Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dumb Dog?

Our Orange Dog has given us ample opportunity over the years to suspect that he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. This week I've had a rethink on that one..


Every night I wrap a few more presents and put them under the tree. Santa will surely come too after receiving She-Who-Worships-Pink's letter, but we like to give each other presents because Christmas is about giving too.


Except if you're a dog.


Every morning The Orange Dog sniffs the new parcels under the tree, the large ones get a more enthusiastic going over. He comes to me immediately after with the most tragic expression.

Our Orange Dog understands about 'presents' and he can smell which ones aren't his.


When my nieces and nephews were small we used to make movies of Buddy collecting and opening his presents. They thought it was hilarious. 

He would pluck them out from the pile by their string, take them to his bed, unwrap them, then parade around the living room, tail and head held high in a lap of honour- his gift in his mouth for all to see.


Well the other morning he came out from his under-tree investigations, covered in strips of red tinsel wearing his most serious heart-break-face. I caved and promised him there would be parcels for him tomorrow and I added his gift wrapping to my 'to do' list.


The next morning, as promised, there were carefully wrapped chew toys and treats under the tree. 

He came, he saw, he sniffed and the tail started to swing. He reached out and grabbed the closest one and I told him; 'NO. You must WAIT'. If his expression came with subtitles they would be along the lines of; 'you gotta be kidding?'


He waited all right. Until we were sat down in the other room having breakfast. Then we heard the sound of tearing paper.


He had removed his three parcels from various points under the tree, pulled them aside and started unwrapping the first one.


So I conclude: he's not the dumb dog he makes out to be. In fact I suspect he's smart enough to play dumb when it works to his advantage. Which is often.


His Christmas presents are now hanging out on a high shelf till Christmas day. Naturally he hasn't touched anyone else's.

Not so dumb our Orang Dog.


Happy and safe Christmas everyone 



Saturday, December 14, 2013


I am livid.

I am furious.

I'm out for blood.

In the past twelve hours some filthy spamming trolls have made a dozen attempts to publish comments on my blog all of which  included links to child pornography.

This is despite my adding word recognition as a requirement to posting comments. This being the case, I can only assume that someone is paying live people rather than software to post vile comments on mine and I'm sure other peoples blogs.

These trolls are favouring one particularly innocuous post which I've had to rename because I suspect they are targeting the words Teen and Toddler.  Nice huh?

But after renaming the post and removing all the labels, the trolls kept posting. So now I've deleted and  re-posted  this entry, which is the only way I can change the URL still containing the original title.

The English in these things would be laughable if what they were trying to do wasn't so insidious;

"I've read this submit and if I may just desire to suggest you few interesting issues or tips. I wish to learn more things approximately it!"

(Hey Trolls, that's happens when you don't speak any English and rely totally on Google translator you numb-nuts.)

The titles on the links they post however are perfectly clear and perfectly deplorable.

At this point I would like to send a whopping big thank you to for their excellent spam filters that protect my readers from this filth.

And a message for you  Troll Spammers:

 Crawl back under that rock you came out from and don't let your Karma hit you on the way down.

Driving Miss Daisy

Originally published on  November 12 2009, short of deleting my work altogether I'm republishing this post in an attempt to shake off the Trolls who are targeting it heavily with their filthy spam comments. I still like this little day-in-the-life, I hope you do too.

It takes ten years or so for your toddler to turn into a teenager and there’s a reason for that. You are NOT meant to have teenagers and toddlers together. It’s like trying to shovel snow off the footpath during a blizzard.

Kid wrangling disaster of the day..

We have our adorable niece staying with us from France us as a temporary exchange student and today, my temporary teen  took the last day off school to meet with some friends to have a farewell lunch from 11am. Unfortunately one of these friends cancelled last minute (the one who was going to take her there) poor lamb had no idea what to do and I didn’t have time to formulate any sort of plan B.

So after rushing back from the health centre I put on my Chauffeurs cap again and drive her to Manly through the planet’s most hideous traffic, we didn’t so much drive as we oozed to Manly – right through the Toddler snack and wind-down time and guess what?

