It’s my daughter’s birthday!

September 28, 2009 at 11:35 am (My musings)

She’s nine years old today, happy birthday my darling!

Gosh, it’s going too fast. I still remember giving birth to her a month early, and her cute little inquisitive face, pursing her lips like a little princess. It’s hard to imagine how one day she can be this beautiful, tiny little newborn, and the next, a beautiful young girl, cruising through grade three with extremely high marks. She is so creative, imaginative, and so helpful and kind. She’s also got a kick arse sense of humour!

I look back at how quickly it’s all gone by, and I know the next few years will fly even faster, and before I know it, she’ll be a teen, with a whole new set of experiences! I just want to put a brick on her head, and make her stop growing for at least a day..

I also wish I would get better at making birthday cakes really quickly, and our bloody oven would just work! After running around after my 18 month old and my three year old (who was feeling sick today), it was only after dinner tonight that I got a chance to bake my darling a birthday cake! Eep.

I found a recipe for just a basic vanilla cake, and realised I’d chucked out all our cake tins! Argh. Maybe it’s time to stop being quite so ruthless when I declutter… So, I grabbed a pyrex oven bake dish, doubled the batter, shoved it quickly into the oven. After the oven turned off too many times, and I’d re-lit it (cursing under my breath so the little ones wouldn’t learn some new words they shouldn’t), I produced a very long, flat cake! Oh, for god’s sake!!

I was really starting to feel bad for my princess, having such a crappy cake. Then I remembered the cake I destoyed in 2007. It was a heart-shaped cake, and of course, I broke it in half getting it out of the pan. Yeah, I really don’t have much luck with cakes… I glued it back together with chocolate icing, then covered it all over with icing, then poured 100’s and 1000’s all over it. All the kids informed my daughter, ‘your mum makes the BEST cakes ever!’

So, just as I was about to throw a tantrum on the kitchen floor and scream about how much I suck at birthday cakes, I kept this chocolate heart cake in mind, and decided to just cheat my way through it. So I cut the long, flat, dry thing in half, quickly cooked a raspberry syrup on the stove top (this is why I am never without berries of every type in my freezer), poured the syrup in as a sandwich-type filling, quickly iced it, shoved some blueberries on top, then poured more syrup on top of that.

The verdict from the little ones?
‘Best cake ever!’

The moral? We may truly suck, but in the eyes of a child, we ROCK!

Here’s the cake:

I still think it looks bloody awful, but you can see my son in the background, gasping in awe. It did taste good, too.


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‘Shag bands’ – would you let your child wear one?

September 27, 2009 at 7:23 am (In the news)

Do you know what a ‘shag band’ is? Apparently, it’s a rubber bracelet that is available in different colours. They were popular in the 70’s and 80’s in high schools, and now are taking off in popularity once again, this time in primary schools.

(photo from Getty Images)

The ‘buzz’ with these bracelets, is that girls wear them, and if a boy breaks one, she is supposed to perform a favour for the boy, based on colour. To break an orange one would ‘win’ the snapper a kiss, yellow is a hug. Black supposedly means the girl is to have sex. You can read today’s article about it.

It discusses the concern that girls are being sexualised too early, and being taught that they are simply there for a male’s pleasure. I mostly feel the same way, but it also concerns me because this sort of talk completely cancels out a girl’s right to give consent, or the fact that hello, they are KIDS!

The whole thing sounds horrifying if you are a parent, more so if you have daughters. But, if you ask the wearers, it’s all a big joke. The general vibe is that most kids wouldn’t really do anything, and if asked to, would probably laugh it off. I am inclined to believe this. I remember when I was in school in the 80’s some girls wearing them, but never heard the ‘legend’ until my fiance told me years later.

So, if your daughter comes home wearing these, what do you do? Do you ban them? Or do you be ‘cool parent’, and allow yourself to believe it’s not really happening? Personally, whilst I feel they are probably (and hopefully!) harmless, knowing the myth behind it, I don’t believe I’d be comfortable with my girls wearing these and being spoken to in such a way. Maybe I’m a prude, but I just want my daughters to be treated with more respect than that. Thankfully my daughters haven’t had these things, and I hope it stays that way.

