Friday, April 27, 2012

FFS Friday / Shiny Things Friday

Oh man. What a week!
  • Millie reacted to her vaccinations, which meant her face puffed up like a Michelin Lady. She was SO sad for about 5 days... now she's teething screaming. Poor little poppet. Poor poor us. FFS.
  • This week has been full of me wishing silently that my adorable darling would STFU and GTFTS. FFS.
  • I was running late to pick Millie up yesterday afternoon and I went to Woolworths to pick up ONE packet of puff pastry. I got in the '8 Items or Less' aisle behind a woman with a trolley who had 25 items in her trolley. FFS.
  • I'm such a stickler for the rules. FFS.
  • I know that once I've paid my parking fees I've got 15 minutes to get out of the parking lot. On occasion I sit in the car, having a drink, enjoying my last moments of solitude before I drive 40 minutes home and pick up M from Play School. Inevitably someone will wait, engine idling, with their indicator on for me to leave. The car is not turned on, I do not have my seat belt on, I am clearly not going anywhere yet. I refuse to make eye contact and continue on my merry solitude mission, often to the anger of the lazy driver who doesn't want to drive up the parking lot any further. There are 8 levels of parking spaces. Happy waiting! FFS.
  • We went to Mount Field on Anzac Day and had the most delightful day - a short walk, lunch in the sun, playing with leaves, chasing native hens (Millie), talking to magpies (Millie) and chasing falling leaves (Mr S and Millie). We decided to come home via Jeffreys Track. We turned back after 6km and the roughest, scariest car ride I've ever been in that has not resulted in an accident. FFS.
  • Handsome James is unbreakable. Mostly. His plastic engine cover was hanging down yesterday, but when I left the car park in the afternoon I thought it might have been dragging... but I kept driving. Until I stopped at traffic lights at the next corner and noticed two people pointing at the car. I pulled over, indeed, it was dragging. I harangued my colleague into helping me fix it. By 'helping me' I mean him doing it, and 'fix it' I mean cable tying it back together so I could drive home. FFS.
  • Handsome James also really needs a wash now. FFS.
  • Lucy is now uninsured. It terrifies me a little - when her brother Max was ill and eventually died, it cost us  $2000. Money that we wouldn't have paid if we'd had insurance. So we insured Lucy. But now, her health insurance costs almost as much as ours... and she's a stupendously (physically) healthy indoor cat. Sorry Lucy... FFS.
  • I felt like the meanest Fur-Mummy when the insurance company asked me why I was cancelling her insurance. 'Well, um, it's a financial decision, and she's um, healthy and um, getting on a bit.' FFS.
  • When we moved to Tasmania 7 years ago, we bought the washing machine that the previous tenant had in our rental house as ours wouldn't fit. Last year in July it stopped working. We were very kindly gifted a top loader by a friend who was moving house and had two. Now it has stopped working. Washing. Is. Piling Up. We need a new machine, now. FFS.
  • Millie has decided to bring her wake up time forward half an hour to 6.15am. I know it's still a semi-reasonable time... but Mama is tired. FFS.
  • It did mean that by 9am we'd all showered, had breakfast, Mr S had gone to work, dishes done, house tidied, bed changed, clothes away, cookies baked and vacuuming done. I'm now REALLY tired. FFS.
  • I'm about to start the annual Firewood Purchasing. Which means I pay an exorbitant amount of money for firewood, because our Wood Man (incidentally, our mechanic's brother... welcome to the Valley) charges a lot, but his is the only wood that is consistently dry. Good bye money. FFS.
  • Because we are Fake Farmers who live on a house sized block surrounded by Real Farmers. We have no access to fallen trees around here. But honestly, I like being a Pitt St Farmer. It's all the joy of farmland with none of the responsibility. But still, FFS.

Shiny Things Friday

Still a bit puffy here, but enjoying seeing herself
in the phone reflection!

At Mount Field, having cuddles in the sun.

Lovely shiny Manfern on the way to Lady Barron Falls, Mt Field.

