Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sugar free means it's for me! (A giveaway)

I've been trying to cut back on my sugar intake recently. And considering doing the same for the rest of this household. I'm sure Mr 9 in particular would benefit from it. He tends to be a bit hyped up at times. Mine is purely to try & shift a few kilos, without having to try too hard.

It wasn't until I was pregnant with Mr 9 that I developed a sweet tooth. I've always had weight issues, but now I love lollies too. Well now, I don't have to feel guilty when dip my hand into the lolly jar. Oh who am I kidding, we don't even have a lolly jar! We don't have leftover lollies. We usually scoff the whole packet. Come on, don't try & tell me you haven't done that too. Every. single. time.

"Wonderland of Wellbeing" (WOW) have introduced a range of sugar free lollies - low GI, no artificial colours or flavours, dental friendly (budget says thanks), low fat and cholesterol free. All round a healthier, more natural, better for you, treat. And that's pretty important if you (like me) are one of the 64% of Aussies who consider themselves to be overweight. Or part of the 82% of people actively trying to lose weight by changing what they eat (that would be me again). Stats from Neilson Global Survey June 2012.

There are 9 flavours available. Yes, nine:

* Buttered Candy Drops

* Chewy Mints

* Fruit Candy

* Ice Mints

* Buttered Candy with Choc Centre

* Eucalyptus Drops

* Chewy Caramel

* Lemon & Lime Drops

* Chewy Fruits

And these "better for you" lollies from WOW "Wonderland of Wellbeing" are uniquely Australian made (yay- jobs!), Australian owned (yay - money stays here!) and are made from the finest natural colours and flavours ( yay - not artificial!), and premium ingredients (yay- quality!).

I took this photo this morning, hands up if you want the last chewy caramel.

So how do they taste?

Pretty darned good I must say. Zac & I scoffed all bar two of the Chewy Caramels on our hour long drive home from cadets last night. We saved the last two in case anyone else wanted to try them. Because we are considerate like that. Just the right amount of chewy-ness without clinging to the teeth like some confectioneries do. And none of the funny aftertaste that sometimes happens with caramel lollies. None at all. Very, very yummy. Will be added to my trolley.

We (meaning I) also got to try the Lemon & Lime Drops, which are also mega yummy ( I'm sucking on one now, just thought I'd share that info with you). I just leave one on my tongue and let it dissolve away all by itself. I am so lazy I don't even suck on them! No scrunched up face from sourness either, simply a perfect blend of two flavours that in some sweets can be overpowering. These will also be added to my shopping trolley.

You can buy these at Coles for $2.69 for a 90g packet. Which you don't have to scoff in one hour like we did. But you don't have to feel guilty if you do!

You can find out more are WOW "Wonderland of Wellbeing" on their Facebook page or at their website http://wowconfect.com.au/. There's lots of interesting info on there about sugar free eating & sugar substitutes. I know because I checked them out. And I recommend you do the same.


I have 5 packets of the super delicious Lemon & Lime Drops to share. That means FIVE of you will each win a packet. (And for any "Pro Pointers" out there, I put these through the online calculator and they were ZERO points. There's an extra Yay right there).

All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment telling me why you should win. It's that easy! Make sure you comment on my blog though, not on my Facebook page. And please make sure I can contact you (email address please) in case you are one of my winners. This competition will close on Friday 10 August at 5pm.

Entry is open to Australian residents only.

Spread the word, and good luck to you all!

Karen xx

Disclaimer: we received a couple of packets of WOW "Wonderland of Wellbeing" sugar free confectionery for sampling and review purposes. Opinions are my own.

Flexibility - I need some.

Today Miss Megan & I started at a weekly early childhood music class. Which we enjoyed immensely. We did some singing and dancing (and jumping, oh my poor old body!), and we played some percussion instruments.

Which was fine, except that most of the time we were all sitting cross legged on the floor. I had pain in my hips the whole time.

What a sight I must have been afterwards, trying to walk out of the building and back to the car. My hips were really stiff and wouldn't move properly.

I seriously need to learn some stretching exercises.

Got any tips?

Karen xx

Monday, July 30, 2012

Being local tourists.

We got to be tourists in our new region over the weekend. It was our first venture north of here.

I have shared on Facebook recently a couple of pictures of how my street looks. It reminds me a lot of when I lived in Bowral NSW, and also about 35 years ago when I lived near Melbourne Vic.

