Ear Worm

This wasn’t the post I set out to write today but during the course of writing that post, the song “I’ve Never Been to Me” by Charlene has come in to my head and won’t leave me alone.

I suppose I should be glad that it’s driven out “G’Day G’Day” by Slim Dusty.  For those of you who don’t reside in Australia, this is a classic Australian country song.  It was re-introduced to me by Bruce who has been learning it at school and likes to sing it (nay shout it out), at the top of his lungs while sitting on the loo.  As I’ve mentioned before that boy can occupy a toilet for a LONG time.

Are you ever tormented by ear worms and if so how do you get rid of them?


Easy Peasy Party Food Cooking

This month my baby turned 6.  6!  It was his turn for a party this year.  It’s fair to say that by mid July I was pretty much over party foods that involved cereal and puff pastry.

But you know, while I made most of the food myself, it wasn’t hard because I had two basic criteria – I had to be able to make most of it ahead of time; and it had to be simple to make.

Bruce’s party was on Saturday at 10:30 – I had a plan of attack.


Made the Mars Bar Slice.  Nothing easier than this microwave version.  I doubled the quantities as we were expecting 20 kids (plus parents).  We came home with 6 or so squares left over.  It kept in the fridge really really well.


I work a half day on a Thursday.

I made the Honey Joys/Honey Crackles before I went to work – they are that simple. The recipe came from the side of the Cornflakes packet and Kelloggs have it on their website too.

After work I made the sausage rolls based on this recipe I found on Taste.com.au  – I did make a change to this one.  I don’t like sausage mince much so instead of the meat they suggested I used 500g pork mince and 500g veal mince.  It made around 36 which seemed to be more than enough.

After dinner on Thursday I made the pizza scrolls.  Again – too simple.  5 sheets of puff pastry, defrosted.  Spread a tablespoon of pizza tomato paste on each.  Scatter with chopped up ham, grated cheese and crushed (drained) pineapple.  Roll up tightly, cut each roll into 8 slices, arrange on a tray lined with baking paper and cook in a hot oven for about 15 – 20 minutes.


After work I did the cake.  IGA make big slabs of vanilla sponge cake.  I bought one of these and chopped it in to a monkey shape and then decorated it.  A few problems – I should have left the coco-pop “fur” until the morning (they were all soggy) and I ran out of icing to properly cover all of him and ensure they stuck.  He looked a bit like a moth eaten toy monkey but Bruce didn’t mind.

For the parents to snack on while the kids were playing (we went to Jungle Gym in Willetton) I had tea & coffee supplies, a packet of Tim Tams and a yummy, but basic, lemon loaf that I had made as part of a big batch of loaves a few weeks before and frozen.  The night before I pulled it out of the freezer, iced it and chopped it into squares.  It was still delicious and moist.

Saturday morning only involved chopping up watermelon and strawberries for some fruit platters, packing the car and we were off.  He had a great party, celebrating his birthday with some wonderful friends.  Not a lot of food came home.  Perfect.

The birthday boy moving so fast, the camera could barely catch him

Things I Know about Boys – Chalk and Cheese

I have two boys, Squidge and Bruce.  I read Mrs Woog’s recent post – Genetically Non-Gifted which got me thinking about my own two boys and how different they are in personality.

By coincidence they were playing a ‘board’ game that day.  It was an A3 piece of paper with a game about recycling that Squidge brought home from school following an ‘incursion’*  by some people from the Henderson Waste Recovery Park.  Re-enforcing their message of re-use, they didn’t provide counters or a die with which to play the game – we recycled the bits from our Wiggles Snakes and Ladders game.

So Anthony and Murray were being pushed around the board.  At a stage in the game the boys had a choice.  Take the short – but risky – cut, or go the long – but safe – way round.

Bruce took the short cut.  It paid off for him first time and he won so he persisted.  Squidge, each and every time went the safe path.  Squidge won more than Bruce but that didn’t stop Bruce.

And that folks, in essence you have it – their personalities personified by a board game.

Are your kids chalk and cheese?


* one of my most HATED words is incursion.  Had the people who chose to use this word in this way bothered to look it up in a dictionary?  A hostile entrance into a territory.  I feel uneasy every time I’m asked for permission for a child to participate in an incursion.  Just what am I signing them up for?

Things I Know About Boys – Illnesses

This post should really be called Things I Know now that I’m a Parent as I’m sure that these equally apply to girls as to boys.

I have been surprised in lots of ways since becoming a parent.  Who knew that little baby boys could wee so much, so often and with such force as you change their nappy?

However, it would have to be ‘conditions’ that kids end up with that have been most surprising.  I remember as a child having mumps (should have listened when my Mum told me not to go and talk to my friend waiting in the car who had them), measles and chicken pox (that was a bad one – I went in to hospital with chicken pox).

Sure, my boys have had colds, flu, gastro (where DB has shown his true colours – didn’t ever have him pegged as a vomit catcher but he’s very good at it – doesn’t dry reach at all).  But it’s the other stuff that people don’t tell you about.