How do others feel? Would you laugh it off and let your kids wear it as harmless fun? Or would you take the hard line and ban them?

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Our petrochemical free ‘diet’.

September 24, 2009 at 2:57 pm (Around the home, Being thrifty)

Some who know me will know that my darling fiance has a deadly allergy to petroleum. We’re talking full blown anaphylaxis. One problem that adds to his condition is the fact that we live very close to a petrol station, in fact it was when we moved into this house that we discovered his allergy. We’ve always found that when he’s working, he doesn’t have a reaction, because he’s not getting overexposed to the petrol.

Our problem now, is that he is not working due to paint poisoning from his previous job, and as a a result has the added issue of having to deal with his allergy again. We never really put much thought into the petroleum based products we use around the house (which are shockingly in everything if you buy from the supermarket), since the answer originally was to simply send him off to work.

After one of his more recent hospital visits, a nurse mentioned the danger of petrochemicals in everyday products, which made us realise we were endangering him everyday! The morning I put him in an ambulance for his latest allergic reaction, I had put lip balm on and kissed him on the lips before going to bed. Talk about the kiss of death, huh?

Our first step obviously, since he is not well enough to return to work, is to move house. We plan to do this in a few month’s time, but in the meantime, I am on a mission to make our house petrochemical free. This seemed a very daunting task, at first. Googling turned up a few results here and there. I found a lot of high quality products at my local health food store. But really, spending twenty dollars on a litre bottle of conditioner for a family of five is really not going to cut it for us in the long run.

I’m hoping that my research on this is going to help other families who avoid petrochemicals due to allergies or personal choice. How can I help? By sharing high quality, yet frugal products tested by a family of people ranging from one year old, through to thirty-six years old!

The bonus I am finding with most of these products is that they often also happen to be friendly to the planet (we love this) and more often than not, not tested on animals.

I am still journeying with this, and haven’t yet replaced all items in our house, but every fortnight, I buy what I feel is the next most needed item on the list. I am curious as to why so many people without allergies avoid petrochemicals, and want to research this also. To be honest with you, I get this impression that they are considered ‘bad’ by some people, and am not 100% certain as to why this is. I have searched for information about this, and have not found a great deal of answers just yet. What I have found has been extremely vague. But, being the good little researcher I am, I fully intend to find out, and of course share my findings with you.

Now, without further ado, I will share the petrochemical products I am happy with thus far.

Grants Toothpaste A lovely, fresh toothpaste that is gentle enough for kids to use. I find it actually makes our teeth feel cleaner than your big-brand toothpastes. What I love the most, is that it can be found at the health food store, as well as Coles Supermarkets. It’s around $3.95, which is a great price. 

I have been extremely happy so far with the Natural Instinct range. Whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to say that all their products are budget friendly, most of their products are the cheapest petrochemical free goods I’ve found yet. Best of all, I can easily get them at the local Chemist Warehouse.

I’ve not yet tried everything in their range, as it is so extensive. What I have tried from this company are:

 Natural Instinct Hand Cream. This is a thick, rich lotion that smells so good, I find myself wanting to constantly sniff my hands! But really, when a company is so generous with the lavender essential oils (and we’re talking the good quality stuff), this is bound to happen. Very reasonably priced at $9.95 for 125ml.

Natural Instinct Baby Bath Wash. I actually meant to buy the Baby Shampoo, and accidently picked this one up. I even washed my three year old son’s gorgeous curls in it before I realised my mistake. (Amazingly, it did wonders!) This is another of their products where they haven’t held back on the lavender oil, and the result is three calm, happy kids at bedtime. At $7.95 for 250ml, this one will be a family staple.

Natural Instinct Dishwashing Liquid. Now, we get to the boring stuff! That said, it’s one of the more important products for my fiance, as he eats off our plates, and any trace of petrochemicals there could mean contact with his airways, which equals deadly, nasty reaction. This has a lemon scent (and I don’t mean synthetic lemon like you’d find in a big name product, I’m talking, slice a fresh lemon open). It does a fantastic job on the dishes, which is great, because I must admit I was worried for some reason that not buying a mainstream brand would mean crappy substitute. Not so! It’s $7.95 for a litre, so whilst it’s not as thrifty as it’s petrochemical-laden counterparts, it’s a good price in comparison to other petro-free dishwashing liquids I’ve looked at.