Only a few minutes out of town, you are met with this:

The green paddocks have been irrigated - this is horse breeding territory and the horses need lovely green grass to munch on. So do the cows.

We were thinking it was a little odd that someone would have laid turf along the side of the road. Then we came across this property, it's the breeding/racing stables owned by an Arab conglomerate. Emirates Park. The buildings were awesome, I couldn't get a close enough photo. And down the road was the biggest barn/stable I will ever see in my life. Also owned by them.

On our way back we stopped at Burning Mountain to walk up to the lookout. It's a 4.6km return walk.
Here's the incredible view from the top:

Just breathtaking.
Start & finish point

We found Skippy! Lots of Skippys by the time we finished.

Burning Mountain has a coal seam beneath it, that has been on fire for around 5 thousand years. As you get towards the top you can smell the sulphur. At the top end of the walk you can see the heat shimmer coming off the rocks. And occasional puffs of smoke coming out.

The hot rocks at the top.

There is so much to see around here. On my shortlist are the wash pools. Which is a popular place amongst the locals. Guess I had better have a look for myself.

Do you play tourist in your own town?

Karen xx

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Watching Movies with the kids (A Giveaway)

The kids & I had the chance to watch some DVDs recently, which was the perfect way to fill in a wintry afternoon....Thanks Universal Sony Pictures!

AND we've got some to share as giveaways! So keep on reading and I'll tell you what they were, what we thought and how you can win them.

The Jungle Bunch is the story of Maurice, the penguin who thinks he is a tiger. He even has stripes! As an egg, he fell off Antarctica, ended up in the jungle and was adopted by a tigress. He's happily spending his days hunting, repainting his stripes (love how he does this) and teaching his adopted son Junior (he's a Tiger Fish) hunting techniques.

Ping and Pong are penguins from Maurice's Antarctic village, who are searching for "The Great Warrior Tiger" to overthrow the walruses who are demanding the penquins' fish supplies. They stumble upon Maurice who agrees to help them (being a tiger, and all). So he gathers together his misfit jungle friends and they set off from the Jungle to the South Pole, collecting more misfits on the way and getting in and out of strife.

It's promoted as a Madagascar meets Happy Feet adventure and the kids (I'm talking Mr 9 and Miss 5 here, I didn't get Mr 16 to watch it) enjoyed it.

Liam gave it 7/10, liking that it's funny and thinking that the graphics could be better. Bear in mind that he is used to watching blockbuster movies on the big screen. I think he is getting a bit old for "kids movies" now.

Megan doesn't have the capacity to give scores yet, but she has watched it a few times already. Which means she likes it. And giggled in several places.

I didn't fall in love with the characters (like Gloria or Melman in Madagascar, and to have singing and dancing penguins would just be copying Happy Feet). I was looking for something more, but I don't know what. But it's not aimed at an adult audience, it's what the kids think that counts here. But I did like it better the second time I watched it. I found some funny bits! Like the snake. And the penguins launching themselves at the walruses. And Miguel the tappy, tappy gorilla! But Fred the singing warthog didn't do it for me. Maybe he will do it for you.

This is my favourite of the 3 movies we watched.

Anything can happen on NIM'S ISLAND, a place where everything runs wild, especially imagination!

Eleven year old Nim and her marine biologist Dad live a life many of us fantasise about, living on an otherwise undiscovered tropical island, with animals as friends - Silkie the seal, Fred the iguana and Galileo the pelican. And they are determined to stop others from discovering their island.

Nim fills her days with exploration and adventure, inspired by her literary hero, the world's greatest adventurer Alex Rover (think Indiana Jones type character). When her island paradise is in jeopardy from intruders, Nim reaches out to her hero for help.

My opinion: An easy to watch, enjoyable kids movie. Jodie Foster, as the role of reclusive author Alexandra Rover, is fabulous and funny. (I am a fan of hers). Alex Rover is ruggedly handsome. Nim is lovable and believable. The animals play real roles (not just there to fill in space) and they are funny!

Liam's opinion: 9/10 - he like that the animals are funny.

Megan's opinion - it's the first thing she asked to watch the next day, so I guess she liked it!

LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu features the first six episodes of Season Two, Volume One, with bonus mini episodes as well. Evil Lloyd Garmadon has released sinister snake people in an effort to conquer the land of Ninjago. When his plan goes wrong & he ends up a prisoner of the snakes, he must join forces with the ninja team (Kai, Jay, Zane and Cole - good guys) to stop an enemy who is prophesied to cast eternal darkness over their land. Who will rise above the rest and become the Green Ninja? I'm not telling!

