Happy Heart Story: Spectacles for the Party Pooper

We were in the local shopping centre and passed a Spectacle Store. Little did I know, but The J Bomb has obviously been paying close attention during television advertising. As we passed the storefront he commented, “That’s the place where you buy a pair of glasses if you have a friend who is no fun.” Initially perplexed, I then remembered a current advertising campaign, “For a limited time buy 2 pairs, get one free for you or for a friend who is not in a fund.”

Continue Reading

Anyone have anything to say?

Hi! I would love to hear some comments if you are reading this! It feels like I’m talking to no one, which I would have thought quite possible because I haven’t advertised the fact that I’m blogging yet. However, I can see there are some visitors. (Yay!) Would love some feedback and hear what you think, whether you’ve dropped in before, of if this is your first visit… (Pretty please?)

Continue Reading

Happy Heart Tips: Parties

Here are my tips for hosting a child’s party that will provide maximum fun for the Birthday Boy/Girl!

1. Choose a Theme.
    A theme can tie everything together, and provide focus while you are planning. Link it to something that    
    your child is currently interested in. Themes that my family have found successful: Teddy Bears Picnic, 
    Trains, Construction, Tools, Dinosaurs, Tiger, Fish, Princess, Hearts, Butterfly.

2. Plan, Plan, Plan!
    Start planning early. That way you can get started on some of the jobs that can be done ahead of time in
    order to minimize stress as the party gets closer. Write down your ideas, or you’ll forget them. The more
    brilliant the idea, the more likely it will be forgotten normally! Remember, google is your friend, do a 
    search on your theme and steal as many fabulous ideas as possible! Plan games to play (if the guests are
    old enough!) Plan food that will suit your theme. Homemade party food is always nice but not always as
    convenient.

3. Budget
    A heading to prove that I am an accountant’s wife!

    Even though it may not seem like it – parties are expensive. Plan a day that is within your budget. Don’t
    put anything on your credit card if you are going to pay interest on it. In fact, if you are in credit card debt,
    I question the wisdom of having a party in the first place. You can spend a fraction of the money in giving
    your child some treats. Plan for a low cost but special day. Your child will be happier in the long term
    having debt free parents rather than having an extravagant party for a few hours.

    I always find that planning in advance, helps me cut costs. I choose a theme a few months before and then
    keep my eye out for things that will suit the theme especially when they are on sale. Also buying gradually
    over time helps spread the cost rather than having it all in one week.

4. Construct a Guest List and Send Invitations
    I am quite liberal with my guest lists. I often have large parties, choosing to acknowledge the importance
    the invited guest has in the guest of honours life. I often include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins,
    church friends and mothers group friends.

     I look forward to doing a smaller party sometime, I think it will be easier to make it more detailed and
     perhaps spend a bit more money on each guest for party food and party bags. One day …. I don’t know
     when, those guest lists just tend to grow… !

5.  Take plenty of photos and make sure your child has a special day!
     It may sound obvious, but sometimes you can be so busy rushing around on party day looking after
     everyone else, you forget about the guest of honour! Make sure your child is having as much fun as
     possible! Get photos to remember the occassion – I find it’s good to have someone snapping for you,
     (Aunty’s are great happy snappers!) that way you get some of the shots that you would miss because you
     are making sure the party keeps flowing.

Continue Reading

Trent turns 1

There is few things in life that make my heart happier than celebrating my children’s birthdays. So hooray for the baby’s first birthday! You always have to have the first birthday cake photo, and I love this one capturing the thrill (and possibly sugar high) of eating your first birthday cake. Trent’s birthday was on Tuesday and he also had a first birthday party on Saturday. So he has now properly celebrated the momentous occassion of turning one, and now he can get down to the busy business of being one!

Teddy Bear Party – Games

The party went well, we had a first birthday Teddy Bears Picnic. The kids brought along their favourite teddy’s. Which was great for a game of “Musical Bears” which was basically Musical Chairs only instead of the kids sitting on chairs, they had to sit their bears on it. A little easier for that age group, and the kids LOVED it!

 

We also had teddy bear competitions We determined who had the biggest, smallest, best dressed and ‘fastest’. (Although no first place was declared in the teddy race and everyone got a prize!)

 

 

Teddy Bear Party – Food

After games we had afternoon tea. I was particularly happy with the service of this. I found some noodle boxes, which I bought in bulk which made them quite affordable. I wish I had found them at this price sooner, because I would have decorated the plain white boxes with glue and ribbon, perhaps some felt teddies glued on, would have also made a nice touch. But anyway, I filled the boxes with food and handed them out. So easy! It saved on preparation time, because I didn’t make a selection of goodies, the only baking was enough teddy bear shaped sultana muffins (nice and easy) for each child. I also included tiny teddies, chocolate teddy bikkies, a bag of fruit, a bag of gummi bears and a sandwich cut out in a teddy shape. One drawback was food wastage, as not all children ate everything. You could get the parents to choose the foods to go into the boxes to avoid this, but it would be a little more time consuming.

