Monday, October 24, 2011

Friend Guilt

I have a case of what I call friend guilt at the moment. Guilty for my life continuing on in its own merry way, whilst a friend's world has been turned upside down.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of having lunch and a catch up with some other Wollongong Bloggers - check it out at Tina Gray {dot} Me here. I had a lovely time.

About 3 hours before the group photo in Tina's post was taken, I received a phone call to let me know that a friend's husband had passed away the night before after battling cancer for over 12 months.

This is a friend I have known since Year 7 (1982). She's one of those friends we all have - we can go years without catching up but when we do, it's like we've been in constant contact - we pick up where we left off.

I spoke to her yesterday afternoon and she sounded peaceful. She was surrounded by her wonderful family and her main concern is to make sure their 10 year old son is okay. I have no doubt that she will continue to be a wonderful Mum, she is a very strong woman. I don't know how I would cope in the same situation. She's grateful to have had time to prepare for this, rather than lose him suddenly. They were able to discuss and plan arrangements (I hate those words - discuss and plan arrangements). Just the other day after Mass, I overheard them discussing the memorial wall in our church grounds (where people place ashes & a plaque for their loved one) & I quipped that he wasn't going yet - he still had things to do here. There is nothing she wants me to do. She has it all under control already. She has meals in the freezer already. I guess I just need to be there mentally for her, ready to catch her if she feels like she is falling. I want to take her for coffee again when she is up to it.

So I continue on my charmed life today, in my normal routine (Tuesday = Grandma Day). She gets to meet with our parish priest again to finalise the funeral arrangements.

The candle I light today with be for him. Rest in Peace Laurie.

God Bless Linda & Daniel.

Karen xx

Sunday, October 23, 2011

More Birthdays & Cakes in Our House.......

We have 2 birthdays in a 6 day period in our house, so I have been baking for 4 days now, for Charlotte's birthday Thurs, her party Sat & family over today to celebrate both hers and Zac's birthdays. I still have more to go, with Zac's actual birthday on Wed, then his party on Sat. But those cakes haven't been decided yet. Here's how I did these ones:

Quality control centre

Flower earrings (icing), white necklace, multi coloured bracelet, drop earrings & ring made from lollies
Yep, I made this cake........proud much? lol

The girls made a loungeroom out of the leftover cake!

Such a beautiful bunch of young ladies - it was a pleasure to have them here.


Zac's chosen cake:

I was SUPER proud of how this one turned out....Zac made the meringues & I did the rest

Zac & Charlotte just after blowing out their candles


Saturday, October 22, 2011

An Exam Needing No Study

Got a student doing exams, like we do in our house right now?

Here's one they can do with no study required........simply an appointment.......with an Optometrist.

Up to 80% of a student's learning is visual - poor vision can be a barrier to learning - imagine not being able to read what's on the whiteboard or in the text book, and the headaches that come on after spending hours using a computer - study is hard enough without adding in these factors. Or squinting. Or blurry vision.

“Having frequent eye tests will ensure that students are able to perform at their best and reach their full potential whether they’re at home or in the classroom,” said Grant Fisher, National Eyecare Director at Budget Eyewear.

Here are some tips Grant has put together to help keep those eyes healthy:
1. Always study in a well lit room. Too much or too little light can cause you to squint or strain. So, avoid working in darkness in front of a bright computer screen, and always read and write with a light positioned behind you.
2. Monitor your visuals. Be aware of how long you are spending on one task, especially if you are working on the computer or reading. Long term exposure to the computer could cause dry eyes from reduced blinking and even induce myopia (short-sightedness) in some students.
3. Give your eyes a break. Relax your eyes by taking a few seconds to focus on an object in your line of vision beyond your computer or text book.
4. Eat for your eyes. Snack on tasty, nutritious treats such as apricots, oranges, strawberries, carrots, as well as nuts and seeds such as almonds, peanuts and pumpkin seeds. Eating food that is rich in vitamins A, C, E, selenium and zinc have been shown to play an important role in maintaining eye health.
5. Watch out for regular headaches, frequently sore, tired or bloodshot eyes. These are not just symptoms of working too hard – more than likely your eyes are trying to tell you something! If you’re experiencing these symptoms it’s worthwhile booking an appointment to see your local optometrist.
6. Check your child’s eyes regularly. Medicare covers an eye test every two years and in some instances more frequently so take the time to check out your eye health.

Eye exams are a part of life in our house. Ray & I have had ours tested in the last 2 years (& we both have very early glaucoma); I have glasses I am meant to wear for reading; and Zac has glasses for reading. My eyes are feeling weary lately and I am noticing some difficulty in seeing words clearly, so I must unbury (is there such a word?) my specs from my handbag and put them on my face! And I must organise to have Liam and Megan's eyes tested - I am not expecting any problems with their vision, but it's wise to get it done anyway.