Mr Liam, at 9, is a MAJOR fan of all things Lego. And with Ninjago being the latest breed of Lego characters, this was sure to be a hit.

And it is. I got him to give me a review. He gave it 10/10. Loved it. Wouldn't change a thing. So if you have a LEGO fan, this is a must for you.

For those of you paying attention, I mentioned way up near the top, that I have a giveaway. Yes I do. Thanks to Universal Sony Pictures. I have 2 copies of each of these DVDs up for grabs. So 2 winners will win a copy of each. Pretty cool, hey?!

To enter, leave me a comment on my blog (not my Facebook post) telling me the last kid's movie you watched. Too easy!

Entry is open to Australian residents only and will close at 6pm on 5th August. Please make sure you leave an email address so I can get in touch with you if you win.

Thank you and good luck.

Karen xx.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of each DVD for review purposes. Opinions expressed are those of myself and my family.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Bra Off Brigade

Yes, I've become a member of the bra-off brigade.

No, not one of these women who never wears a bra. My boobs are already low enough on my body thanks.

I'm talking the "No thanks, I'm not going out, I've already taken my bra off" brigade.

It used to only be occasional, but now it's become a daily thing.

And I should have joined it yonks ago!

Because bras are ridiculously uncomfortable. Proper fitting is great until the elastic starts going funny. Or if you are like me and your weight fluctuates......And don't get me started on underwires coming out.

What about you? Are you a member?

Karen xx

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Countrification of Us. Part 3.

If you're popping over to my blog & aren't up to speed yet, Part 1 and Part 2 are here and here.

Part 3 sees us moving into the rental house that is to be our home for at least the next 6 months. It's been empty and for sale & the owners have agreed to take it off the market for a 6 month lease, then they will review if they want to renew our lease or put it back on the market. We'd probably like to stay put for 12 - 18 months, until we (hopefully) are in a position to buy, but we'll just have to see what happens.

The removalists unpack to a flat surface. Meaning bench top or dining table. They unpacked and left as I had nothing more I needed them to do. THIS is the point at which I felt overwhelmed. If I didn't have 3 kids watching me, I would have cried. I just didn't know where to start.

glassware unpacked

so very exciting!
dining room
lounge room

writing names in driveway
60 steps to the letterbox

kids' bathroom, with a big linen closet
looking from dining room to front entry & lounge
my BIG laundry. massive linen closet opposite now RIP washing mch

pergola area off dining room

Walking distance to the primary school= bonus. High school bus stop is at the primary school = double bonus. Both preschools in town have long waiting lists = bummer. Think we will have to check out playgroup sooner rather than later.

Streets that are three times the width that we are used to. With trees growing down the middle, just like proper avenues. Can't wait for springtime, to see all the colours.

Latest good news - Conservatorium of Music runs preschool music classes at the primary school - Yay!

Tae Kwon Do for both the boys located 100m down the road at another school's hall. Double Yay!!!!

Things have a way of falling into place.

What's fallen into place for you lately?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Day the Washing Machine Died

And I am singing Bye Bye my Whirlpool, Bye.
Trusted you, busted you,
No, you did that, WHY?

Them good old days when we could trust an appliance,
You had to break in an act of defiance.

RIP Washing Machine. Purchased Nov 2011. Yep folks, last year. It's 8 months old.

It is now 7 days since I rang the customer service line to report a problem with my washing machine. I still have not had any of the 3 promised return phone calls.

The local warranty repairer has stopped working with Whirlpool because their parts are to hard to get.

So there is nobody who can fix it under warranty in whatever radius they use.

Yesterday I resorted to hand washing. For a family of 5. Fun much? Ah, nup.

Yesterday I also resorted to buying a new machine machine. Not a Whirlpool.

Lat night and this morning see me happily washing loads and loads of clothes & towels.

This morning also saw me back on the phone to Whirlpool customer service (who have been very polite and apologetic, just not good at carrying out promises). They want to replace my machine. TOO LATE BUSTER!! I will have a refund instead please.

I wonder how long it will take..............

Have you ever had anything replaced or repaired under warranty?

Yours in washing heaven,

Karen xx


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Countrification of Us. Part 2.

So continues the story of our move to the country.

For those who missed part 1, it's here.

