30 August 2013

Ouch - my eyes!

Facial Moisturiser (125ml)

It's been a pretty crappy couple of months in our house, healthwise. One weird thing began happening to me around six weeks ago. My eyes were sore. I started my job and I felt pretty rotten in a few different ways, but my eyes were just not right. It felt as though I was really, really tired, as though I hadn't washed my face and freshened my eyes up each morning. It was almost as if they were bruised. The soreness was also around my actual eye socket - if you gently press just below and above your eyes you feel your cheek and browbones. This is where I was sore. It was beginning to affect my days and my work. I felt desperately tired and sore each day.

I started thinking about what could be causing this perpetual soreness. Did I need glasses? Was my new desk/computer/job affecting me? Then a little inkling of an idea formed. I was using up an older moisturiser - not an eye cream, but just a smaller bottle of a brand name facial moisturiser (which I won't name, but let's say their name implies that it should be a lovely, simple product). Was this my problem?

The next day I used Itay's moisturiser. My eyes were fine. During my weekly shop at my beloved bulk food/health shop this Sukin Facial Moisturiser jumped out at me. I'm a very low-cost beauty products girl so at $9.95 and a list of ingredients I understood, I bought it. My eyes were fine the next day, the day after that and in the weeks following. This Sukin moisturiser has quite a strong scent but with no added fragrance, the smell derives from the essential oils. I love it!
I'm now going to try a few other Sukin products. I've also gone back to using Rosehip oil at night, which is just so soothing and lovely. My skin feels smooth each morning. I have very oily skin, so using the Rosehip oil over summer will be a test.

I should mention that I wasn’t putting the other moisturiser on or close to my eyes, just on my t-zone. It was just wrong for me in so many ways.
What products do you use on your face? Have you had any strange reactions?

29 August 2013

The go-kart

Recently, O became obsessed with go-karts. Obsessed, as in, his Aba needed to make one for him. Aba, when are you going to make my go-kart?
First, we needed to buy O a new helmet. The one we had for him was a hand-me-down and was far too big. Turns out that he needs an extra small kids size and they are reasonably hard to find in shops. They're also expensive! We found one here, as recommended by the guy we stopped on a beach path one day. His daughter was tiny and her helmet looked like it fit - so we asked him about it! O chose the green one, of course and it soon arrived. We probably need some knee and elbow pads - but the helmet was desperately needed before the go-kart could be made!
Next... making a go-kart. I have to admit, Itay and I are not the greatest DIY people. At all. But Itay took on the project, researched it, swore a fair bit, went to Bunnings to fix a few issue and he did it. O was so happy and both kids just love their new, old-fashioned go-kart!
Itay needs to make a couple of size adjustments and O wants to paint it - red and green, with the number 4 on the back. But here it is, the family go-kart.

"This is awesome!" - in his words.

Waiting while his big sister has a turn.

Did you have a go-kart when you were a kid? We had a classic old metal one, yellow and red. It was called the Coggy Wog. Bloody brilliant name.

28 August 2013

Motherlode of mother guilt

Recently I've been noticing so many posts and articles about slowing down, living in the moment, being with your kids. That stuff shouldn't be hard, but it is.

We work hard in our house to be organised and to make good food for our family. This means we meal plan, shop and then make our food. We don't use bottled sauces, packets or really anything pre-made. We make our lunches the night before, we iron our clothes in one bulk lot. This stuff all takes time.

Does it come at a cost of not being with our kids? And how can I turn that switch off, to just be - and not just be thinking of the next task or the bill to pay or the washing to get in or the bath to run? I have not come even close to finding an answer to that question - how to just be with the kids.

Then I read something else that resonated with me. Maybe it's not all about the being present for every single moment, maybe it's about the memorable moments. The ones where Itay and I run and hide in M's bed with the light off, just to make them laugh. The moments when we lie on the edge of the pool and talk. The moments where I tell silly four line stories as I kiss them goodnight.
Maybe, hopefully those moments are enough.