Nap time happened in the car.
First cardinal rule of toddler taming: NEVER EVER put your child anywhere near their car-seat within 45 minutes of nap time.

Second cardinal rule, NEVER leave your toddler alone in a locked vehicle. OK so I left buddy with her.. – does he count? :0(

I stormed into the house like a one woman SWAT team on a drug raid, wrenching blinds closed, grabbing sleeping bag, dummy, bottle and teddy, before taking her out of the car seat under a minute later. 40 guilt-ridden seconds to be exact.

I gave her a sleepy bottle and transferred her to bed and waited and prayed she'd get back to sleep, so I could work through the mountain of chores I had planned to do during her long nap.

That 40 minutes it took her to re-settle, I spent pacing, grouching and cursing my lot – working myself into a tizz (and neither my mum or my husband would pick up the phone for a moan or a bit of reassurance.)

Thirty minutes later I heard the pooh song on the baby monitor. Nap time was over before the second chorus but somewhere in my depths of pissed-offedness I’d lost all motivation for the chores anyway. Hey don’t think I’m some kind of Martha Stewart – my living room floor is actually crunchy, (except maybe I should be under house arrest for leaving my baby and dog in the driveway.)

Wow, This is how exciting my life has become – I might write a memoir so I can share it with the world.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Making Mr and Mrs Frosty

I've been looking at Styrofoam craft on Pinterest and I realise this is far from a new idea.

There are a lot of people out there getting wildly creative with Styrofoam balls, but these two lovely snow people where actually designed and made by a five-year-old.  Based on her only real snow people she left outside the Paris airport hotel, She-Who-Worships-Pink wanted to give them all the things she didn't have to hand in Paris..

Paris Airport's hotel entrance had no sticks, scarves stones or carrots.. 

Pinkster was hell-bent on authenticity, rather than fancy which is a quirk about her that I rather fancy. She hunted for just the right size and shaped sticks in our garden, to make their arms, and she rolled up tiny bits of card and coloured them with an orange felt pen to make teeny-tiny carrot noses.

I helped with the structural issues like getting the heads and noses to stay on (with he help of barbeque skewers and a hot glue gun) and I knitted the scarves. We made the hats together under her critical guidance and my glue gun. Pinkster was in charge of hat painting, googly eye gluing and all the finishing touches; most of which involved a black felt pen!

So our Christmas craft project number two is completed; using 2 sizes of Styrofoam balls, a BBQ skewer, empty coffee capsules, toilet roll centres, common garden variety sticks, googly eyes, heavy paper and a bit left-over knitting yarn.

Deck the Halls with boughs of loo-rolls

Fa la la la la, la la la lah!

We do love a good toilet roll, Miss Pink and I.
But paper towel rolls can be even better seeing as theyre longer..

You may have seen my previous post on making an orchard out of toilet roll centres; I don't know who came up with the idea of doing a Christmas tree, but here it is in all its glory.

Because of our craft-obsession, She Who Worships Pink  and I save everything: bits of wool, ribbon, old un-sticky stickers, pretty stuff we peel off greeting cards, pipe-cleaners, feathers, you name it. I also regularly hit the craft shops to stock up, and all of this stuff gets stored in old take-away containers in her desk.

This kind of stuff comes in handy when youre into toilet-roll (or paper towel) tube make-overs.

To start your Christmas tree, make three vertical cuts through both sides, to about half way down the cardboard tube. But to get the staggered effect of the branches, you need to have these finish at different points. These three snips spaced out and at different depths give a better 3D effect. Using various shades of green paper also adds to the effect.

For a stencil, I used this basic Christmas tree outline I found on the web and stretched it a bit to allow room for the tube in the centre. But you can also draw your own straight onto colored paper and cut them out. I cut three of these shapes.

These paper branches then slide down into the slots you've cut in the tube.

The final stage is the fun part for the small and crafty; taking  the glue stick and sticking stuff all over the branches. 