Tasmania doesn't do walking by halves.
This was for a 30 minute walk.

Who doesn't love a shoulder ride?

First swing!

Go and say hello to Sarah and tell her that her Macarons look tasty.
I would like to try them, I hear they post well, but she hasn't even offered....
Dear Baby G

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mrs Smyth... creates.

As I sat at my sewing machine this week I realised that I do a lot of sewing and crafting I really don't share with you here. How remiss of me!
So here we are. My weekly Mrs Smyth Creates... Here I am accountable for what I've created. Some weeks a lot, and some weeks... not so much. Sometimes it's fun, and sometimes it's boring hemming of Mr S' work trousers (of FrankenPants as I call them...*)
There's a link down the bottom for you to link your 'creating' posts for the week. Please link up, I know there's only a few of you readers, but don't make me look like the kid by herself in the playground. I can bribe you with Musk Sticks?

This week I...

Sewed curtains with a sick Millie on my lap.

Who fell asleep (!) whilst I loudly sewed.

Made a case for my new iPhone, from material
that matches my handbag.

This is the pattern of the back of the case.
It's lovely but I keep losing my phone in my bag.
Because they look the same. I know.

Made a small clutch back out of the remainder of the Shazza apron material.
It's beautiful, and is for sale.

A set of curtains for Millie's room. 

Here's a close up of the pattern on Millie's curtains.
So, I guess it's been a productive week. Child rearing, working, housework, cooking dinner... and sanity saving sewing.
What have you been making? Link up or just leave a comment. 

*FrankenPants are Mr S' work pants. Mr S is 6'6 and his work-supplied uniform trousers are inevitably always a few inches short. It was the glorious week where he got his second issue of trousers... so choppy chop chop, hem, hem, iron, hem. FrankenPants. A happy happy Mr S was born.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pregnancy and Baby Apps: What I liked. (PLUS win the Wonder Weeks App!)

It's no secret that I love my iPhone. And my iMac, my iPad, my iPod, my iHusband. Wait, Mr S is real, but he is a Mac connoisseur as well.
When I fell pregnant there was a world of apps out there to keep a track of EVERYTHING. Given that I am highly tech savvy a sucker I thought I'd make a list for you of what I liked, and what I didn't like. Whilst I was thinking about that, I had a brilliant idea to email the developers of The Wonder Weeks and see if they wanted to give you, my three readers, a copy of their app. Turns out they did. Huh. More on that shortly.

What to Pregnancy Tracker
I quite like this app for it's weekly information, and even daily information. And, it's free. Who doesn't love a free app that actually works? This is really easy to use, the advert bar isn't at all intrusive and it's pretty cool to have all the important information ('Poppyseed?! yeah!') right at hand. They also have a Baby Tracker app for sleeping and feeding and nappy changes... but I was a bit lazy to keep that up beyond the first couple of weeks.

Don't get excited, I put in a dummy date for
the screenshots.
I loved being able to flick through week to week and
see what size our tiny Jellybean would be!

Daily information.
p.s. Taming caffeine habit? Pffft!

Would I recommend?
I should also say that I did have a paid app for pregnancy tracking too. It had more bells and whistles that I didn't use. I wish I'd found this one first. This is great to have all the information and gives you access to forums, which I didn't use. I'd give it a whirl! iPhone only, not iPad native.

iBaby Feed Timer
If you're able to breastfeed, this app is the bee's knees, should bees have knees. I tried heaps of free apps for this, but could never find one that worked as well as iBaby. We timed M's feeds because she'd just keep going forever, making herself ill in the process, and it helped ease my mind as a new mother that we were feeding for long enough.
When I went back to work this app was great to keep a track of the milk I was expressing for her, and then at the end of the day I could add in how much of her bottles she'd drunk. What I loved the most about this app was the 'Pause' feature. In the early sleep deprived days we'd stop halfway through for a nappy change and the app I was using at the time meant that I'd have to start a new feeding session, and it was all far too confusing. I was showering and brushing my hair and teeth daily, that was enough thinking for me at the time. It also has nifty features that tell you how long since the last feed and can set an alarm if you're feeding at allotted times.
Would I recommend?
This was the best $1.99 I ever spent in the app store. iPhone only, not iPad native.

