Saturday, 24 December 2016

December Fly on the Wall

Hello again my lovelies, it is that time yet again, we're up to the last Fly on the Wall for the year!

Fly on the Wall
This month 8 hardy bloggers are  participating, all sharing the funny and crazy things you would see if you were a fly on their wall. Be sure to visit them all and enjoy the show.

Menopausal Mother                       
Spatulas on Parade                                             
Never Ever Give Up Hope                                     
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                           
Southern Belle Charm                   
A Little Piece of Peace  
Go Mama O     

Kim: I can't wait to be able to get dressed without it being a song and dance.
Me: Then stop singing and dancing while you get dressed.
My dad works for a local car yard, picking up cars they purchase from private sellers and other car yards. One day he had to pick up a hearse someone had purchased and bring it back to the yard. He stopped in to visit Sam and I while we were working.
Dad: Did you see what I drove here in?
Me: What on earth are you doing with that thing? People are going to think someone has died here. Oooh I know what you need to do, you and Sam have to run out of the house screaming, and I'll follow you out doing a zombie shuffle.
Kim bought noise cancelling headphones, and proceeded to test them out while yelling really loudly because of course she couldn't hear her own voice.
Kim: These are great.
Me: No one cares triangle lady. What are you listening to?
I then realised that of course she couldn't hear me.
Me: I fart on your pillow while you're at work.
Kim realises I'm talking to her
Kim: What?
Me: Nothing. How are you enjoying your pinkeye?
Me: Other people sing in the toilet, my daughter beatboxes.
I was working with my big sister Sam one day, and she'd had a rough night's sleep the night before, so she kept falling asleep at her desk. I kept waking her up and trying to have a conversation with her, but things never went as planned.
Me: Sam! Wake up.
Sam: I'll have a super mega shake
Me: What? 
Sam: Sorry, I was dreaming I was ordering from McDonalds.
Me: I've never heard of a super mega shake before
Sam: Yeah, it was a new item on the menu. I was really looking forward to trying it too.
Later on that same day Sam had fallen asleep again and I woke her up again
Sam: Where is my computer screen?
Me: What?
Sam: I'm meant to have two screens, where has the other one gone?
Me: Sam, your laptop is closed.
My little sister Natalie visited a chiropractor this month because she's had ongoing issues with her back since she was a child. Her stories of this visit made me incredibly thankful I've never had to visit one.
Nat: So apparently my eyes were stopping me from being able to use the muscles in my hands.
Me: What?
Nat: Yeah, but she fixed it for me by electrocuting my eye?
Me: What?
Nat: Well it wasn't a real electric shock, it was this weird pulsing thingy. When she figured out what was going on she said "I love this part because it makes me look really smart". She showed me how it worked by pulsing me on my thumb, then she got this really creepy voice and said "And now I'm going to do that to your eye"
I called Nat after her second appointment to see how she went
Me: So did the chiropractor cattle prod your eyeball this time?
Nat: No, but she did it to my bottom.
Me: That means she owns you forever now I think.
Miss K was mucking about on the piano one night, just hitting random keys to make a song.
Mum: What is that song about?
Miss K: It's called scary nights.
Mum: Gary Nice?
Me: She said scary nights mum.
Kim and I were having an argument after she told Miss K that eating ice cream in hot weather would make her sick.
Me: Don't lie to her, she won't get sick if she eats ice cream now
Kim: Well I get sick when I eat ice cream in the hot weather so I just assumed everyone did.
Me: No one ever does anything like you do, you're a genetic reject, have you not realised that yet?
Kim: I think my feelings are hurt right now.
Me: Well get back to me when you're certain
Kim: Dammit I can't even stay mad at you now you bitch, that was too funny.
Kim was picking up some shopping for me
Kim: How many do you want?
I had a mouthful of coffee, so I just held up two fingers
Kim: Trois, ok can do.
Me: I want two. Trois means three you idiot. 
Kim: Un, deux, trois...was just making sure.
Motivational words for my little brother who finally got his learners permit

Well that's all from this crazy corner of the world, I will be back with this series in the new year, with hopefully lots more crazy to share.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Product review - My Baby Gifts

I know that Christmas is nearly upon us, we are madly counting down the days in this house and the anticipation is almost killing Miss K. But today I want to talk to you about a gift that is perfect for any time of year, and that is baby gifts.

I was contacted recently by the website My Baby Gifts about their range of gifts for new babies, and they kindly offered to send me two of their gift boxes to check out. I am always a sucker for baby stuff, and Miss K seems to be following in my footsteps, because neither of us can go to our local shopping centre without spending at least a few minutes cooing over the teeny tiny baby clothes they have there.

So My Baby Gifts sent over their Spring Baby Girl Hamper as well as their Jamie Pink Nappy Cake and you should have heard the squeals coming from everyone in this house when they finally arrived. I was so excited to get to play with baby clothes again and my ovaries may have exploded at the sight of these beautifully packaged gifts.

The Spring Baby Girl Hamper comes in a beautiful white box, complete with magnet close and a beautiful white bow. Opening this one felt like Christmas had come early at our house. Inside was the most delicate gift set including two bodysuits, one short sleeve and one long sleeve, three sets of baby socks, a bib and a wrap. All of the items except the socks were a sweet pink and white stripe, with a white bow appliqued on the front, perfect for making sure your little one is the best dressed baby in town.

The Jamie Pink Nappy Cake came with a beautiful pink teddy bear, three face washers and three pairs of socks all wrapped up in newborn nappies and kept together with a beautiful muslin wrap. Having attempted to make a nappy cake myself when my  youngest nephew was born, I know how much skill it takes to make one of these look good (spoiler alert, I don't have that skill) so I was super impressed at how sturdy this nappy cake was, as well as how beautiful it was. It is the perfect practical gift for a new parent, but it was presented in such a beautiful way, it would be a truly memorable gift.

My Baby Gifts have gifts from as little as $10 so there is something for every budget. They even have personalised gifts available, as well as gift cards for that hard to buy for person. I may have spent over an hour browsing their website after I received these products, oohing and aahing over everything they sell and secretly wishing my little sisters would hurry up and start popping out babies so I had an excuse to buy something from this website,

So whether it be for baby's first Christmas, or for an expectant mum preparing to pop soon and needs some pampering, check out My Baby Gifts today and be amazed at their incredible range of baby gifts and hampers.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Book Review - Mum's the Word

I've never been a big fan on books giving out advice on parenting. I've always felt that instinct is a better guide than a book written by some stranger who has never met you or your child but still feels qualified to tell you how to do your job. Books written by parents on their own experiences however are always a firm favourite of mine. Which is why I was ecstatic to have been contacted by two Victorian mums and asked to review their book.