With Medicare covering the cost of an eye exam every 2 years, it makes sense to get the family tested. There are HEAPS of frames available - from conservative to glasses that make a statement (which are great for those teens who love to be an individual). Budget Eyewear can also cater for the younger kids - they recommend glasses fitted with‘active lens’; the lens are super strong, thin, lightweight, scratch proof and UV resistant. So they can handle lots of child's play!

Do any of your kids wear glasses? When did you last have your own eyes tested? Can you get an "A" in your eye test?

Karen xx

I was approached to write this post and have received no compensation for it. Because sometimes I like to do things like that!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Christmas Decoration I Haven't Seen Before

I love Christmas. No, I LOVE Christmas. Yes, that's better.

To the point that I used to sell Christmas Decorations, so I think I have a fair idea of what's out there.

This week I found one I haven't seen before. You may or may not have seen it already, it depends if you frequent the baby aisle in the supermarket.

 No we don't sell babies, I'm talking about baby related items, you goose!

I pack shelves for a living, so when I found these I snuck a photo to share with you:

So now you can decorate your baby's bum this Christmas!

Cute hey?

Karen xx

Friday, October 14, 2011

Taking turns to be sick

4 out of 6 people in this household are sick this week.

Megan was too sick to go to preschool on Monday.

Zac was too sick to go to school on Thursday.

Charlotte was too sick to go to school today.

That's 3 days that I had to rearrange & reschedule stuff I had to do. But that's ok, we Mums are flexible like that. I would rather be home with my patients to make sure they are ok.

Ray was probably too sick to go to work but went anyway. He's tough. Like me - lol!

Liam & I have survived unscathed. Watch us cop it next week now that I am "bragging".

(Image from here)

Sniffles, coughs, sneezes, blocked heads, sore throats, tonsillitis - yep, that's what's on the go here.

How's the health at your place?

Karen xx

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Developing a new phone app - please answer our Survey

Do you like taking the kids to the park to play?

Then we need your help please!

My cousin Catherine (she's an IT wizz!) is developing, yes developing, a new phone app to help you find and rate local parks. See, I told you she's an IT wizz. (One of these days, I going to get her to help me modernise the look of my blog, but this post is about her, not me).

She's put together a really simple survey to find out what you would like to see in this app.

So please click on the link below and give Catherine your feedback. I'll love you for it, and so will she!

Click here to take survey


If you do complete the survey, please come back & leave me a comment, just to satisfy my own curiosity on how many of us have helped her. I've already completed the survey and it was easy peasy.

Thanks. Mwah!

Karen xx

Sunday, October 9, 2011

New term, new system. (I hope so anyway)

Don't you just love the whole change over into summer school uniform thing. Goes hand in hand with daylight savings, I reckon.

A new pace in life - hopefully a little more sedate than it has been so far this year.

A new attitude - does this issue really matter in the grand scheme of life?

A chance to tweak a few systems - slight changes to how things are done around here. Or more precisely, a slight change to who does things around here.

Yep, it's started with the ironing. I am no longer going to iron the school uniforms. The teens can do that. I've told them to sort it out between themselves, if they want to do their own or take turns doing all of them. I will progress to them washing the uniforms too, but let's not hit them with too much at once, hey!

Because I'm more than a bit "over" rushing around trying to be the perfect Mum & doing everything for everyone. I work until midnight, I get to bed around 2am, I get up about 7am & have to tell the kids to get ready. It's time to look after me a bit more.

Oh, and I need breakfast in the morning. Not ironing!

And they need to learn to do stuff.

What jobs have you delegated to the kids to make life easier?

Karen xx

Picture from here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What the animals think of us.....

We went to the Nowra Wildlife Park today. I don't think the animals were very impressed with us:

The camel did a massive wee when we were looking at him,

The piglets piddled when we were checking them out,

The kangaroo pooped when we were patting him (must have been a him, a her wouldn't have done that!).

These girls heard the words "Christmas" and "dinner";

and walked away.

Some of the other things we did & saw there:


What did you get up to today?

Karen xx

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cadet Camp

Zac came home from his week long Army Cadet Camp last night.

Exhausted, sunburned, wind burned (his lips are not usually that big), dirty, smelly (the boys had access to a shower only once in the entire 8 days) and in need of a home style toilet!

He slept in a sleeping bag on a foam mat, under a piece of plastic strung between two trees (a hootchi).

Here's the kind of food they ate (because I'm a  foodie every Mum wants to know what the kids are being fed):

This is part of a ration pack. Other bits in there were instant noodles, muesli with milk powder (all the cadets needed to add was water from their canteen), tubes of condensed milk, drinking chocolate powder, biscuits, yeast spread (Vegemite), strawberry jam & that kind of stuff. The biggest item in the photo above is a chicken curry meal that is heated by boiling the packet in water for 6 minutes. They were issued with piece of equipment that functions as a hotplate. (If I didn't know what it was, I would have thrown it out, thinking it was a piece of scrap metal!).

As you can see, he survived intact. And just quietly, so did we.

I wonder if my washing machine will?

Welcome home Zac!

Love Mum