You can either cut another piece of paper branch to glue on the front of the tube or paint it green as I've done.

Pinkster stuck pretty much everything shiny in her craft boxes to the Christmas tree branches. She even cut out shapes from foil chocolate wrappers, but I drew the line when she was applying glue to a button that had come off the fly of my jeans.

We're both quite happy with the result, and hey we only have five Christmas trees in the house.. If you count the big one in the living room.

We'll be doing more Christmas Craft projects in the next week, so keep checking in for more ideas. Pinkster is keen to make some snowmen so they will likely be next..

PS Just home from the school run and guess what all the kids in her class made today to bring home?

Make that six. :0)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Roughing It

I am on a farm. 
I will be camping the night on this farm. 
There are no mini bars,
No room service,
No showers.
Apart from that it's heaven.

I've been moaning and groaning about going camping for about two weeks and that was before I found out about the "oh, and there's no showers.." bit.  Just as well because I might have aborted; considering that my idea of 'roughing it' is no turn-down service or a poorly stocked mini-bar. But no showers?  Are they serious?

OK I'm being a Drama Queen.  Calmsley Hill Farm is only an overnight stay and just over an hour out of Sydney so what's the big deal? We are with Pinkster's French School group organised by her teacher and apart from flirting with divorce over how to disassemble the tent, and being thrown into a social situation unwashed and with furry was a surprisingly pleasant.  

Our personal mini-bar was VERY well stocked and there's nothing quite like emptying a couple of bottles of good red beside a campfire while Farmer Ryan (or was it Brad?) keeps the kiddles busy toasting marshmallows.
When we arrived, we had to hit the ground running because She-Who-Worships-Pink was late for the Working Dogs show,right after that was the Koala Cuddling, Baby Animal Petting, Sheep Shearing and Cow Milking followed by a Tractor tour of the farm.

Of course, with all this on offer, our Pinkster went into a melt-down because she wanted to find some cats. Yes, we brought her camping on a farm surrounded by every imaginable exotic (and not-so) animal but she's on the hunt for house-cats.
But that's a good thing about this overnight camping package: you can always come back to the petting shed etc. in the morning, if you're obsessive offspring is hung up on kitties. And since you haven't had the benefit of a shower, you wont feel any grottier for the experience.

Well the two cats she found were cute but  I was totally hung up on Kevin Bacon here:

Although you can rent tents at the farm, we'd decided to dust of and try out our oh-so-very-complicated but very nice tent that was stored in the attic immediately after its purchase18 months ago. The meals provided were very basic, but they were cooked for us, so you gotta love that.

And yes, if there was a little parental squabbling, as Mr Frenchie and I tried to undo and pack our elaborate parachute-silk-palace in the baking morning sun, we weren't the only ones. Fortunately (and thoughtfully) Farmer Ryan (or Brad?) had removed all the kiddlets out of earshot of the expletives in a well planned 'walk-about' to cut and collect leaves for the koalas.
Chez Nous

I never thought I would say this but - I like camping!  
It's been one of those pleasant surprises I just know we'll do again. :0)

sharing the love

Friday, December 6, 2013

Another Sock Rescue

 Poor Buddy has been in the wars lately.

First there was the football in the eyeball debacle, then the Totem-Tennis racquet in the face incident and then some idiot drunk goes and breaks a beer bottle against his favourite tree to pee on.

He needed several stitches in his back paw AND it neeed to be bandaged and kept dry, clean and un-licked for ten days.

OK, keeping in mind - He's a DOG.

But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention and being a keen up-cycler of my child's socks, I came up with yet another puppet-sock rescue..or should I say puppy-sock rescue :0)

The vet suggested I buy some of these at the local pet store; but I was warned, "..theyre not that cheap."

But why would I do that when I have a drawer full of toddler socks and an attic full of scrap fabric including several colorful vinyls?

So I sewed a vinyl patch onto the bottom of several socks which saw him through his recovery.  As the vet promised; they kept the bandages on, kept the wound clean and dry and prevented him from licking the thing to death.  Besides all those endless hours of licking can keep a person up at night, not just a dog.