Mums the Word is an essay based book written by two best friends about the ups and downs of parenting. From struggling to conceive all the way to the teen years no stone is left unturned in this book of tales from within the trenches of parenting.

I devoured this book in one sitting, forgoing sleep in order to continue prying into the lives of these two women as they struggled with the same things I have struggled with, and some things that I am yet to face. They shared their triumphs, their embarrassments, their horror stories and the things that in hindsight may not have been such a good idea.

Each of the chapters were fairly short and to the point, one of the reasons this book was so easy to get through in one day, as once I was were at the end of one chapter, I was all fired up and wanting more of their heart warming, often funny stories. This book gave a perspective that can only be had with experiencing the joys and hard work that is parenting. It was honest and charming from beginning to end and I finished the book feeling like I knew these women well.

The thing I found most amazing was the things about childhood that seem to be universal. Some of the stories these women told could have been ripped out of the pages of my own childhood, the games their children played, the fights for the front seat in the car, the sibling wars and the stress that is family holidays, all of which stay the same from one generation to the next. This gave me a sense of comfort, as I now know there is so much of my own daughter's childhood that I will understand, as it will be the same as what mine was, what these children's were, and what most children go through. I also loved the times I found myself nodding along with these women and saying "Me too" or more often "Thank God I'm not the only one who has done that"

I cannot recommend Mum's the Word enough. It is the perfect gift for any parent, or you can buy it for yourself so you can remind yourself you're never alone in your job as a parent, and despite how hard it seems in the now, it all works out in the end, and all too soon as well.

If you would like to purchase Mum's the Word, you can find it here as an e-book for any tech savvy readers out there, or to purchase a hard copy, all you need to do is email

 I received a free copy of this book in return for this review. All opinions given here are my own and have in no way been influenced by anyone.

Friday, 25 November 2016

10 easy cleaning jobs that your kids would enjoy

Hello again my lovelies, I have a guest on the blog today discussing getting your kids involved in housekeeping, so please make her feel welcome.

Grace is from London, she writes articles related to cleaning, home improvements and parenting.

10 easy cleaning jobs that your kids would enjoy

Kids are better known with their messiness rather than being neat or having cleaning habits. But it is not hard to think of ways which can make cleaning joy and fun. You just need to choose a job which will be easy for your kids. Nobody wants to do something that looks like mission impossible. And it is very important to think of a reward after all the efforts they’ve put in doing the tasks given. It is also necessary for your kids to know that however easy the job is, it is important. This will make them feel of great value. And at last but not least – don’t just give your children to-do list. Do the work with them. Make them feel like they are actually helping you, not doing your chore.

Now it is time to give you some ideas for easy cleaning jobs that your kids would enjoy:

 1. Emptying trash. The most elementary thing and at the same time essential for a clean house. You can teach your children how to divide the trash into different categories – glass, paper, organic, so you can reach two goals with one thing – to keep the house clean and to think green.

2. Vacuuming. Fast and easy. May be the most preferable cleaning job in the house, especially if your children have big imagination.

 3. Dusting. The only thing which may be difficult in this job is if you have a lot of souvenirs or something else which needs to be moved out and then moved back. It makes the whole work boring and there is a great chance something to be broken. So cleaning services nw7 advises you to keep an eye on your kids while they are doing this task.

 4. Mopping. Doing something with water and soap balloons is always interesting for children. And when it includes wet and slippery floor it could become great entertainment. In this situation it is also possible somebody to get hurt so be careful with this duty.

5. Doing laundry. The best thing in this job is that there is no age limit. The only thing kids need to be capable of is passing things. What’s more, you can teach your kids the different colours if they are at early age.

 6. Folding. It comes as the next logical step after doing the laundry. If folding clothes is still difficult for your children, they can fold only the towels.

7. Wiping the kitchen table. Show your children that it is easy to keep the table and the floor around it clean if they wipe the table after every meal. After that they may do number 8 in this list.

 8. Washing the dishes. Of course not if they are very dirty, greasy, or it is something big like pots for example. At the beginning kids may start with cups, glasses and things that are easy to be washed.

 9. Washing the car together. Don’t expect from them to do a lot in this task, but it will be great fun in the hot summer days.

 10. Keeping their room tidy. Yes, it is possible, however hard. It is a matter of habit. It just takes time, sometimes very long time, of repeatedly and constantly reminding that it will be easier for them to find things they need if they are always at the same place.

I hope you’ve liked, if not all, at least some of the ideas. To make everything look more enjoyable, you can do it like family tradition. Make cleaning and maintenance duties something the whole family is involved in. 

Monday, 21 November 2016

Product Review - Strider Balance Bike

Here in Australia summer is just around the corner, and along with it comes the perfect weather for bike riding. I just recently upgraded Miss K's bike, and now she and her cousin Lexi love tearing around the footpaths on their bikes. The last time I took the girls outside to ride together my poor nephew Jacob had to be left out as he's only 2, so he's too little for the bikes I have here, and until recently he's been too little for his own bike. So when Velogear contacted me offering one of their Strider balance bikes for review I jumped at the chance.

Balance bikes are similar to ordinary two-wheeled bikes however they have no pedals, and they are designed to help train children to balance on a bike, hopefully eliminating the need for training wheels when children get to the point that they are ready for a pedal powered bike. By getting used to having to use your upper body to keep a bike upright from the beginning, and learning the way normal bikes move when not stabilised by training wheels early on in life, you can bypass a lot of the fear and frustration a lot of kids feel when they are learning to ride unassisted. Balance bikes are also a lot lighter and less unwieldy as traditional tricycles or two-wheeled bikes with training wheels attached.

Strider brand balance bikes are particularly good because they are so lightweight and generally simple to assemble. The clamp I received for the handlebars was a bit tight, and my brother ended up having to pry it open to get it to fit on the bike, but I had a look online, and no one else had that complaint, so I'm going to put that one down to a manufacturing issue. In the end we got it on the bike and it held the handlebars tight so all's well.

The bike even comes partially assembled, making your first job of putting it together even easier.