First impressions certainly last. I truly believe that being on the receiving end of such a warm welcome as our first impression was a major factor in our first week feeling magical, as we stayed in that beautiful farmhouse.

dining room to kitchen
lounge room

can I please keep this hallway?
study, Zac's bedroom behind

laundry, enormous!
front entrance

master bedroom
Zac's room

Liam & Megan were happy to share
even set up a baby's room, just in case we had a really young one

front door, doors on left lead to main bedroom

view from the doors to main bedroom


one of a family of 6, seen daily in the paddocks

remains of a frost

very sad to leave it

The farmhouse is on a 163 hectare block, owned by the company. It borders the road to the mine. I think the mines up here tend to buy the land immediately surrounding them to act as a buffer between them and the residential area. I think it's a great idea. And an even better one is that the land is open to tender, meaning people with horses or cattle can tender to use the land to graze their animals. What a great way for it to be looked after! The house will remain available for families just like us, who are relocating to work for the company.

It was for us, the perfect opportunity to slow down and think of it as a little holiday before we moved into the rental house. Poor hubster Ray had to start work on the Monday, so hasn't had a holiday yet.

From here we were less than a 5 minute drive to the shops. I find it amazing here that you are driving through town and all of a sudden you are surrounded by farms. The suburbs don't roll into each other like they do in the Illawarra (and most of suburbia) - you get past the last street of houses and WOW - open space like I've never seen before. Speed limits go seem to be either 50 or 100 km. 60 & 80 zones are short and only there as a wind up or wind down to the 100 km zones.

Over that first week, hubster went to work and the kids & I did a bit of exploring, just finding out where shops are & stuff. We found a park to play in, which the younger ones loved. We took it nice & slowly until our furniture started arrived at the rental house on Day 4.

So we travelled 30 minutes through those wide spaces, along the 100km zones, and finished 2 towns along, to where the rental house is, in the stock horse capital of Australia.

More about that in Part 3.

Karen xx

Winner Announced - Cocoon Grid-IT Winner

This prize is unclaimed as at 28/07/2012. New winner is Lisa W.

To find out more about the Grid-IT, check out Cocoon Bags Australia's Facebook page for some inspiring ideas! I am STILL in love with mine. Don't forget they come in a range of sizes and colours, to suit everyone's needs.

contents not included, sorry! they are my personal items!

The winner of the super awesome Cocoon Grid-IT is:


with the following entry:

With three kids aged seven and under
My handbags a mess, is it any wonder?
There's the youngest one's dummies and snacks
For when those tantrums or munchies attacks
There's notepads and pens, hair ties and keys
Nail scissors, chewing gum, and tissues for when I sneeze
As you can see, I really need this little device
So when I open up my handbag instead of a mess, it'll look nice!

Congratulations, the poetry won us over!

Please send me an email at mummabear1970@live.com.au with your postage address to claim your prize by 21/07/12.

Have a fabulous day everyone!

Karen xx

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Countrification of Us. Part 1.

To bring you up to speed, over the past two weeks, we have packed up our family of 5 & moved to a town 5 hours northwest from everything familiar to us. Was it really only 2 weeks ago? Feels like we've been gone for ages.

It's a tree change, the ocean is now hours away. We are being countrified! And we are loving it.

The packup took 3 days, which looked like this:

my balloons from farewell lunch
looks HUGE when empty!
nothing left in here Mum
my entryway
my hallway

our highly efficient movers

To escape it, we were able to stay at alternative accommodation (Thanks new company!):

where I spent my 2 evenings, luxuriously bubbling
love the mini supplies

So that's where we left the Illawarra region. 32 years of familiarity for me, gone. Hubster Ray was born there 42 years ago.
Fast forward to the Saturday & we took the drive to our new town (which took 7 hours with Sydney traffic & a lunch stop).

Here's one for all you keen photographers:

(It's a history of cameras, found the the cafe we stopped at for lunch).

Let me tell you, that after that long trip, having google mapped the address for our temporary accommodation, to reach the house at dusk, and be met at the door by a friendly housekeeper who had unlocked & warmed the house AND bought us some grocery essentials, was an AMAZING first impression that is tattooed into my mind. Plus there was a gourmet food & wine hamper on the bench. And a bag full of touristy guides & maps - this area is full of wineries, I'm thinking I'll feel right at home.

Here's a glimpse of the farmhouse. More to come next post.

This is where I will leave Part 1. Stay tuned for part 2.

Do you have a moving house story to tell? Share it with me!

Karen xx