 

Teddy Bear Party – Party bags.

I couldn’t bring myself to buy cheap plastic toys that fairly promptly are disposed of for a one year old’s party. Instead I did goodie bags. (Bought the small clear plastic bags in bulk several years ago, had just enough left for each child.) I made teddy bear shaped sugar biscuits, iced them and put them in the bag with a few soft lollies. (in honour of the gummy baby and his little toothy pegs!) Much more economical, didn’t contribute to landfill and homemade always feels nicer to give away anyway!

Of course the birthday cake had to be a teddy bear! It’s actually become a family tradition. Mum made this cake for myself and my 2 sisters and brother. J bomb also had him. I was a bit rushed icing the cake, (was out the night before and didn’t start icing until 11:00pm. Eeep!) so I wasn’t 100% happy with him, and somehow I cut him so he was quite lanky. But never mind, the size of The Baby’s smile when he first saw the cake reassured me that bubs aren’t to fussed with the finer details!

 

It was a lovely party. The weather was lovely, pefect for children playing in the garden. The baby had such fun toddling around to his heart’s content, there was always someone to look after him! Being a social baby, he also loved having so many kids to watch and be around. I think it’s safe to assume he enjoyed the celebration.

On his actual birthday The Baby (for now, fast turning into The Toddler!) decided to start the celebrations quite close to 4:01am, the time he was actually born 12 months earlier. Needless to say, The Accountant and I considered this gesture completely unnecessary. In the afternoon his 4 cousins, 2 Aunty’s, Grandma, Grandad, Great-Grandad and Great-Nana came around to visit and help consume cake and teddy bear biscuits. Quite the family affair! Such a blessed boy to be surrounded by people who so completely love and dote over him.

 

We feel so very blessed that God has added Trent to our family. He is our little mischievious monkey, full of cheeky smiles. He’s cuddly and cute as pie!

Continue Reading

Childbirthing Perks

The other day I found myself actually wishing I was in labour again.

When The Accountant and I are travelling, we often listen to the radio. Sometimes the airwaves if filled with such rabble it makes me agitated and gives me a headache. At which point I will inevitably say, “What is this rubbish?” as I reach to change the station. The Accountant will then inevitably say, “That’s AC DC. I like it. Leave it on.”

The other day as this scenario was playing out during a road trip, my mind recalled when I was in labour with The Baby. While gritting my teeth as another contraction hit, I was not at all soothed by the sound of AC DC blasting over the radio. As I went to change it, making my customary comment about it being rubbish, The Accountant made his customary defense of the band, at which point I snapped, “You don’t get to choose the music tonight.” Instantly The Accountant replied, “Fair enough” and not a word was said as I turned a CD with Diana Krall on for the remainder of the journey.

So, as I listened under duress to that awful music the other day, I actually remember wistfully thinking about the power I had over the radio 2 hours before giving birth.

Continue Reading

Happy Campers!

I met The Accountant in 1996, and I think ever since the start of our relationship The Accountant has always been trying to convince me of the merits of camping. I’m just not a camping type of girl, my family didn’t go camping on our holidays and I like my creature comforts. The Accountant has many fond memories of camping with his family from weekends up at the coast fishing and four wheel driving to heavy duty camping for months as they travelled around Australia.

This weekend was a momentous occassion for our family. We bought a tent!

The Accountant’s reasoning for camping has been making more and more sense now that we have a family – particularly with two sons. We will be able to getaway more often for short breaks since we don’t have to pay hefty accomodation costs, very important to the Accountant. Most people I talk to who did camp as kids have many fond memories of the experience – unlike my memories – I think you just need to get into your camping groove. The J Bomb had picked up on the talk about tents and camping and has been super excited.

We decided to go camping last weekend, however because we have been so busy lately, we didn’t have time to buy a tent. Some would then reserve the weekend for buying the tent and postpone the trip. Nope. Not the Accountant. He has waited a long time for this event. We went into town, after The Baby had his sleep – The Baby is still sick, and not a particularly happy chappy. Bought a tent after going to two stores, then back to the first one. We decided to go all out, this was a long term investment after all! We got a three room tent with 100 denier fly, so it shouldn’t leak in the rain.