If he is already a minor celebrity in Kindlyland, this made him an even bigger hit than usual during the school run. Most of the kids thought he was 'soooo cuuuute' with his little sock and he got lots of sympathy cuddles.

But just when I was about to up-cycle a set of these Tippy Toes,

..his paw went and healed.

Bit of a shame in a way.

So Freaking Cute!

Tonight was the night.  And I cried like a baby from act one. The Big Gala Dance Recital, in a venue of intimidating size, was fully booked and we had taken two of the last few seats in "the stalls' - front row but up near the rafters (next time, I'll book the day tickets go on sale).

But oh the cuteness of it all, toddlers skippy-tippy-toeing on stage in sparkly tutu's. Some of them working through the simple choreography, some of them just standing still, scanning the dark audience for family, and looking so adorable you could just die.

Our evening began right after school with the make-up application.  We were given instructions on what to apply, what colors etc, but have you ever tried to apply eyeliner and lipstick to a child under 6-years-old?

This is Pinkster getting into my make-up on her own. That is charcoal eyeliner going on to her cheeks and lips - very Goth..

Forget eyeliner; I used mascara on an applicator but it ended up about 3mm under her eyes. I was instructed to also apply pink on her cheeks and red lipstick.
After she'd chewed and picked off all her dress rehearsal lipstick, this time I brought out the big guns with Maybelline's 24-hour-lipstick which I also smeared on her cheeks. I can tell you now that wriggly giggly lips and fire engine red indelible lipstick don't work well together. Put that together with the spectacularly bad application of mascara (attempted eyeliner too) and you achieve something that resembles the face of a severely vision impaired Drag-Queen.

Well turns out  it wasn't too bad from a distance, in fact all those smudges just made her eyes and lips pop-out! (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

Then I was fishing around for something to throw on over her leotard and tights. Importantly something that wouldn't need to be pulled over her hair which was not very well glued with hairspray. I came up with this little pinafore that only took an afternoon to make:

It's  my own Bettina Liano style pinafore. The design is very basic, its easy-peasy to sew together, but the heavy gold top-stitch (like you find on jeans) just adds a bit of style. The press fasteners make for super-quick changes (as in-pull it open and drop it on the floor) so it turned out to be a perfect performers cover-up.

I actually made her the baker-boy cap above out of the scraps of this dress, and they look uber-chic together.
But not tonight - no sireee - not on that freshly lacquered and already-starting-to-unravel hair!

Well after several acts of varying degrees of expertise and complex choreography She Who Worships Pink came out with the other oh so many more than Seven Dwarfs.
She put her all into it.
So much so her hat fell off.

My hats don't fall off - unless you hang upside down from monkey bars.

But like a pro Pinkster kept going; smiling, holding or adjusting her hat as she marched, danced and sang. It was quite a feat considering the hat was sliding about more than she'd been doing during her makeup session.

What can I say, the Mr Frenchie and I were proud enough to burst.

PS I'll  add some photos of this Pinafore in action soon, I just need to take some of her actually in it, so check back  later if you'd like to see it on a model.  :0)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Christmas Cardiology

This year I'm going to do much better with Christmas cards: last year it was too little too late (and we got more cards from Real estate agents than friends) :0(

In previous years we've had some very cute home-made cards pieced together from my first two attempts at Do-It-Yourself child's passport photos, which you can laugh at here.

This one above I still adore and it will forever be a part of our little family's history.

My second D.I.Y Passport photo shoot was less successful because I didn't manage to produce a useable passport photo at all. I just snapped away while she giggled, wriggled, cracked up, and generally made fun of my seriousness. But these shots were super-cute and we have some of them framed as well as having sent them out on cards at Christmas - so not a bad result after all.

I added some hats to the original photo's and reused them for again the following year as cards and also my  Rugrat Rodeos Facebook page banner:

This year, our little Picasso is illustrating our 2013 Chrissy Cards.
Since she discovered saying "cheese" whenever a camera is pointed at her, and all her photos look like she's in the middle of doing a pooh, we've given up on taking natural laughing, smiling photos of her.