Squidge has been on the receiving end of a general anaesthetic 3 times, Bruce once. I’ve sat with them as they went under, struggling, jerking as if in a bad dream, and coming out of it crying or just hungry and grumpy.

It wasn’t until Bruce was born that I understood why when a baby, even only slightly premmie, has trouble breathing it’s not so much that they could die from a lack of oxygen. Instead the chances are greater that they’ll die of exhaustion as their little bodies work so hard to get sufficient oxygen.

Via Squidge I’ve come to learn not to trust asthma.  Sleeping in a chair next to his bed in the observation ward at our children’s hospital, he was ok and then suddenly he wasn’t and was being rushed to a resuscitation bay as a precaution.  I’ve learnt that a cocktail of ventolin, adrenaline, oxygen and steroids can pick them right up again and just about have them climbing the walls when all you want to do is cry and sleep.

I didn’t know about croup.  The first time Squidge barked when he coughed scared us to death and we rushed him to hospital.  We were taught croup first aid (sitting in a bathroom made steamy by the shower on hot and full) and as he kept getting it we were prescribed a steroid to give him at home.  I didn’t hesitate when I had to call 000 because he was just so much worse one time even after the steroid and I didn’t hesitate two more times after that.

I didn’t know about hand, foot and mouth.  When DB rang to tell me daycare had sent Squidge home with it I was speechless.  He’s not a sheep I thought.  And by then I was at the end of my tether having taken more sick leave in a few months back at work than I ever had in a few years of employment (and I only worked part-time).

Then there were school sores (impetigo) and streptococcal infections in places I didn’t even know you could get them (until I’d watched Everybody Loves Raymond I’d never heard of strep throat let alone strep other bits).

Throw in constant ear infections for Bruce in his first 18 months of life, debates with a GP about how many doses of antibiotics is too many for a baby not yet 12 months old (I still say 8 is too many) and the feeling that we alone are subsidising our pharmacist’s end of year Christmas function and this parenting lark has been a steep learning curve.

I’m sure there’s more to come.

Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Things I Know About Boys – Super Heroes

After a long absence due to lethargy, apathy and work on a page for our school P & C I’m back blogging.

During this period we, as a family, flaunted the M rating and went to see The Avengers.  We had seen Thor on video a few weeks before and decided that the Marvel series violence and adult themes were vastly different to those of DC’s The Green Lantern which fortunately DB and I had watched by ourselves.  No ominous black cloud creature that sucked the skeletons out of people in The Avengers.

We all thoroughly enjoyed it (and would like to fit in a second viewing).  Had we been watching it at home, Bruce, after having called out “Hulk Smash!” would have leapt over the lounge and taken on the persona of Hulk.  He did excitedly whisper “Hulk Smash!” and jiggled about in his seat as did Squidge.

On the way home we discussed which Avengers we would like to be.  DB’s decision will ultimately be determined by which of the male Avengers Black Widow ends up kissing (sigh).

The boys couldn’t quite decide and in the course of the 20 minute drive home changed their minds many times.  This led me to think about their obsession with super heroes.

My boys love being super heroes.  Squidge was obsessed with Superman, Spider Man, The Incredibles and the list goes on.  We had an old mattress that we would put in front of the lounge and he’d leap from the lounge on to the mattress.  Or we’d lean it up against the lounge and he’d scale it like it was the wall of a tall building.

Dash and Spider Man fighting baddies on the lounge

Bruce’s first costume was Superman but his favourite for years has been Spider Man.  For his 3rd birthday DB bought an adult Spider Man costume via Amazon and dressed up.  Bruce was convinced Spider Man had come to visit him on his birthday and was completely able to suspend his disbelief, even telling DB when he came back in to the room as Dad that Spider Man had just been.

Bruce, Spider Man and Squidge

He was also a big fan of Sportacus – what parent doesn’t love a hero that promotes healthy eating and exercise?  We welcomed that obsession with open arms.


Both of them have loved Iron Man, Batman, and characters that while not being Super Heroes were nevertheless heroic and cool.  Transformers, Harry Potter, Buzz, Woody or any of the Star Wars characters.  It doesn’t really matter – nor does it matter if they’ve never seen the movie/tv show/read about it.  They seem to learn about the characters as if by osmosis – they absorb popular culture happening around them and make it their own, invent story lines, costumes and weapons where they don’t have them ready-made.

We now brace ourselves for the next wave of ‘what’s in’ as far as super heroes are concerned.  What will be today’s obsession?  Bruce got a Spider Man book from the school book club today.  So that’s his – back to his origins.  Squidge got an Avengers chapter book.  Captain America watch out.

I’m noticing more and more Lego Super Hero models appearing on the shelves and expect that as birthdays and Christmas approach the nagging will start.  But I don’t blame them – they look pretty cool.  And who wouldn’t want that?  For our little family it’s a coming together of obsessions – super heroes AND Lego.

Faster than a speeding bullet!

Who do your little heroes and heroines dress up as?

Things I Know About Boys – Toilets

This is the first post in my series on Things I Know About Boys.

In Australia, the toilet is known as many things.  Dunny, loo, thunderbox to name but a few.  In our house it’s loo.