All that was left to do once the bike was assembled was let Jakey take it for a test ride. Because Jacob is naturally fearless, I knew he'd take to this bike like a duck to water, and I was right. He couldn't wait to hop on and start hooning around like his big cousins. Jacob got the feel for pushing himself around with his feet fairly quickly, and as he gets more confident he'll figure out how to get some momentum going and lift his feet up for a real rush. The bike even comes with grips on the foot rests to give some friction and reduce the risk of little feet slipping off the smooth metal.

We noticed at first that the steering was a little tight, but some quick research showed that this was an intentional design feature, included to keep the steering a little bit more controlled while children are still learning how to manoeuvre the bike. With use the steering column does loosen up, so the more confident the kids become, the more they will be able to control the way the bike steers.

We set the steering and seat height to the lowest settings at first, and they ended up being the perfect height for my very short nephew (Hopefully he'll be as tall as his dad when he grows up, but right now he's just a tiny tacker.) The Strider balance bike comes with EVC tyres that will never go flat, eliminating the need to do puncture repairs or continuously fill them with air. The 12" bike is suitable for kids aged 18 months to 5 years, and comes with an extra long pole to  raise the seat high enough to accommodate taller children.

The Strider balance bike is an excellent first bike for any child, so if any of you know a little one who is in need of a first set of wheels, check them out at Velogear today.

With Christmas right around the corner, now is the perfect time to check out the range of bikes and accessories available at Velogear. They offer free shipping on all orders with no minimum spend amount, and they have some of the cheapest prices in Australia. They ship to both Australia and New Zealand, so check them out today and see the amazing range they offer.

I received free products for the purpose of this review. All opinions given here are my own and have in no way been influenced by Strider or anyone else. Searching for Sanity is not affiliated with or Strider Sports International in any way.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

November Fly on the Wall

Welcome once again to Fly on the Wall. The series where a group of bloggers join together to share all of the crazy that happens to us on a monthly basis.

Fly on the Wall

This month there are six bloggers participating, be sure to visit them all, and share the love around.

Menopausal Mother                       
Go Mama O                                                                             
Spatulas on Parade                      
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                             
Southern Belle Charm                    

Me (reading) : What? butt pastel?
Kim: Ooh I love butt pasta.
Me: Oh wait, it says butt paste.
Kim: Well this is awkward, I just admitted I love butt pasta unnecessarily.

Mum: Oh look at this, it's a guest house for an elf, how cute. It's $53? Hell they can find their own bloody accommodation then.

Auto correct strikes again...

My big sister Sam was complaining to me about her newly minted teenage daughter's antics.
Me: I dread the day Miss K becomes a teenager because she'll be a wog teenager. It's going to be drama plus loud.

My sister in law Sam came over for a coffee earlier this week.
Sam: Lexi's end of year concert is coming up next month, if you wanted to come.
Me: Absolutely, we'll be there. (To Miss K) Lexi's school concert is in a few weeks, do you want to go watch?
Miss K: Yes please! I want to be a tree! (proceeds to do her best tree impression)
Me: Well luckily you don't need to wait until the concert to be a tree, you can be one whenever you like!

Nat: Did I tell you I talked in my sleep the other night?
Me: No, what happened?
Nat: So I sat up and said to Dave "Stop lying to Gotham City" so he asked "Why am I lying to the people of Gotham City?" and I said "Cos you're Batman." I remembered nothing of it the next morning when he asked me.

This seriously was easier than going directly to the birthday boy. Despite the fact it took over 2 hours to get my message to him.

Ok so this story actually happened back in August, but I only just heard about my dad's antics this month. When Tristan's dad died, my dad and Kimberley went down to Melbourne for the funeral, and Natalie and Kimberley got to experience my dad's most graceful moment to date.
Nat: When we got to the funeral the parking was full, and there were heaps of cop cars there for a different funeral at the home, so we had to park a while away from the funeral home. At the end of funeral we were walking back to the car, and we were on the footpath, and dad passed a comment asking why we were walking on the footpath when we could cut across the garden, and then he does this majestic prance across the garden. I've never seen him so graceful.

Nat and I were discussing her high school friends.
Nat: Ash stopped liking me when we started drinking together. She didn't like drunk Natalie.
Me: No one likes drunk Natalie, you're loud and obnoxious.
Nat: Dave likes drunk Natalie, he thinks she's fun.
Me: Dave thinks the sun shines out your butt, of course he likes drunk Natalie.

Any of my long time readers know that my baby sister Kimberley has had a slew of health issues over the past year. Well this month she ended up in hospital because her liver failed thanks to an accidental paracetamol overdose. thanks to the staff at our local hospital, by the time she came home she had a staph infection and a blood clot in her arm, and she was stuck with a PICC line in her arm so she can have constant antibiotic infusions for the foreseeable future. While it hasn't all been fun and games there were a few moments we could all find to laugh about.

Nat and I were texting 
Me: So is there any news about Kim yet?
Nat: She has a staff infection
At this point I had to call her.
Me: Ok, you do realise you just told me your sister has an infection of employees don't you? Staph is not spelt with a double f.
Nat: Well I'm just spelling it how Kimberley spelt it.
Me: Of course, why didn't I realise that?

Nat and her new partner Dave were going to visit Kim in hospital after she'd found out about the staph infection, and when he told his mum, her only advice was not to touch the walls. We all had a giggle about it at the time as Kim's infection was in her blood, so just being in a room with her was not dangerous. Nat must have told Kim about it, because she had to have a dig at him when she finally got out of hospital.

Kim: Oh mum it was the weirdest thing, Nat and Dave showed up while I was in hospital, and all of a sudden he just starts licking the walls. It was so strange.

Couldn't start setting unrealistic expectations once I'd admitted I'm this lazy.

We were trying to explain the concept of jealousy to Miss K and we each gave her examples of things we could be jealous of.

Eliza: I'm jealous of you Miss K because you don't have to wear a bra.
Me: I'm jealous of you because you play the piano so well.
Kim: I'm jealous of you because you get to go to kindergarten and play all day and I have to stay home.
Miss K: Mum, I'm jealous of you because everyone says Miss K, you're a d**khead.
Me: Ok first of all no one says that...
I couldn't continue to correct her on her sentence because all of us were on the floor in stitches. That girl is going to be the death of me. 