The Wonder Weeks
Oh my. The Wonder Weeks app was like having a psychic in my pocket... except the psychic never told me that I would win millions of dollars and marry a fantastic man. Instead, this psychic would tell me that there was absolutely a reason why my angel of a baby was not herself and driving us mad. Even better, the psychic app TELLS YOU HOW TO HELP. And it worked for us.
I don't own the book, and now I have the app I don't know that I'd buy the book. But the app, OH MY, the app. I loved being able to see visually where we up to, and to be able to recognise skills Millie was trying to master. And oh yes, how to help. SO on the money, every single time.
Even better? It is a shared app between iPhone and iPad. And on the iPad it's extra shiny - the picture map is bigger and the whole thing is much easier to read. I love an app that works on both devices, and doesn't require you to repurchase just to use on another device.
Here's some of my screenshots from the app:
Add your kiddlywink's details in...
See the different 'leaps'.

What's happening today?

Turn your phone to the side and see a pictorial of
the different leaps, with clouds for 'Grumpy Weeks' and
'Grumpy Weeks Are A-Comin'. The blue face indicates
where you are at present.

Explanations of leaps coming...

Mad skillz your baby will master.

How to help.
Would I recommend - and how do I enter your super fun giveaway?
Yes I'd recommend this app! If you're like me and need to know what's happening with your baby's development and how you can help, this is amazing. I paid $2.49AU for this app in March last year, but it's now 99cents in iTunes. I also love that it's iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch friendly with the same purchase.
OR - free!
The developers of the Wonder Weeks App have kindly supplied me with three copies of the Wonder Weeks app to giveaway here. Fun, huh?

That's so awesome - how do I enter?
Mr S and I like to laugh. So leave a comment here, ensuring that you put your email address in, telling us what you'd like a Baby Psychic in your pocket to tell you. We will pick the winning entries based upon how hard you make us laugh.
Entries open 6pm Sunday 22nd April, 2012.
Entries close 6pm Sunday 29th April, 2012.
Our decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Your email address will only be used to notify you of your winning entry.

The fine print
I was not paid for any of these reviews. I purchased all apps myself, including The Wonder Weeks app, and have written this post to help you! I contacted the developers of The Wonder Weeks app telling them about this post and they offered a giveaway.

Aussie Giveaway Linky
Hosted by Three Lil Princesses

Friday, April 20, 2012

FFS Friday / Shiny Things Friday

Without further ado...

Exploding light escapades.

