kids are hands on, tactile kids. They love to kick balls, throw stuff and investigate the consequences of each and every action.

I decided to make them some beanbags, in the hopes that perhaps I could make a felt target for the floor and they could amuse themselves for a few minutes with it. I didn't expect the extent of their imagination. The beanbags have been in use for about a week and in that time they've been building blocks, hats, Pip had made them into a bed for her cars and then one was a blanket on top of the cars. In short, we love open ended toys. Gross motor skills, sensory experiences and so on and so forth. Or: they feel really cool in your hands. You can heat one up to fix an ouchie, throw one in the freezer for an ouchie, pile them on top of each other and knock them down. They also look pretty snazzy.

Gather materials

Fabric either 7 inches x 14 inches OR 2 x 7 inches
Wheat to fill the beanbags
Coffee to fill your tired brain
Iron
Scissors/Rotary cutter (I rotary cut mine)
Pins/ Safety Pins

Notes: I got my wheat from a local animal supply shop. I got my coffee from my kitchen pantry. I have also heard of people making calico beanbags for their inner beanbags. I didn't do this. The wheat I have used isn't particularly pointy and I used a small stitch to make the seams as durable as possible. If you were making these for very young children or to sell, I would be more inclined to overlock/serge seams as well as perhaps making an inner bag. I think this is a great way to use up odd shapes of material you have kicking around. You could also make a giant patchwork piece of fabric and cut it into the rectangles. Have fun!


Method:


1. Cut fabric for your beanbags. I used one piece of fabric per beanbag and cut it 7 inches wide by 14 inches tall. This is going to give me a square beanbag.

I meant to cut just a few... 
2. Wrong sides together, sew around the edges using a small stitch length (2.2mm) and a 1/2 inch seam allowance leaving a gap at the top. Trim your corners as demonstrated to make a crisp corner.

It took me 10 minutes to put the red lines on the picture.
I got Pippa a drink, broke up a toddler fight, got everyone
an apricot ball, explained that when you clean up the toys
we can watch ABC and thought about coffee.
3. Turn your beanbag inside out and press the top gap seam allowance to the inside.

I deliberately took these pics the day after I'd painted my nails.
Take heart that they no longer look like this.

4.
Prepare your beanbag filling area. Take note of the important items.




5. Scoop some wheat into your jug from the bag and holding the beanbag open over the bowl, carefully pour the wheat into the beanbag. Pin the opening closed with one or two pins. This step can be done with toddlers underfoot but is exponentially faster without. That is why there are no pictures of this step.

A visual of how much I filled my bean bags.

6. Sip your coffee and ensure that you drink it before it's cold. Priorities, please.

7. Stitch your opening closed, going back and forth at the ends a few times.






8. Oh my goodness children, stop yelling at the cat. Pip, here's your dummy.

9.
Hooray!


I initially meant to sew just a few up and when I began sewing the fabric I'd cut I noted that it was taking an extraordinarily long time. When I counted the cut fabric I'd cut 34 beanbags out. We have a plentiful supply now and I have given some away as a gift. Which brings me to:

GIFT IDEAS

I can hear the refrain of 'Humpty Dumpty' coming from my bedroom. Will I be putting a pre-emptive beanbag in the freezer?

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