Well that's all from this crazy corner of the world, don't forget to visit the rest of the bloggers participating today, and also please let me know in the comments down below that my daughter isn't the only five year old with a mouth that would make a sailor blush. I'm beginning to think she is actually listening to everything I'm saying...

Monday, 24 October 2016

Timeline of a 2am spew fest

Scene: It is very early in the morning and you are lying in bed enjoying a peaceful sleep as you do every night. Next to you is the tiny figure of a child, who makes their way into your room every night for snuggles, but tonight is not like every other night as you are about to find out.

1:58am: You notice that the figure next to you is more restless than normal. This fact barely registers in your sleeping thoughts, but you do notice it through your dream.
2:00am: You are woken up by the first choking sounds of an impending spew by the body next to you. In your sleep addled state you have the presence of mind to throw the blankets off her before the spew-pocalypse begins. There is no time to do anything else after that.
2:01am: You turn on the light and see the huge task that awaits you. There is now a vomit covered child sitting on a vomit soaked mattress crying. You run to the kitchen to grab a bucket in case there is any more vomit to come, but you might as well not bother, the damage is done. You insult the small child by offering her the bucket as she no longer possesses the desire to throw up.
2:03am: You gingerly strip off the child and send her towards the bathroom to await cleaning. You figure that area is all tiles and lino so it will be easier to clean if her reassurances she doesn't feel sick anymore turn out to be all lies.
2:04am: You turn to your bed, which now resembles a scene from Dante's Inferno and begin stripping the bedclothes. You sigh as you add  this stain to the long list of pre-existing stains that your child has already kindly donated to your mattress.  The bedclothes are piled up outside the laundry along with the pyjamas.
2:06am: You grab some clean pyjamas and a towel for your child and head to the bathroom to break up the argument that has started between her and your mother, as she insists that YOU are the one who must now clean her up. You throw the clothes on the floor then remember that you forgot underpants. You dash to the bedroom, nearly breaking your next in the process on the mountain of toys on the floor that she insists is her shop. You run back to the bathroom where the argument has continued in your absence and confirm to your child that you are indeed going to be the one who cleans her up. Your mum heads off to make you a coffee. You are going to need it.
2:10am: You end up having to get into the shower with your crying child, because she has just remembered she is terrified of the shower and is refusing to enter alone. It doesn't matter that you already showered today, you're now going to have a record breaking two showers in one day.
2:16am: You have scrubbed your child from top to bottom and she is finally not crying, and no longer afraid of the shower. In fact she is now "swimming" on the shower floor and giggling, her recent stomach fireworks a distant memory. This is the point at which you realise you never grabbed a towel for yourself.
2:17am: You are now standing naked and dripping wet in your bathroom drying off your child. Both of you are shivering, but only one of you is covered by a towel and receiving a rigorous drying off. The other of you is a grown adult and has to suck it up. You quickly throw on your nightgown after a quick check to make sure you ducked the contents of her stomach earlier and curse as it sticks to your wet back. You get your child dressed quickly and send her to the lounge room where your mum has turned on the heater. There is a coffee waiting for you, but you want to complete your next task with an empty stomach.
2:24am: You have dragged all of the soiled bedding to the bathroom and commence rinsing everything off before you put them in the washing machine. This task comes complete with gagging and heaving, because of course, you are a sympathetic vomiter. This is why you needed an empty stomach. The mess compels you to ask your child exactly when they ate lettuce, because you know they hate lettuce, but you have evidence on your sheets that they have somehow consumed it today.
2:34am: Gasping for fresh air you march to the laundry with your newly rinsed pile of laundry and get it into the washing machine. You add a double scoop of laundry powder and some soaking agent with anti-bacterial stuff in it. You hope this is enough to convince your brain that these bed sheets are not horror tainted evil forever more so you can put them back on your bed tomorrow.
2:35am: Before you head to the lounge room you go back to your bedroom and throw open the window as wide as it will go. You hope this is enough to get rid of the smell.
2:36am: You finally get to sit down to a coffee. This is the point where you realise you have nowhere to sleep tonight, as your bed needs to be scrubbed down and blessed by a priest before you will lie in it again. You decide to grab the mattresses from your child's bed and the trundle bed you keep for sleepovers and drag them into the lounge room. But first, coffee.
2:50am: You watch your "sick" child dance around the lounge room with a seemingly endless source of energy. You wonder for about the millionth time since becoming a parent whether she is siphoning energy from you. It is at this point where you remember that her dad is meant to be taking her to the park tomorrow so you send him a quick message explaining that she is possibly unwell so tomorrow's excursion will need to be cancelled. You do not expect a reply because only an idiot would be awake at this time of the morning.
2:55am: You drag the mattresses into the lounge room and set your child up to sleep. You turn on the TV to get her to sit still. Your mum returns to bed, having kindly kept you company during the grossest parts, she is relieved of her duties and free to fall back into the kind of sound sleep only someone whose child has not just thrown up can have. You envy her that luxury.
3:05am: You turn off the lights and try to fall asleep to the sound of Dora the Explorer. This fails as you haven't seen this episode, so you can't resist the temptation to watch. This is why you watch the same movie every single night to go to sleep. You can't sleep through something new.
3:30am: You finally turn off the television. Neither of you are sleeping and you can't handle the excitement of Nick Jr. any more. You spend the next twenty minutes reminding your "sick" child that she is meant to be sleeping right now and stroking her back. Every time she makes a new noise you feel compelled to ask her how her stomach is feeling, just to hear her say it feels good and calm. This doesn't fill you with as much confidence as it should. You do not trust your child anymore.
4:00am: Your child is finally asleep. You think this would be your cue to sleep as well, however this is the point where you discover your daughter makes really loud noises with her mouth in her sleep. (Has she always done this?) Every new noise jolts you awake and you regret not putting a bucket on the ground next to her.
4:30am(ish): You finally fall asleep somehow, but it isn't a restful sleep. You are still paranoid there will be a repeat performance and you can feel the ground underneath the paper thin mattress you are lying on. You resign yourself to the fact that tomorrow is going to be a bad day.
6:00am: You are woken up by a bright eyed and bushy tailed child. She is feeling fabulous and wants food. You turn on the television to distract her and go back to sleep. Might as well catch some more sleep while you can.
9:00am: You are woken up by the telephone. Her father has been trying to get on to you for an hour now and wants to make sure everything is OK. You reassure him it appears to have been a one off event, but she needs to stay home today just to make sure. He informs you he is coming over today to see her, and you resign yourself to the fact that your sleep is over. Thank God for coffee.