The light fitting formerly known as.
  • I turned the light on in M's room before bedtime on Saturday night. It took me a few seconds to work out what had just happened, then I realised there was glass all over the floor. The light fitting and globe had exploded. M was not in her room thank god. I then vacuumed every surface of the room, changed bedsheets and was on my hands and knees trying to find minuscule bits of glass. Next fitting is a paper lantern. FFS.
  • As already discussed, I live in 'The Sticks', with several varieties of Country Spiders and creepy crawlies. We usually keep out of each other's way as one of us wields a newspaper/flyspray/husband fairly well but then there is Wood Pile Spider. I've seen his work for months, and let there be no doubt, his webs are very impressive. We'd never met before and I was quite happy about this arrangement. Getting a piece of wood for the fire involves:
    1. Locate chosen piece of wood visually.
    2. Check around chosen piece of wood visually.
    3. Tentatively pick up chosen piece of wood.
    4. At lightning speed flip piece of wood around on all sides.
    5. Tap piece of wood on the ground firmly.
    6. Take piece of wood inside and put on the fire immediately, lest Wood Pile Spider be hiding on a nook that I couldn't see.
    I picked up a piece of wood last week after my visual checks and in my flipping stage noticed WOOD PILE SPIDER. Crawling out of an impressive web on my Chosen Piece of Wood. Looking big, black and nasty.
    I nodded humbly and stepped away from the woodpile. FFS.
  • I have just realised I am cold. And the fire that I took care to light before sitting down with my Cadbury egg and cup of tea has gone out. FFS.
  • It's a good thing we get the local paper delivered daily so there's always fodder to light the fire with. Except when we don't get the paper delivered. Even though we still pay for it. See, our paper is delivered at high speed from a moving vehicle every morning. Except for the mornings that the gentleman who delivers it doesn't feel like it*, or is so taken with our beautiful garden that he forgets**. Or when he doesn't forget, he's drunk***, so his aim is somewhat off. We retrieve our paper from the:
    1. Road.
    2. Blackberry bushes next door.
    3. The tree outside our house.
    * Unsure if this is true, but I can't think of any other reason.
    ** Unsure if this is true, but I can't think of any other reason.
    *** Unsure if this is true, but I can't think of any other reason.
  • I have not done anything about Handsome James' bumper bar. I do not believe that I will, because as I mentioned last week I'd feel guilty. Now I feel guiltier and annoyed with myself because as I also mentioned last week HJ will now have a crap(pier) bumper bar. FFS.
  • I have just eaten 3/4 of a decent sized Cadbury egg. It was on sale at the petrol station and I couldn't help myself yesterday. $2! Bargain! I am such a sucker for a sale/gift with purchase/free stuff to review. Jeebus wept. FFS.
  • It's been at least a year since I finished a song. But I've been trying to ignore this other voice in my head... you see, I am no long being tortured by my Serious Songwriting Muse. I am being tortured by her cheerful bouncy cousin, Children's Songwriting Muse. I cannot get three gosh-darned children's songs out of my head. They are driving me bonkers. I'm going to have bite the bullet and record them so they leave me alone. I'm not as perky as Justine Clarke, someone help me please. FFS.

Shiny Things Friday

Just doing some shopping on my train. BRB.

We rescued a baby Native Hen on Saturday. His Mum had been hit
by a car just up the road. He was super cute and told me his name
was Phinneas. Phinneas went to a vet and hopefully
Bonorong Wildlife Park for recovery and release.

Don't worry, we have private health insurance for orthodontia.

M loves to look at herself. Makes for a sweet picture.

Crashed out in the car. Note the handbag and mohawk.

Stacey demanded we all make fried sandwiches. I dare not disobey.

Millie says yes to blueberries.

And blueberry juice.

After cooking dinner last night I came to the lounge room
to find my family doing this. Playing with the grocery toy box,
watching the box. <3 I like that Lucy's involved.

FFS Friday brought to you by the delicious Sarah. Go and see her site and admire her amazing cupcake bunting. She is welcome at my house any time. I'll make the cupcakes, she brings the bunting. Deal?

Dear Baby G

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review: BioEffective Gel

Back in November, I was contacted to trial and review a new natural product called BioEffective Gel. I have had various forms of eczema and psoriasis periodically since I was a kid, and I've always struggled to find a non steroidal product to keep symptoms under control. Pregnancy exacerbated it (gestating a basketball baby is temperature raising work) and different soaps would also make it worse. A side effect of all of this is my skin cracking as it dries out. And then I would inevitably cut a lemon/eat salt and vinegar chips/rub lye into my hands. So, I jumped at the chance.

A parcel arrived just before Christmas and I was impressed to note that it smelled just like Christmas. That is, a highly pleasant scent not unlike a real pine tree! Win. A natural product. Win.

It was smooth to apply and as I mentioned, smelled like Christmas. Win. I used it for a few weeks on and off but alas, it made my symptoms worse. Lose. It made my skin feel tight and looked red. Lose. However, my skin was cracking far less but the tight, hot feeling wasn't worth it for me. Win/Lose. Undeterred, I handed it over to Mr S, who works in a warehouse environment with no heating or cooling. His hands are constantly cracking from cold/dry weather/heat/cardboard/planetary alignment.