Went home, chucked clothes into bags and anything else we could think of, loaded the car up and headed to Caloundra! Setting up the tent went smoothly. The boys loved playing in the dirt while we were setting it up. They are starting to get to the stage where they want the same thing. There hasn’t been full fights yet, but The Baby certainly yells, cries, growls when J takes something off him. The point of contention was the little shovel with a pointy end. I don’t know why The Baby formed an attachment to it, poor J kept trying to substitute other things, because he was trying to dig, and the point was better. The baby refused to share though.

It was 5:00 by the time we were all set up, The J Bomb was keen to try out the pool, so Daddy and him had a quick swim, followed with a walk on Dicky’s Beach. After showers, we wandered across to a gourmet fish and chips store for a tasty meal of prawns, beer battered chips and fish. Mine was barramundi with a pesto and Japanese crumb. Totally delish.

Back home to our three rooms.

Not the greatest nights sleep, The Accountant had forgotten to pack the port-a-cot, so the baby was with us, and had a tendency for constant movement and wanted to cuddle up close. Of course he slept, well, like a baby. Mummy and Daddy not so much.

J Bomb and I woke up early the next morning, so we headed down and checked out the beach. Then we bought some muffins and juice from the bakery for brekky.

We had a lazy Sunday morning on the beach and in the swimming pool before packing up the tent. I had been worried about setting up the tent, and had not even considered the complexities of pulling it apart. I tell you, folding the fly was such a challenge! Our bag full of tent gear was considerably larger then when we arrived. No doubt we will perfect the process in time. While we were there folding it all up, while the boys played happily in the dirt. I looked at the Accountant and had a flashback of all the times I had played “Mummy’s and Daddy’s” as a girl. I had such a sense of contentment and awe that we weren’t just playing anymore. We were the Mummy and Daddy, and we I feel a profound sense of gratitude to God that we have been given these roles.

Lunch at the surf club at Kings Beach. The J Bomb had a play in the water spouts on the esplanade. Then onwards home with two tired happy little campers in the back.

So am I a happy camper after our debut family camping trip? Well, during the overnight trip, I did have many flashbacks of why I don’t like camping. Shared toilets/showers, (even if they were clean), noisy campsites, lack of privacy, guys spewing over walkways from the big night they had, lack of sleep, dirt… But when I looked at the happy smiles on my boys faces, (Accountant included) I think that the lack of creature comforts are a small sacrifice for the great opportunity to create family memories. So, my camping days have begun, and I’m actually looking forward to the next chance we will have for a getaway.
Continue Reading

Fish Update.

Mickey has a good strong constitution and has survived the water changing incidences. Since the breed is originally from Thailand (Siam) and used to warmth, I got the brilliant idea of putting him in the lounge room, which gets very warm thanks to the afternoon sun. He is not completely satisfied though and has put in a complaint that in my hurry to ‘save his life’ I put him in a bowl without dusting it. Am now considering how to change his water so he has a cleaner living environment.

Continue Reading

Get Better Betta.

A few weekends ago on 10/10/10 my cousin Jacquie got married. It was a gorgeous day and in the tradition of family weddings and funerals, a great time to catch up with the extended family.

We have a momento of the wedding now. Well, two if you also count which wasn’t the lovely coaster bonbonniere’s. The table centrepieces were a vase that contained a fish. There was a lovely letter next to the vase asking people to provide a home for the fish after the reception had ended.
My sister decided that the J bomb needed a new fish. I tried in vain to remind her the reason the fish tank was unoccupied at our house is a sad tale, that would have any innocent fish shuddering, and may possibly scar their 3 second memory. Then I claimed that we couldn’t take the fish, because we weren’t going home directly, but rather to Bundaberg and a 9 hour drive to get home would not be helpful for the fish. She kindly offered to transport the fish home. The fish looked lonely and unwanted. I gave in. Mickey was coming home with us. I have no idea who Minnie went home with.

I thought that perhaps Mickey may not get to reside in our place, my nephew became quite attached to him. Unfortunately the brother-in-law is able to resist my sister’s compelling arguments more than I can, and once the fish had the happy occassion of going to school for show and tell, he has now become a resident at our house.

On his trip home, we had a brief stop where I talked to my other sister who said the Betta fish – Siamese fighting fish – preferred warm water. Unfortunately our tank is not warm and cosy. Unfortunately I did not share this information with The Accountant in time. Unfortunately Mickey was deposited in the tank. I left him there for a few hours hoping that he might acclimatise. You never know, maybe he would grow an extra set of scales as a substitute for a woolly jumper. Alas, when I checked on him before bed, the fish was in what I now call “The Dying  Corner”.