End Scene

Saturday, 22 October 2016

October Fly on the Wall - A Walk Down Memory Lane

It is time once again for Fly on the Wall. In this series, a bunch of bloggers get together and show all of the madness you would witness were you a fly on the wall in their house. This month there are seven bloggers participating, be sure to click on all the links below to witness hilarity.

Fly on the Wall

This month seven bloggers are participating, so be sure to click on all the links below to see all the hilarity.

Baking In A Tornado            
Menopausal Mother             
Spatulas on Parade                                                              
Never Ever Give Up Hope                                     
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy             
A Little Piece of Peace                              

So this month has been pretty quiet for us, so this time I am doing something different. You see I've only been doing Fly on the Wall for about three years now, and there have been many hilarious moments that happened well before I joined this series that I haven't had a place to share elsewhere, so today's Fly on the Wall is actually a look back at some of the shenanigans that have happened before I started this blog.

I was walking past my dad one day with a bag of cotton wool in my hands.
Dad: Ooh marshmallows. Proceeds to take a ball of cotton wool and pop it into his mouth. That's not marshmallow.
Me: Yeah dad don't eat those, they won't taste too good.
Dad: Why didn't you say anything until after I put it in my mouth.
Me: I didn't think it would take you that long to realise it wasn't food.

Ben was living with me for a while back when I was about 24. One day we came home and found one of his cats had been hit by a car. I was given the task of collecting the remains off the road, so I scooped it up in a plastic bag and took the bag to Ben.
Me: Hey, you know what? You could totally make a puppet out of this.
Ben looked like he didn't know whether to laugh, cry or punch me. Luckily for me he chose to laugh.

*Now I'm not sure if this story is an overshare, but my family still love to tease me about my stupidity.*
When I was 20 I booked an appointment for my first pap smear. I was very nervous, and the doctor could tell, so she was just making small talk to try to distract me. For the record, she was looking at my medical records when this conversation happened, I just didn't realise that until after I had put my foot in my mouth.
Dr: So I see here that you smoke yes?
Me: You can tell that from a pap smear?

Nat and I were arguing about a line from the song Linger by Cranberries.
Me: I think it says do you have to pull my finger.
Nat: No, that's not what it says, it's something about linger.
Sam walks past both of us to the bathroom, then sticks her head back out of the door.
Sam: Let it linger Nat, let it linger.
Me: Did she just fart and tell you to let it linger?
Nat: I hope not.
Me: Oh wait, I think that's the lyric.

Nat: Now don't laugh at what I'm about to say OK?
Me: OK.
Nat: Breakfast cereal scares me...
Nat: You're not saying anything.
Me: I'm waiting for the rest of that sentence. It's really hard not to laugh at you right now you weirdo.

When Ben, Nat and Kim were still kids, they went to the pool together heaps one summer. Kim was always worried that Ben and Nat were going to do something to embarrass her. One day Ben decided it would be fun to scream "I'm the girl in the blue bikini's brother" as he did a belly flop into the pool, just to embarrass her. Unfortunately he hit the water before he could say the word brother, so he just ended up screaming "I'm the girl in the blue bikini!!" We still give him hell for this nearly ten years later.

Ok so today I am going to finish with a joke that Miss K told me this month.

Miss K: Knock, knock
Me: Who's there
Miss K: Banana
Me: Banana who?
Miss K: Knock, knock
Me: Who's there
Miss K: Banana
Me: Banana who?
Miss K: Knock, knock
Me: Who's there
Miss K: Banana
Me: Banana who?
Miss K: Knock, knock
Me: Who's there
Miss K: Orange
Me: Orange who?
Miss K: Orange you glad I'm not a banana in a fruit bowl?

Well that's all from this side of the world, be sure to visit the other bloggers participating this month and I shall be back with more madness soon.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Teaching Good Sportsmanship Like a Jerk

One of my biggest fears in life is that my daughter is not going to be a nice person when she's all grown up. I shudder at the thought of my sweet caring little girl being an absolute jerk to someone and not giving it a second thought. Of course there is nothing I have seen yet to indicate that this is going to be the case, and I take every opportunity to teach Miss K about being considerate and thoughtful, but human nature means we're all jerks sometimes. And I was a jerk this week.

A lot of Miss K's time these days is spent preparing for school next year. Kindergarten is teaching her the education side of things, and the social side of things, but it's still my job to teach her basically everything else. I assumed that teaching children to be good sports would be included in her learning at kindergarten, but either the opportunity has never come up before, or Miss K has never shown that she needs the lesson there. She's never really shown me before this week that she needed it either, but I found out this week that she is quite happy to gloat when she beats someone, and I wasn't ok with it.

Part of this problem will have come from me. I have always encouraged a healthy interest in competition in Miss K, as I feel it is necessary to get ahead in life. But because she is only five, I let her win a lot when we compete against each other. (Except when it comes to running, she beats me fair and square when we race, I'm just too chubby and lazy to really run.) So Miss K has a confidence that she can win with ease thanks to me. Now I know that confidence is key, but too much confidence leads to arrogance, and I don't want my child to be a fat head. So I've slowly started winning more and more, just to teach her that winning isn't always guaranteed, but that just makes the wins she does get bigger in her mind. And with her new victories came gloating.

Miss K and I were bored the other night so we decided to play a few board games for an hour before bedtime. We started with Kerplunk, which I've had in our games cupboard for years now, but we've never played so I was excited to introduce her to a game I loved as a child. (We even had a Star Trek version because my big sister is a giant nerd.) I won each game, but the longer we played, the harder I had to work for my victories, as Miss K got a feel for the strategy that is Kerplunk. This is where her sense of competition was good. She was happy to lose, but she learned from her losses and used that lesson to bridge the gap between us in each new round. Eventually we got bored with having to reset the game each time so we swapped to Hungry, Hungry Dinos (Yeah, yeah I know that's not the real game, but board games are expensive OK?) Now Miss K was in her element. She loves quick fire games and beat me hands down every single round. I wasn't letting her win either, these were real losses for me. I was impressed by her performance until she started calling my dinosaurs losers.