He reports that whilst it didn't improve the softness of his hard working manly hands hands, he found that his hands were cracking far less and thus a lot less painful. He is still using it regularly and is pleased with the non-cracking results. Win.

I also applied it after a spot of sunburn, and whilst it didn't make the sunburn go away it certainly soothed it like a good Aloe Vera gel. Win.

BioEffective Gel is available for $19.00 from Pine Needle Products or from your local Amcal chemist.

The burning question...

Would I buy it?
I'm on the fence. For $19 I'd really want to have any cream bestow it's magical properties upon me, perhaps also making a coffee in the process, however I think it would be a good addition to any medical cabinet as an all-rounder fix-it.

I was not financially compensated for this post. I was supplied with a tube of BioEffective Gel for product review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Music and memory (The soundtrack to my life)

After a really long time, it happened again last week. I was sitting at my desk at work, listening to Mumford and Sons' 'Sigh No More' when BAM!

It was Friday, November 20, 2009. I was in the car in Huonville with Mr S and Tore, my bass player. Together we were Amy Kendall & The Kitchenhands, and we were about to start recording my second EP 'A Week of Saturdays'. We'd stopped to get petrol in Huonville and Tore whipped out Mumford and Sons and said 'You've got to hear this.'
We drove all the way to Cradoc to get pizza listening to the CD. The mood was celebratory and tinged with sadness all at once. Celebratory because Mr S and I had gotten engaged the evening before. Sadness because Tore had finally gotten his dream job... in WA.
The memory of that evening is tinged with sunlight, warm breezes and the emotions of being very happy and nostalgically sad. But I remember feeling so secure with the two men who were (are) my very best friends and excited at the adventure we were about to embark on. In December, Mr S and I (sans Tore, who'd moved to WA) played at the Taste Festival and the Falls Festival on the same day, and then the Cygnet Folk Festival. It was a halcyon summer, and it all started with that song.

Then last night in bed listening to AM radio I heard The Temper Trap's 'Sweet Disposition' and suddenly I was transported again. This time, to the Falls Festival at Marion Bay. Mr S dragged me to see this band he really liked, but it was the second day of the Festival, I'd been ill for two days (so much fun at a festival) and I was hungry. So I left him in the crowd and went to get a Vegan curry from the monks who ran a stall up the hill. Then I heard this voice. I've always regretted not being patient enough to stay and see their whole set, because what I did see was truly amazing.

I always smile when I hear 'Sometimes I Feel Like There Are Two of Me' by my favourite Tasmanians, Invisible Boy. I met these amazing men (and lady) when I first started gigging in Tasmania.. so I suppose it would be about six years ago now? We were always on the same bill at the same empty Irish bar, and Ben and Daniel would always stay around and listen, then get into their car and drive back to Launceston at 12am. They played at my first EP launch, and me theirs. They are the most generous, kind hearted individuals I've ever met. I asked them to play at my wedding, and they said yes. They learned a song that Mr S wrote for me for our first anniversary, so many years ago, and played it for 20 minutes on repeat whilst there was a debacle about my coming down the tree-lined aisle. It's only a two minute song. (Turns out it was late comers... then I was there but the man who was communicating to Mr S that I was there wasn't paying attention, and no one would let me just walk down the goddamned aisle.)
After the wedding they whizzed themselves to the reception venue, and played my song 'Grains of Sand' as Mr S and I walked in to the reception and then they burst into 'Sometimes I Feel Like There are Two of Me', at my request. It was amazingly brilliant.

When I hear Gypsy & The Cat's 'Time To Wander', it's December 2010 and Mr S and I are waking up at the Mercure Hotel in Christchurch, NZ. We are jetlagged and wondering how on earth we will find breakfast and get our hire car this morning. But we're OVERSEAS. So we are very excited. side note: Mr S spent a good few minutes surveying our 16th story room to find a safe place should there be another earthquake. I 'pffft' from the comfort of the king sized bed. In four months time the Mercure is declared the most unsafe building in Christchurch and will need to be demolished. Oh.