When she began decorating her letter to Santa this year, I fell in love with her illustrations - honestly, sometimes when she steals my ball point pens she really does her best work.

It's taken me some time to remove some of the background (in PowerPoint) and fill it with Christmas wrap (how I miss Photoshop). I also added some more colour in the 'Paint' program.
FWI: I am told the one on the left is a Lion wearing a tutu and lipstick. Do NOT ask me why there is a Lion in drag in a Christmas elf line-up, I am not the artist I have no clue!

After printing them in all in both English and a French version (for the other side of the family) I sat down in front of the TV one night with some of Little Pinkster's glitter-glue and coated the red and gold parts with glitter. I wish I could take a decent photo that shows up their wonderful glitteriness, but you'll have to take my word for it that they look even better all sparkly. :0)

This is the Christmas Angel she drew for inside the card: 

Earlier Miss Pink had raced into the office with a teeny tiny Rudolf Reindeer wearing a necklace of Christmas baubles.  She drawn and carefully cut it out it to glue on the back of her card for Nanna, (because her Nanna always gets a little extra something) but it was so cute I scanned it and added it to the design. 
everyone should get a Rudolf of their own!

Now, where store bought greeting cards normally have a bar-code, we have a teeny-tiny reindeer instead. :0)

These cards, although set up portrait on A4 sized card, when cut, end up as landscape cards.  It takes a bit of time and experimentation getting the size right, and working out how to feed the printer (ours is quite basic) so that they print correctly in double sided mode. I've made a template now that fits DL sized envelopes. 
I'm off to buy those now - some nice red shiny ones and a pile of stamps.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Pyjama Party

I'd be happy most days doing the school run in my pyjamas.  Trouble is most days we walk. I would be seen. By other mothers who obviously put in more effort or simply have more style than I do. 

Like that lovely Asian mum who trumps everyone on the asphalt; she looks like she's jumped right out of the pages of Vogue. Simple styles but even on rainy days she can make rubber wellies look deliciously designer. (Hers probably are)

There are two French mums as well. Yep. Typical French women: effortlessly chic even wearing ordinary raincoats. Looking like catalogue model-mums in simple loose-fit summer dresses. And they really know how to toss on a scarf around their necks, those Frenchies.

I know I'm being overly self conscious, but for my little Pink Worshiper's sake, I don't want to arrive looking like the wreck I feel in the mornings. I used to have so much more confidence in myself B.C. (Before Child) I was also thinner so more of my stuff fitted. On the other hand I would hate to look like one of those try-hard mums who's got something to prove; Look at me I'm Posh Spice mummy, where are my paparazzi?

Yesterday I got caught out. Miss Lovely Smile called at 3:30 to tell me She-Who-Worships-Pink had not been collected by her dance teacher for her 3:45 dance class. 

I was writing all day so, with my 6am makeup application running down my face, I was a little less than fresh with my panda eyes, grey yoga pants decorated with bleach spots, and a tatty hoodie. And that's how I walked into her classroom minutes later and presented myself at the dance studio in front of all the glamour-mums.

Well wouldn't you know, following on from my recent 'it's not just me theme' I met a lovely woman this morning who was actually admiring my drop-off ensemble. She said, "I bet you're one of those mums, who just throws something on and looks great aren't you?' After I bent down and scooped my jaw up off the floor I explained it was all straight off a Katies in-store display last summer.

I confessed my daily-drop-off-dressing trauma and she confessed to her Pyjama-drop-offs. Wow Pyjama Drop-Off-Mum: another urban myth uncovered. 

Oh the envy!  But not having to get out of your car is small recompense for a horrible peak hour commute across the harbor bridge into the eastern suburbs. Not having to be seen in  a presentable state before 8:30 am after ninety minutes in heavy traffic (just getting there) is a small luxury afforded to brave souls.