We have had three batches of goldfish. They are all now deceased. First there was Bibble, Bobble, Bubble and Boo. Then there was Captain, Admiral, Skipper and Kamikaze. The last tank residents were the fish that we bought on the day of the 2010 elections. Farley, Gilly, Abby and Libby. Despite being blessed with such fabulous goldfish names they were not long in this world. We have checked Ph, water levels, put anti-biotics in the water, etc. But the reason for the appalling mortality rates remain a mystery.

So, last night when I saw Mickey in the dying corner, I was alarmed and decided to take immediate action, removing him from the cursed tank and putting him into warm water in his vase. It seemed that this move quite startled Mickey, and  he spent equal amounts of time swimming on his side (never a good thing) and trying to jump out. I then found an old fish bowl, so made the water a bit closer to lukewarm, and tipped him into his 3rd home for the night. After googling Siamese fighting fish in a panic and saying a prayer for his health and wellbeing I went to bed. Mickey has survived the night, so now I am contemplating our next move to ensure his longevity.

Continue Reading

Assault by Glitter

Sometimes, when I’m rushing around at night trying to get dinner ready by a reasonable hour, I will let the baby boy get into mischief, just to keep him out of my hair. Bub currently has an obsession with pulling things out of my handbag. It’s a pretty harmless past time, He pulls all my bits and bobs out, makes a huge mess, (particularly if he finds a packet of tissues), then crawls away. It can keep him occupied for up to half an hour, so this is a huge bonus. When I saw him checking out the bag during my dinner prep rush, I was relieved and continued crumbing the fish. The thing is, if you can get dinner ready by about 1815h, then you will leave plenty of time for the food to be consumed, the child’s teeth brushed, baby fed, books read, including the customary pleading, and eventual relenting, for “just one more”. So that should all go well, we OUGHT to have 2 sleeping boys by 1930h. The reward being grown up time for me with husband dearest.

This time, when the fish was crumbed, the vegies cooked and table set, I bent down to throw all the stuff back into bag and was very astonished, horrified, and a little amused to find gold glitter all through my hand bag. I had no idea how baby boy had got a hold of the glitter, I thought I’d left it up high, but instead it was scattered through the bag, covering every crevice and corner.

What was a lot less amusing was when I was out in public the next day searching for something in my handbag and glitter was puffing through the air. I apologetically said to the nearby person who just got a sprinkle of glitter on them, “Sorry, the baby tipped glitter into my handbag.” The glittered stranger started chuckling and being very forgiving. At that point, J bomb decided to get full credit for the glitter incident, and confessed that it was in fact he that tipped it into the bag. Whilst it was funny for the random stranger to watch the drama unfold, I was less than amused to discover that this was the antics of a four year old who really ought to know better. His only reasoning for the glitter gag was that he was bored.

Maybe it’s time to take him on an excursion, maybe a wedding where he can throw a lot of glittery confetti will suffice.

Continue Reading

Doctor's Office

The doctor’s office is inevitably places where all mothers end up at one point or another during our mothering career. This morning was our turn! The boys doctor is fast becoming my doctor also, since my doctor, who has been seeing me since I was 8 works on the other side of town and is hard to get in to see. (That’s the problem of having friendly doctors, everyone wants to see them!) Luckily I discovered Dr. Nick who is much closer, which is always better when you have to cart sick kids down to the medical centre. He has lovely smile wrinkles, which gives me confidence that he ought to take it in good humour if one day one of my children ever vomitted on him. He’s also a Dad himself, so he tends to be a bit more understanding than the doctor down the hall who yelled at my two year old once for switching the light on and off repeatedly. (What do they expect to happen if they make the light switches low enough for a two year old to reach, I ask you?)

So this morning I booked appointments for the two boys and myself as we just haven’t been able to shake a lingering cold. As is often the case though, I booked the appointment two days ago when my sinus was giving me such an unrelenting almighty headache, probably not helped by the nocturnal activities of the boys refusal to sleep since they too were unwell.

Poor old Dr. Nick was running late, as is the doctorly custom, so was trying to rush the appointment, without being rude. He gave up trying to rush after seeing my list and was nice and patient listening to all my concerns. J bomb and I were declared that we would be better very soon, (Hurrah!) The baby had a nasty ear infection so has antibiotics (Boo.) I have a referral to another dr, although Dr. Nick warned me that this referral will probably assist Dr. E. to put a downpayment on a new luxury car. (Eeep!) The baby’s penis is fine, it’s not infected, (Phew) and my skanky toenail has been clipped and scraped (EEEEWWW!) and sent to the lab to be diagnosed. Imagine if that were your job, to analyse toenail clippings. (Gasp.)

So thanks Dr. Nick, see you next month for Trent’s needles.

Continue Reading