I was shocked by her attitude, I've never gloated around her as I find that behaviour really off putting.  I tried the Mike Brady method of lecturing her on the dinosaur's feelings. (Yet another in a long list of bizarre conversations I've had to have with my daughter.) I let her know that it isn't nice to point out that someone is a loser if they don't win a game, and using words like that can hurt someone's feelings. She agreed with me and I thought the matter was settled, but she went back to calling the dinosaurs losers straight away. So Mike Brady lost round one. I decided it was time to lead by example, and this is where I became a jerk.

It's like the old lesson we used to teach our children when they learn how to bite, if they bite us, we bite back. (Of course I don't condone biting your children, please don't bite the kids.) But if you want a kid to know how something feels, you let them experience it. So I swapped the game to one where the odds were stacked in my favour; We had thumb war. (Another throwback to my own childhood and the many thumb wars I had with my big sister where she usually beat me easily.) I won the round of course, and then I proceeded to do a victory dance (which may or may not have included a song calling Miss K a loser).

Yeah, yeah, I know, I was a huge meanie. I can only imagine how many of you are burning up with rage right now, but Miss K got the point straight away. She now knew how it felt to be called a loser, and she knew how horrible it felt. Now you may think I overreacted, she was insulting a plastic moulded toy that is unable to feel emotions or even hear her words, but that wasn't the point. One day she is going to play sports with other children who do have ears and feelings that can be easily hurt, and I don't want her to be the jerk gloating over winning a stupid game when it actually matters. I reiterated how words can hurt feelings, and we talked about the correct way to behave whether you win or lose, and we finished our match by telling each other "Good game".

So while I don't officially condone calling your kids losers, or gloating around them, or deliberately beating them at games, sometimes you have to be a jerk to prove a point. Hopefully my daughter now has a better sense of humility, and will be more gracious with her wins and her losses. Or one day I'll get a huge bill from a therapist for all the damage I'm doing as I stumble through being a parent. Only time will tell.

I would love to hear about any other parents out there who have had similar ethical dilemmas that they solved by being less than perfect. Hit me up in the comments down below and let me know how much you now pay for therapy per month. I get the feeling I'm going to need to start a savings account very soon.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The hidden effects of bulimia

I am going to admit something to you guys that I have only admitted to two of my immediate family members and no one else. I've kept this little secret to myself for two reasons; one because it doesn't look too good for me, and two because it looks like I'm trying to blame my problems on my baby sister.

If any of you read my piece on R U OK day for 2016 (you can find it here) you'll know that my little sister is currently living with my mum and I while she tries to recover from bulimia, PTSD, and now suspected Fibromyalgia. Her health problems and mental problems fill up her whole life, and as an extension they fill up our lives as we live with her. While I've always had an idea how hard bulimia was to overcome, I never suspected it could affect people not suffering from it quite like it does. That's the thing about mental disorders, they are insidious and sneaky and plague you in ways you never thought possible.

Which is why yesterday I had to Google the phrase "are eating disorders contagious". You see ever since Kimberley has come to live with us, I have developed a hatred for food. I hate the way it has become an obsession for my little sister, I hate how much of her day revolves around cooking and eating food, I hate that our kitchen is always full of dirty dishes because she got peckish yet again. At first I avoided cooking because it always meant having to wash a mountain of dishes just to get enough supplies to cook something for me. This really isn't a problem around here right now because Kimberley loves cooking, so she gladly picked up the slack that I dropped. Then I spent weeks listening to Kimberley talk about all the different restaurants she's been to, the meals she's cooked, the meals she wants to cook, the meals she managed to keep down, and the ones she didn't, and I got food fatigue. I was so tired of hearing about food, of talking about food, of watching someone be consumed by food that I began to hate the very fuel that is meant to keep my body going.

I stopped just avoiding cooking and began to start avoiding eating as well. Food held no joy for me anymore, and I lost my appetite almost entirely. I still managed to organise meals for Miss K, but I stopped eating with her. I would wait until she went to bed and eat a rice cake or a bag of Doritos instead of sitting down to a proper meal. Kimberley nagged me to eat more, and this just made me angry. How dare a person who can't even manage their own relationship with food lecture me on mine. This seemed to make my own issues magnify and when Miss K went for a holiday at her dad's house for a week I stopped caring for food entirely. I lived the entire week on yogurt for breakfast and rice cakes for dinner, with ice cream for dessert. It was a throwback to a time before I had Miss K when I would eat cereal for every meal and be happy doing so. I was almost happy when Miss K's dad told me she'd spent her last night at his house throwing up, because it meant I had to give her something very light for dinner her first night back, just in case she was still sick.

It slowly dawned on me that my behaviour was becoming problematic. I began to wonder why I had such an aversion to food now, when it used to be the only good thing in my life once upon a time. (That was in my late teens when emotional eating made me balloon out to a size 20.) I've never been one to diet, and while I've not always had the healthiest relationship with food, I've certainly become smarter about it ever since Miss K came along, and usually I try my hardest to eat a balanced diet. The thing is, I don't actually believe I have an eating disorder, what I have is a whole lot of anger. I am angry at food for the hold it has on my little sister. But I can't punish food for being such a toxic subject in my house, so like the true passive aggressive I am, I avoid it entirely. Is it healthy? No. Does it solve anything? Hell no.

There isn't a lot of attention paid online to the effects eating disorders have on the people surrounding the sufferer. It is always briefly acknowledged that yes, you will struggle as you try to help the person you love, and here are some of the things you may feel, however get over it princess because here is what you now need to do to help the person with an eating disorder. There is no article called "How to survive your sister's bulimia" which would really help me right now.

Now like I said at the beginning of this, the reason I haven't admitted this to anyone is because it sounds like I am blaming Kimberley for admitting she has a problem. Do I wish Kimberley hadn't reached out to us for help? No. Not at all. I'd rather have a sister who is alive and openly struggling than a sister who died because of a secret. As much as she bugs the hell out of me on a weekly basis, the alternative is far worse. What I really hope to achieve by sharing my dirty little secret with you is showing that helping someone get through something like this is bloody hard, and you will feel like shit sometimes. This is OK, and you can't feel guilty for having your own reactions to the situation you are living. There is help out there for families, you just won't find a lot of it on the internet. You will need to go to the professionals, and I am no different. For any one out there reading this who is currently hiding their own eating disorder, please understand that reaching out for help is the best thing you can do. The people you love would much rather help you bear your burdens and feel these feelings than be kept blissfully unaware and in the dark.