24 August 2013

Our plan of attack - birthday parties

We're in a bit of a lull at the moment, but we often have around four birthday parties to attend each month. Parties involve a bit of logistics and negotiation, and a bit of planning.
  • Does the party clash with anything currently on the calendar?
  • Does the kid actually want to go to the party? There are actually times when M or O have said that they don't want to go.
  • Can we or should we take both kids?
  • Who will take the kid to the party? This is getting a little bit easier as M gets older, we've been able to drop her off for parties and a couple of sleepovers in the last 6-9 months.
Itay and I have a little system for who takes which kid where. I detest  play centres, they give me a headache and I just really do not like them. Itay takes these parties on, says hi to the parents and then puts his earphones in and listens to music! I generally take on the parties at people's homes and we split the park and non-play centre locations.
Of course, the very important present. Over the time my kids have been attending parties I've developed a pretty good system - I buy cards in bulk (I should really make my own, or get the kids to make them), almost always have at least two colours of wrapping paper on hand and I have a present stash. I love my present stash. It has saved me more than a few times. Basically, when I am out and see something I think either of my kids would enjoy and it's on sale, I get it. Or get two. Jewellery shop closing down - grab a few items. Wooden toys on sale at a market - yes please. Books on sale anywhere, I put them in my stash. When birthday parties happen, I go through my box of stuff and put together a cool little present. It's almost always made up of three to five items, rather than one larger present. Usually I have spent about $15 in total but the value is often quite a bit more - I'm a bargain buyer!

Items in my present stash right now - Lots of books. Tiny lockets. Big bead bracelets. Lip glosses. Origami paper kits. Sewing kits. Sweet notebooks. Hair clips. Hmm, reading over that current stash, I realise that it is well and truly stocked with girly paraphernalia. I actually enjoying stocking up the party stash!

Do you have a party stash? Or do you buy a gift before each celebration? Do you give one bigger gift or a few little ones? And how much do you spend?

22 August 2013

Sick Mum & Boy

Wow, what a quiet weekend we had... And yes, I know it is now Friday! O was sent home from kindy early on Thursday and thankfully my Mum came to the rescue, looking after him on Friday. Thursday night, I was also spiralling down in to I'm Very Unwell Town and had to go to work on Friday anyway - my fourth week of work and all. My boss kindly sent me home at about 3.30pm and I hit the bed very fast.

The weekend was a blur of sleep, feeling absolutely awful and trying to help Itay with the usual weekend stuff. Parenting to the best of my very, very limited ability. Thank you to Medcall, who do bulk billed home visits after hours. O and I both ended up taking antibiotics and by Sunday afternoon we were on our feet again. My throat was sore, so inflamed that I could hardly swallow water. At one point I was sneezing and crying actual tears because it hurt my throat so badly.

Although I was asleep much of the weekeend, it seems that quite a bit happened in the quiet of home. Itay made chocolates in the shape of animals with the kids. The kids took the leftover chocolate and mixed it with water and sand and played Masterchef outside. Funny little people.

Given that it now pretty much the following weekend... you could say being sick really knocked me around! Here's hoping for a better weekend!

17 August 2013

Writing your resume

In my job, I see hundred of resumes every week. Hundreds... I'm not an expert, but there are a few bits and pieces that stand out.
  • Put your name on your resume (yes, I cannot believe I'm saying this)
  • Put your phone number on your resume (and this!)
  • Use a sensible email address. "sexybunny69@" or "hitmeup@" are not appropriate. Just set up an email address for job applications only. Use your name, if possible, and using underscores or hyphens is fine, eg. joanne_smith@ if your name is laready taken.
  • Use the same font and font size all the way through your resume. Larger sized headings are fine.
  • List your achievements, not just your duties or responsibilities.
  • Give a short explanation of the company you worked for. Employers may not know that Sam's Finer Dining is the largest food venue in your small town and you seat 100 diners at a time, or that Smith & Sons is a prominent law firm specialising in family law.
  • Check your spelling and grammar. Have someone else read through it.
  • Ensure you have current, contactable referees. Touch base with your referees prior to a period of job searching and either ask their permission or let them know they may be contacted soon.
  • If you're calling about a job, make sure you have pen and paper prepared. Please don't say "I'll just get a pen"... it shows you're not prepared. Also, turn down the TV or music in the background.
  • Introduce yourself. Don't just say "I'm calling about the job".
  • It's OK to follow up on a job application.
These points just popped in to my head at work during the week, as I read the 95th resume and searched for the candidate's phone number.

9 August 2013

A day in my stomach

Here's what a week day looks like in my tummy.