There was just that one time, she told me, when she got pulled over by the police for a broken tail light; wearing her worst, oldest, tattiest pajamas. She said she almost begged him not to ask her to step out of the vehicle. 

The officer let her go; he was probably married with school aged children.

I cant help but wonder now if she rethinks what PJ's she's going to wear for drop-off now..

I also wonder, do French Mums wear really stylish pyjamas? Do they have such things as bed scarves to accessorise with?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Christmas Rush final - Drowning AND Waving

I'm doing a 200 meter sprint over a soaked pavement with a school uniform on a hanger. 
I also have a bag (containing a raincoat, school shoes and tights) bouncing off my thigh out from under the protection of my umbrella.  The rain is hitting like Niagara Falls but surely the bag cant fill up with water before I get there?

I'm not firing on all cylinders today as it is. You see our household appliances follow a break-down roster, and this week it's the Nespresso Machine's turn to stop working.  Low on caffeine and I'm still ill; my Step Throat has morphed into Laryngitis so, like our Delonghi coffee maker, the lights are on but there's nothing much coming out.

One of the other mums, waves and calls ‘Hi, how are you?” In response, I launch into a squeaky voiced, verbal vomit detailing my panicked morning.  Looking at her startled expression, I realise this is NOT one of the mums I know well enough to offer a Too-Much-Information-High-Speed-Download and I feel like an idiot.

The big-deal-first-dance-recital-dress-rehearsal is over and it's pick-up time for our little dancers and time to drop them back at school before afternoon classes start.

I really have no time to feel like an idiot, because heading off in the car from our expired meter, (no ticket thankfully) I make a bad choice from the ‘ONE WAY’ street buffet and we end up on a detour of biblical proportions (two suburbs) on the way back to school. There are certain roads in Sydney where it's like you're on a Hot Wheels Track and you can't turn left (or right depending on which direction you're heading) or even change lanes for several kilometers.

The mid-day traffic is oozing and  there is much honking and shouting from everyone involved (except me because I can only huff and squeak). Finally I park outside school and take Pinkster in the gate where I’m told by the teacher monitoring lunch recess that I need to go to the office and get a late slip signed.
Pinkster is stressing (where does she get that from?) I think part of the problem is that she’s got the 'Hangrys' (Hunger induced crankiness) so I hand over her lunch and tell her I'll be right back.  Apparently she cant be officially handed over without a yellow slip from the office.

“What about my school bag mummy?”
 “We’re not ALLOWED in the classroom at reeecesssss.”

Minutes later I’m crawling around Pinkster’s dark classroom putting her afternoon snack in the afternoon snack tub, her home reader into the home reader tub, I can’t find a tub for the news items so I leave it in her school bag and hang that on its peg.
Mission accomplished, I can go home now.

Getting in the car I turn the wipers on full speed for my 780 meter drive down the road. I’m looking at the sky thinking that we will definitely be missing swimming lessons tonight.

I just don't have it in me and besides after inhaling those chemical fumes it probably constitutes ‘driving under the influence.’


I’ve had a chance to talk with some of my friends since; two lovely mums from school and my BFF.

After what I did to that other mum (verbal explosion of how my life sucks kind of thing) I gave a jokey, abridged account of my disastrous two days...and I got giggles; 
“I thought it was only me that kind of stuff happened to!”
And; “Oh my God, I’m just like a crazy person – week to week’’

And my Bestie, bless her, treated me to a witty account of her own Daughter’s recital-day-disasters, of which there were many.
“See sweetie,” she said, “ it’s not just you.”
 “You think the universe is stacked up against you and it’s not. It’s all of us – it’s life.”

I am so relieved. I often think, when I hit these bouts of bad-luck, strung together like an ugly bead necklace, that I’m working off some horrible Karma from a past life.

But it’s nothing personal. How ‘bout that.

So here’s a tip; if you think that finger by finger you’re losing your grip on your day, from what I hear, the wheels fall off every mum’s cart at least some of the time.

And isn’t it nice to know you’re not alone?