As for me, this is the part where I suck it up princess. It's not my job to fight with food, and doing so is counter-productive, so I need to stop taking my anger out on food and start dealing with my feelings like an adult. Realising what my problem was has helped, so it can only go up from here. (See? Adult!) Now if you'll excuse me Miss K has just informed me she is craving pumpkin rice and tortellini, so I have to go shopping and fill my pantry up with some real food. That is one of the downsides of her spending a whole week with Italians; her love of good cooking comes home with her.

If any of you have gone through, or are currently going through something similar, please drop me a comment down below, let me know how you're coping (or not coping as the case may be). I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Cooper's Memorial

How do you pay tribute to someone who died before you had a chance to meet them? How do  you sum up a life that was only 8 weeks in the making when it ended? How do you do all of this while you're still up to your eyeballs in grief? Luckily for me I didn't have to, because I had a sister to do the hard work for me.

For any of you who are new to this website, You'll probably want to read this post before going any further with today's story, as that gives you the back story you need to understand today.

It's been six months since my miscarriage, and because I haven't mentioned it in so long, it would be so easy to say I've done my grieving, I've moved on and everything is hunky dory, but that's not exactly the truth. The hardest thing I'm dealing with right now is the fact that Miss K still doesn't really understand what happened. She knows that Cooper isn't going to come to live with us anymore, but she thinks it's because he lives at the hospital. But whenever she brings him up I let her talk about him, I never want this to feel like a subject she can't talk about, or that it's something to avoid. She needs to be able to deal with it too.

There is still a small part of me that holds on to Cooper, especially with my original due date just over a month away. So I decided it was time to finally get his memorial framed and hung.

Appreciate the fact that my bed is made. This is not my room in its natural state.

The print is the one we originally bought for Cooper's nursery before I realised I'd had the miscarriage. The writing next to it is a poem Kimberley wrote for me the day we found out.

I still love that picture, and hot air balloons still hold a special meaning for me, so much so I'm actually considering getting a tattoo of one, when I eventually get around to getting Miss K's tattoo finished.

I couldn't get a decent picture of the poem so if you would like to read it, you can find it at the bottom of this post. Kimberley sent it to me the day of my first ultrasound, and despite the fact that she is the member of our family who can always be relied upon to say the most insane, inappropriate things at the worst possible times, she really managed to capture everything I wanted to say at the time, but was too numb to do. 

For our baby in the hot air balloon xxoo

A thousand stars appear in the sky
every night as time goes by
we'll make a wish and i'll think of you
and we will be comforted through and through
because we believe that you are there
and we'll feel your presence as we stop and stare
at the beauty that is in this world
including the beautiful boy or girl
that will be watching us all the time
and you'll know a love so pure and alive
because you were here and you were real
and there was a love that we could all feel
for you and the thought that we would meet
and we'd hold your hand and tickle your feet
but god acts in mysterious ways
and we will be confused for a million days
wishing that we could see your face
and time would stop and our hearts would race
but things have changed and we feel numb
and we will be lost in time to come
but there will be one day that we will meet
at the pearly gates in the cloudy street
and we will know that it is you
and our whole family will form a cue
to hold you tight and give you love
and share the prayers we sent to god above
to keep you safe and keep you warm
and protect you from every scary storm
your heart still beats within us all
and our love for you still grows big and tall
your mum is brave and your sister is strong
and we will comfort them all year long
our hearts feel heavy and we feel blue
but you are our family and we will always love you.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Product review - Sukin Baby Range

Hello again my lovelies, I am back today with another product review. I have been contacted by several skincare companies in the past requesting reviews, however most of the time I have to sadly turn them down because we have to be careful with what products we put on Miss K because she has sensitive skin. So I am very happy today to finally be able to discuss with you the new range of baby skincare products that have just been released by Sukin.

Sukin is an Australian owned and operated skincare company that has been around since 2007. I know I've seen their products in pharmacies over the years, but given my beauty regime has usually consisted of washing my face when I shower, I've never really given their products much thought. Things are different now that I have Miss K, and because she gets dermatitis and naturally has very dry skin, I have become very picky with what soaps and lotions we have in our house. So when Sukin contacted me asking whether I would do a review for them, I hit the internet straight away to do a bit of research. Straight off the bat they appeared to tick all the boxes a person could ask for, their products are as chemical free as you can get, their products are packaged in recyclable PET plastic bottles, they support being carbon neutral, as well as being 100% vegan safe and cruelty free. It almost seems too good to be true, so I decided to try them for myself and see how we went.

The baby range comes in fragrance free or soft fragrance and there is a shampoo, a body wash and a lotion available. I was given a bottle of fragrance free body wash, a bottle of soft fragrance lotion and a bottle of baby shampoo. The fragrance in the lotion is very mild indeed, but I could definitely tell it came from rose hip oil, which is one of my favourite scents. The shampoo doesn't come in the fragrance free range, but it also has a very mild scent, even though it isn't advertised as such on the packaging. This time the perfume was very citrus, which gave it a freshness I loved.

Miss K was so excited for bath time when the package arrived, and nagged me for three hours before I finally gave in and popped her in the bath. I won't bore you with the details of our bathing routine, but needless to say it includes lots of splashing, and I always end up leaving our bathroom absolutely drenched. There is a good reason I never wear my glasses while bathing my child. The body wash had a nice lather to it, and it did indeed clean the inch thick layer of grime off my child as a cleaning product should. Even though it is fragrance free Miss K smelled clean when she came out of the tub, and it was all done without any unnecessary chemicals so I was happy.

Now I will be honest with you, I was sceptical about how the baby shampoo would hold up to Miss K's hair. She has very long, very thick hair and I have always assumed that baby shampoo was really only good for very short, fine baby fuzz. But I was pleasantly surprised with how well it did its job, and Miss K's hair had a beautiful shine and a lovely smell when she was finished, so colour me pleased. The shine lasted for days too, so it wasn't just a trick of the lights in our living room either.

And finally the baby lotion. Given Miss K has very dry skin naturally I struggle to find any kind of lotions that do anything to improve the hydration in Miss K's skin. But the lotion in the Sukin baby range was able to soften Miss K's skin slightly after the first use. I am sure that with continued use we will be able to see even more improvement down the road, I think with skincare as with most other things it's an ongoing effort that sees the best results. But even with how much softer her skin was after the first use I was very impressed.