When Millie is tiny we would eat breakfast in bed every morning (it sounds luxurious... but with an infant... it's just easier.) and listen to the radio. Millie is a lady of music and Mr S would bounce her around to the same songs every morning that were on high rotation at the time whilst I wolfed down ate my cereal in a ladylike manner. Now, Architecture in Helsinki's 'Contact High' is still one of her favourite songs. Bless.

I could go on forever. But tell me, what are the songs that are the soundtrack to your life?

Friday, April 13, 2012

FFS Friday / Shiny Things Friday

This week seems to have flown by - perhaps public holidays do that?

  • After Lucy's trip to 'see her friend Jane' aka the V-E-T she was remarkably out of sorts driving me fecking nuts. When I comment to Mr S about her  being so fecking nuts out of sorts he remembered that he'd tried to drug her less this week to see how she'd cope. Clearly, not so well. FFS.
  • I will be paying for kitty Prozac for years to come. FFS.
  • Kitty Prozac that is not covered on Lucy's soon-to-be-stopped health insurance because they thought it was a 'pre-existing' condition. Convenient. FFS.
  • I am disgusted with myself. I cannot stop cleaning. This morning I took everything from a shelf in the kitchen, dusted the shelf, scrubbed the contents of the shelf, polished the shelf, then dusted the corners of the kitchen and half-heartedly tried to clean the venetian blinds in the kitchen too hard. Then for kicks I went around the lounge room dusting the cobweb corners too. I need an intervention. FFS.
  • I've been waiting for a parcel for three weeks from a company that want me to review a product for a giveaway here. If I didn't want the product so gosh-darned much (free!) I'd be much less peeved about this. I think they looked closer at my blog stats and are trying to pretend I don't exist. FFS.
  • Mr S and I have decided that the Bogan Neighbours multiply when we're not looking. We realised we can't keep track of how many are living in the two bedroom house. There's usually at least five cars there. We know there's two barking dogs. FFS.
  • Millie is still in her terrible-twos-but-I'm-only-one. It's a good thing this is balanced out by the extraordinary fun she's become, but really, tanties? REALLY? FFS.
  • This morning I made her porridge because she liked it two days ago. 15 minutes of banshee screaming (porridge) ensued whilst I tried to have a hot cup of tea ha! and my hot porridge. Then 10 minutes of quiet crunching interdispersed with 'Mmmyummm' (vegemite toast). I completely understand why parents never try anything new. FFS.
  • I have not done anything about the lady who hit Handsome James last week. I think I'd feel bad getting an entirely new bumper bar on her money when it wasn't a huge ding to begin with. But her attitude really pissed me off and now I have a car with an even crappier bumper bar. FFS.
  • Mr S bought and installed a new aerial on the roof, six months after we last bought a new one. It's you-beaut and more powerful than the old one. And it doesn't work. So after a series of phone calls from him on the roof to me in the lounge room we thought we got the reception 'good enough' in time for me to watch the one show of the week I watch live. The reception was nowhere near good enough and it's now two days later. Amazingly enough we get brilliant reception for the hundreds of re-runs of The Simpsons that Mr S likes to watch every night. FFS.

Shiny Things Friday
This is an appropriate use of M's new school bag, yes?

Last week's handmade. So much fun to make!

M reading books on Easter Sunday in bed.

She disappeared for a bit and came back, wearing her handbag
and handed me a spanner. Right... (thanks Mr S!)

Family S got new phones this week. Even M. The lovely Telstra
staff gave her a dummy home phone all of her own. She's delighted.

M hoards grapes in her mouth...

And will not tell me how many...

Sunset at home on Wednesday night. 

More sunset is never enough.

We play with the front camera on my new phone,
M keeps sticking her tongue out at her reflection. Priceless!

Wearing Mummy's jumper and being a Queen.

This morning she brought me her too-small red hoodie to wear,
and was so excited when I helped her put it on.

Go and see Sarah, say Hi! Tell her that I will continue text-stalking no matter how few her replies are. She loves it.

Dear Baby G


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