1/3 cup rolled oats, cooked in water + LSA, chia seeds, cinnamon + milk
1 boiled egg
1 cup of green tea

1/3 cup fruit (usually a mix of strawberries, rockmelon, watermelon, cherries - depending on what is in season)
5 x rice crackers + hommous

Salad (wombok, red cabbage, rocket, corn, radish, snow peas) + sesame seeds + sunflower seeds, drizzled with olive oil + 3/4 cup of marinated, cooked, sliced lean meat (rump steak or chicken breast). I've added some tuna, cooked salmon, leftover cooked peas, soba noodles...

1/3 cup raw vegies (usually a mix of carrot, cucumber, snow peas, red cabbage)
10 raw cashews
Green tea

Very varied!

Now it's not all clean eating. While I do drink water through the day, it's never enough. I usually drink one small 200ml can of Coke Zero a day. I almost always get hungry and/or cravings in the afternoon so I have had a packet of chips, chocolate covered goji berries (which hurt me, so much sugar, I feel awful after I eat these), beef jerky (but I can't find any without loads of preservatives in the, one brand has MSG also). After dinner can be homemade popcorn, a handful of organic corn chips or a homemade dessert. And then alcohol. 1-2 standard drinks on 2-4 nights a week. I know they're standard because I drink mid-strength bourbon... in a can. Measured, so very standard!

Breakfast is usually boring old porridge and eggs. Recently we have been having shakshuka quite a bit. Tomatoes, capsicum, spices, eggs. Sometimes I make pancakes. Lunches are often out - we love sushi and Yum Cha. Snacks are hit and miss - crackers with cheese and ham, fruit, nuts, vegies, corn chips. Dinners are usually prawns one night and a dish which takes a while to cook (such as a stew, roast or new and complicated dish). I have green tea, water (never enough) and the odd Coke Zero. And a couple of drinks.

So the bones of my daily eating look lovely. The bits in between? Not so great.

What goes in your tummy?

5 August 2013

Holiday activities

As a school mum, and working full time, school holidays fill me with mixed emotions. Guilt, dread and panic. I'm not like other parents who blog about loving the end to routine, sleep ins, quality time with kids and planned daily adventures. Instead, I freak out about how we're going to care for the school kid, give the little guy a break too, using our annual leave frugally and wisely yet still having that good old quality time with the kids. Between Itay and I, we have 8 weeks annual leave. M has 12 weeks of school holidays. Those numbers there send me in to a little quiet panic.
Anyhow, I wrote a list of holiday activities before the summer holidays last year on a scrap of paper. When cleaning up, I realised that yes, we had ticked off a few activities, but there are still loads to work on. Some are small, some require more planning and thought. They are also written with summer in mind, but I wanted to record it for myself regardless.
  • make coloured water, bubbles in tubs
  • painting on canvases
  • QLD museum
  • Tent in back yard
  • farmers market
  • make iceblocks
  • playdates
  • wash car
  • go to the pool
  • go to the library
  • sprinklers/pool at home
  • Visit the honey place
  • Visit the Crystal Castle
  • make soap
  • sewing cards
  • train ride
  • magnetic fishing
  • shrinky dinks
  • freeze stuff in big tub
  • potting mix play
  • buy umbrellas for fun smoothies
  • puffy paint - 1tbs SR flour, 1 tbs salt, water, colouring
  • cornmeal and oil - cloud dough
  • lunch with Aba at work
  • Visit the Broadwater Rockpools
  • fill tray with baking soda, drip vinegar/food colouring in
  • bleach pen on shirt
  • shaving cream and colour in bath
How do you juggle work and school holidays with minimal family support? What are your tried and tested holiday activities?

2 August 2013

Finding our place to play

Recently, we've spent quite a bit of time walking through other people's houses. Hoping to make their house, our house. For me, it's an awkward, uncomfortable, uplifting, hopeful and disheartening process all at the same time. I don't dislike this like journey, but I can't say I'm enjoying it either.
There is so much to consider. Good house, bad street. Good house, bad area. Bad house, good area. Lots of work to do, no work to do. Is it that good that we change schools? Is it that good that we compromise on other aspects of life?
We thought we had a clear direction but recently that focus has changed and now we are in limbo - yet again. Again. We're both tired of limbo land and I tell you what, I can hardly stand to look at that awful avocado green carpet we live with for another second. First world problems, I know.