Natural Instinct Laundry Powder. I have only just bought this a few days ago, and have not used it yet. But I must say, it is the most beautiful smelling washing powder I have ever come across! Again it features that great, ‘real deal’ lavender and other yummy smelling essential oils (I cannot remember now what they were). It cost $9.95 for a kg, but I was spending that on Aware anyway, and wasn’t very happy with it. It comes in a little plastic bucket, and I intend to recycle those in my studio, and with the kids. I really hope it’ll do a great job, because I’m hooked on the scent!

That covers the products I’ve used so far in the Natural Instincts range, so I’ll move on to the next lot of goodies.

Natural Alternative Shower Gel. This is a delicious smelling body wash! It’s pretty much like cracking open a grapefruit and washing yourself with it. Less messy, of course… It’s $11.95 for a litre, and while that isn’t what I would have spent on soaps or body wash in the past, it’s the best value petro-free one I have found yet. Of course, the search is on to see what else is out there!

My next two finds will be considered good value whether you still use petrochemical products or not!

Enya Aloe Vera Cream.
Another product found at Chemist Warehouse, you get a litre for under $4! It’s a great all rounder type body lotion. It’s not the most luxurious I’ve ever used, and is very light, but I have found it really takes the itch out of my eczema. It leaves my skin feeling and looking pretty nice, too. Now, because I’m blogging these products for you, and tracking down the websites, I’ve just visited Enya’s website for the first time as I write this, and have discovered they also do a body wash! Now, if their body wash is as cheap as their lotion, I will have found something even better than the dearer shower gel I’m currently using!

Healthy Care All Natural Paw Paw Balm How many mums have you heard over the years sing the praises of a leading brand of paw paw balm for curing nappy rash? Did you know that a lot of these balms contain petrochemicals? Not this one! This set me back a whopping $3 for 30g. My 18 month old baby girl has had a nasty rash lately, as we discovered her reacting to certain foods (which we’ve cut out once we realised). This nifty little balm gives her so much relief, and is really clearing her rash up beautifully. In fact, my 8 year old daughter had a bite on her hand last night which rashed up rapidly. We applied a small amount of this balm to it, it took the itch away, and she woke up rash free. We’ve only had this in the house a few days, and it’s quickly turned into a must-have. I also found this at Chemist Warehouse.

I am currently using Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm, which is actually better than Chapstick, Blistex, or whatever it was that put my wonderful man in hospital with just one kiss from me. This really seems to nourish my lips and heal them at the same time. It tastes great, too!

I have one more brand I’d like to share with you. My good friend’s store, Mimsical Soaps. This lady is passionate about quality ingredients, and was openly expressing her disgust in nasty chemicals (especially petrochemicals) long before we put this house on a petrochemical free ‘diet’! She sources the highest quality, natural ingredients. She can (and will!) sit down and tell you every single thing about just about any ingredient you could imagine (plus all the ones you’ve never heard of), whether they are natural, or a synthetic ‘nasty’ as she likes to call them. She is well versed in responsible use of all ingredients, as well, which is important, as there are many work at home businesses producing similar products without really being aware of certain mistakes they are making with their ingredients.

Mimsical Soaps produces high quality, soaps that not only smell divine, but also are gentle on the skin and leave you feeling like you’ve had a day at the spa! You certainly haven’t lived until you’ve slathered yourself in her body butters, either! If you have stretch marks from pregnancy, or just love body butters, you would be hard pressed to find anything better than this. Another great thing about her products, is that a little goes a long, long way. One soap can last a very long time, but the scent will be just as good right down to the last sliver.

One of my favourite soaps she makes is her Coco Baby soap. This can wash both baby’s body and hair! I have washed my three year old son’s beautiful curls in this stuff, and his hair was extremely well nourished and shiny afterward! I was impressed, as I previously would not have believed any soap could look after fragile curls so effectively. You can see below the excellent effect it has on his hair:

The quality on the second photo isn’t great I know, but these were taken on my phone. I’ve actually promised myself that from now on, I shall use my good camera!

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