For some reason which completely defeats me, my youngest boy Bruce will hold on until the very last minute before tearing off yelling, “I’m just going to the loo!”.  Prior to that however, I have noticed the signs.  The inability to sit still, jigging around and clutching his shorts.

I say “Do you need to go to the toilet?”.

He says “No”.

<repeat this several times over the course of approximately 15 minutes with a few variations, such as “Are you sure you don’t need to go to the loo?”>

Eventually he will tear off down to the loo in a funny run, taking 2 little steps for each normal step as if that’s going to stop him from needing to go.

Once in there, the boys disappear for ages.  Squidge, oblivious to the odours, will sit, playing games using his hands for exploding ships, guns or Transformers and making sounds of explosions, gun fire, and people arguing.

Bruce on the other  hand is a more social creature and would appreciate visitors when he’s on the loo.  That’s why, I presume, he yells out to us from in there, starting conversations or asking questions that are so left field I wonder how they popped in to his brain.  At first I’m usually sucked in to it and I yell back answers until eventually I crack and call out “Stop yelling at me from the loo, finish, come out and then we can talk!”.  At the top of my lungs of course.

Loo conversations don’t seem to happen at any other time though.  They are unique.  A time when they get to just sit and think with no toys or distractions (we eschew the magazine in the toilet at our house).

Interestingly, both boys require almost a shoehorn to get them out of there which is frustrating when you’ve tried so long to get them to be in there in the first place.

Squidge has the bladder of a camel.  Perhaps, internally, he has a hump where he stores all the fluid.  He denies needing to go to the loo first thing in the morning and even now when we tell him firmly that he really must go he mutters “Why won’t you believe me?!”.  The reason why we don’t believe him comes when he does eventually empty that bladder.

In April 2009 we visited Perth Zoo and were really quite stunned when a rhino (see below – warning the image is rather graphic) reversed up to the viewing area and proceeded to do the longest wee known to man, or rhino, for that matter.  It went on for ages.  It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call it a torrent of wee (good on us for having the presence of mind to take a photo).

Weeing rhino, Perth Zoo

Squidge is the rhino of our family.  Especially first thing in the morning or immediately after school.  Once he’s been made to go of course.  Because we don’t believe him when he says he doesn’t need to go even after 10 hours sleep or a toilet-less day at school.

A much relieved rhino, Perth Zoo

So there you have it.  That’s what I know about boys and toilets.  At least what I can put down in a blog post anyway.  What about at your house?  And are girls in any way similar?

Things I Know About Boys – Introduction

I’ve decided to start a regular post on the topic of things I know about boys.

It’s possible that some of what I write might also be attributed to girls but I have little experience with girls.  Apart from me, the oestrogen levels in our house are only raised slightly by Bella the dog and John and Chickorita the chickens.

I find little girl things mystifying.  A couple of weeks ago, Bruce was invited to his girl friend’s party, at a fairy themed shop.  He had a wonderful time and could have cared less that he was in the gender minority (which I was delighted about).  I was however, thoroughly stunned by just how many things it is possible to cover in glitter.

Speaking of glitter, I once worked for a terrifying woman who always dressed to look like the mother of the bride.  She even had cream that she’d rub into her decolletage that was glittery.  It’s hard to concentrate on a meeting while being dazzled by a glittery cleavage.  And where do you go to from there when you dress like that every day?  How do you top it when you actually do get to be a mother of the bride and have to go to a wedding?  Perhaps some sort of glittery fascinator.

It may become evident that I’m not really a girly girl.  As a girl I had dolls for toys.  My dad made little wooden doll cots that rocked on a stand as a hobby.  Eventually I abandoned the dolls and the cot, and used the stand as part of a dog agility course for our poor suffering dog who was made to attempt all the activities I’d set out for her.

My brother is 14 years older than me.  When he was 21 he left home to travel around Australia.  I distinctly remember him sending me home gifts.  Like a stuffed water buffalo from Darwin (which I loved) and a rubber Yoda hand puppet that made my hand sweat and has engendered a love of Star Wars that stays with me today.  He was, to be fair, the first person to buy me a Barbie doll (it was a Sports Barbie).  So I did like girl things, I just wasn’t ‘overly exposed’ to them.

I remember having some Strawberry Shortcake lip gloss and thinking I was the bees knees.  But other than that makeup was a mystery.  Watching my mum get ready for work in the morning was an introduction, but her makeup bag was limited to foundation, pressed powder and lipstick.  Eyeliner?  Blush?  Nail polish – what’s that?

Over the years I’ve worked some stuff out for myself and as I’ve got older have become more conscious of these kinds of things and wear make-up most days, have bits of hair ripped out with hot wax but I still don’t quite get to doing my nails.  I wore fake french tipped nails once when I was Matron of Honour for a good friend.  I learnt some valuable lessons – it’s really easy to scratch your kids with long nails, and eye injuries when inserting and removing contact lenses are guaranteed.

In the posts to come,  I might make bold statements about boys that also apply equally to girls.  Please tell me if that’s the case.  It’s never too late to learn.

Images courtesy of RTP411 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net and kenfotos / FreeDigitalPhotos.net