Sukin's tag line is "Skincare that doesn't cost the earth", and I believe they truly mean this. From the fact that they have managed to gain certification that they are cruelty free and vegan friendly to the affordable price tag they place on their products Sukin are committed to their goal of affordable, safe products. The fact that they look like a luxury range without costing a small fortune is an added bonus.

So consider me a convert to the Sukin range, I will definitely be swapping my own products over to them now that I know how wonderful they are. If you are wanting to try these products out for yourself, you can check them out at their website now. And don't think because this product is Australian owned and operated that I'm only speaking to my Aussie readers right now, Sukin is available in more than 10 countries globally including in the US, so you can check for availability near you on their stockists page.

I received free products for the purpose of this review.  All opinions given here are my own and have in no way been influenced by Sukin Organics or anyone else.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

September Fly on The Wall

Welcome yet again to another instalment of my favourite post I do every single month. Yes, it is time yet again for Fly on the Wall. For any of you here who are new to this, what happens is every month a bunch of us bloggers join up and share some of the crazy stuff that you would see were you a fly on the wall at our house.

Fly on the Wall
Today there are nine bloggers joining in the fun, so be sure to visit them all and keep the fun going.

Go Mama O                                           
Spatulas on Parade                                            
Never Ever Give Up Hope                        

Mum and I were watching telly one night
Mum: I think the person speaking is that woman, oh what's her name? Angela Mayo?
Me: Who?
Mum: No, wait, it's Maya Angelou.

Eliza goes to high school just across the road from our house, so sometimes she comes to visit us during her lunch time. One day she needed to escape a couple of mean girls so she came over and called her mum.
Sam: Are you having troubles with bitchy girls again?
Eliza: What? Itchy gills? I don't have itchy gills.

Kim: I was not paying attention this morning when I was getting ready for work, and I forgot to put my skirt on. It wasn't until I walked out the door that I noticed it was really cold. Then I looked down and realised I was standing in the front yard wearing just my work shirt and my stockings.
One day I went to pick Miss K up from kindergarten and the head teacher made us all wait before leaving so she could let us know the children witnessed one of their pet chickens eating a frog that day. She also informed us the children had stopped the teachers from interrupting the chicken's tasty meal. I was pretty sure Miss K wasn't too traumatised by this event since she insisted on playing the chicken chases the frog around our living room for the rest of the afternoon. 

The next week I found out from Miss K that the kindergarten's pet yabby Sam had passed away too. Upon checking the kindergarten's Facebook page I found pictures from the funeral they held that day.
Me: They had a funeral for a yabby at kindergarten today. I don't know how I feel about this. The kids even decorated his coffin.
Mum: I just want to know if they played rock lobster as they buried it.

Nat: I would love, just to mess with people, to spell my son's name George, but have it pronounced Henry. 
Me: I suppose it's better than naming your son cod-eye
Nat: It's not cod-eye, it's Codi.
Me: If you spell your son's name like that I will call him cod-eye and nothing else.

Kim: Erin how do you have your coffee?
Me: I like my coffee strong and sweet, just like me.
Kim: Ok If it's just like you I'll add a dash of autism to the water. 

Sam and Jason were discussing a local supermarket
Sam: I don't want to go back there. We bought our chompy up thing from there and it broke almost immediately.
Me: Chompy up thing? Are you talking about a mulcher?
Sam: Yeah. The chompy up thing. 

Miss K was lying on the couch one day making weird noises with her mouth.
Mum: Oh look, she's jukeboxing.
Me: I think the word you're looking for is beat boxing mum.

Kim: I lashed out this afternoon and bought a new jacket.
Me: You punched someone for a jacket?

Natalie got sent home from work with a sore back last week, but couldn't resist being a smarty pants when her boss was worried about her.
Boss: How are you going to drive home?
Natalie: holds her hands up like she is steering an invisible car. Like this.
Boss: If you are not careful I will pick you up and throw you back into the baby room.

Kim had a tiny fender bender a few weeks ago, there was no real damage to either car, so it was mentioned once and then I forgot about it entirely. I did however manage to scare the crap out of dad when he thought he'd let the cat out of the bag.
Dad: How bad is the damage to Kim's car
Me: I didn't know there was any damage to Kim's car. Did she have another accident?
Dad: No, I don't know what you're talking about. Weren't you leaving?
Me: Did someone side swipe her or did she run into them?
Dad: I think it was a combination of both.
Me: Oh wait, I remember now, it's ok, you've not told me anything I didn't already know.

Kim: Hey mum, what do you call it when you send smoke signals?
Mum: Um, sending smoke signals.

I had to do some shopping for mum, so I grabbed some money from her purse.
Me: Hey Miss K, I'm stealing granny's money. Don't tell her ok?
Miss K: Gran, mum is stealing your money.
Mum: What?!?
Miss K: (whispering) Don't tell.

Nat: Aargh, it's so bright...I'm just staring at my future.

Me: Miss K's dad has made all kinds of grand plans for Miss K's visit during the holidays. He's taking her to the zoo, and to that giant Ferris wheel.
Mum: Good grief, she'll be exhausted.
Me: Meanwhile, Miss K's requests for activities have been the park, the pool and the car wash.
Mum: That's my girl.
Me: If her dad just listened to her, he'd save himself a fortune on admission tickets.

Dad: How is Kimberley going now?
Me: She's doing ok.
Dad: And how are you coping living with her?
Me: I threw a shoe at her yesterday if that answers your question.
Dad: Why did you throw a shoe at her?
Me: Oh I said something that bugged her so she threw her shoe at me. So I waited until she came back and lobbed it at her as hard as I could. She ended the fight by throwing a banana at me. I wasn't going to waste a good banana on her.

Me: Why is Kim posting a picture of clothes racks and asking if you remember her game of hide and seek in them?
Mum: Oh when she was a kid she tried to hide in one and pulled it all down on top of herself instead.
Me: Of course she did.

Me: That's it, if I ever need to ride a bike during magpie season, I'm going to wear a huge afro over the top of it
Mum: Ok then.
Me: It's the helmet they hate, so if I cover it with a giant wig they'll leave me alone. Plus it's totally legal to wear a wig over your helmet.
Mum: In that case why just do it during magpie season? Do it for funsies.
Me: That's just what I'll do. All year round, afro helmet. 

Well that's all from me for this month, don't forget to keep the buzz going and visit the other bloggers participating today. 
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