Monday, April 30, 2012

Chores for kids, autumn edition

I am a very responsible and proactive mother.

I teach my babies to do chores.

 Especially the ones they are capable of.

 Like laundry (oh yeah!)

 And setting the table.

 But my favorite?

 My very favorite?

 (Remember, we live in Canberra, it's increasingly chilly.)

 It's having them get the chook eggs in the morning, and letting the ladies out to play.

 It's cold out there.

And it's an early-in-the-morning job. (I'm not at my best then.)

But the kids? LOVE IT.

 And all I need to do is help put on the baby's gumboots.

 Parenting win!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Night to Remember

We went out last night.

I put on my red dress, some slightly-too-sexy-for-my-personality stockings, and heels. I love my dress. It's got a huge bow on the side so I look like a Christmas present. Unfortunately that bow needs to be redone every time I wear the dress, so I end up spending 5 minutes on hair, 10 minutes on makeup, and a full 45 minutes trying to get the damn bow right. It's worth it though. I looked at least 200% better than normal. Huzzah!

So, gussied up to the nines, and with the children (similarly gussied) in tow, we headed out to a wine and cheese night. Being a breastfeeding enforced teetotaler I had firm plans to eat my ticket price in cheese.

The night was crisp and cold, the wine was flowing, and the guests were all stunning in their suits or cocktail dresses. We stood on the lawns under the stars and talked with good friends. The girls played in the dark, running, chasing and occasionally jumping off the stone terrace to the soft grass below. (Peanut was being a "dooper-hero".)

When the kids got hungry we headed into town to pick up takeaway, then rushed home into our tracksuit pants and had a lounge picnic in front of a Disney movie.

But although this was all very lovely, something was off kilter for me. The evening finally cemented for me that I am a homebody.

I love cooking our meals from scratch instead of buying takeaway. I like the variety and flavour of takeaway, but I don't think it is more convenient (it takes so long to get, I can rustle up something just as unhealthy in half the time) and the cost and the slightly ill feeling the next morning tend to outweigh the positives. It makes me feel wasteful and a wee bit sick. (But that might just be the laksa, it's kind of... spicy. If you know what I mean.)

And I like having family nights at home, where we all eat at the table and talk, then have some raucous family play (Hide and Seek! Running Races!) before the girls get bundled off to bed on time. And I love that Mr A and I can then spend quality time ourselves.

I guess realisations of this nature are just part of growing up (I've still got a way to go). But every so often I forget and start to whinge to poor Mr Accident about how he never takes me anywhere... So I wrote this post to remind myself: You like home, Mrs A!

In other news, Pansy the Puppy comes next weekend (squee!), the hens are laying an egg each a day (or maybe one is a superhen, I'm not sure), and commenter of the week is (drumroll please) **gartcott!!** for her poetry skills. Well done, gartcott!

Enjoy your Sunday, gentle reader, I will be Switching Off as usual. See you all Monday!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Trampoline

Peanut and Bug are having a bounce,
Leaping and crashing enormous amounts,
And as I sit listening, feet on the dog,
It occurs to me Peanut is being a frog,
And Bug is a rabbit, and bouncing around,
Is making a kind of a rabbitty sound,
Which because she is one and only just hatched
"Wabbit wabbit" is all of the sound I can catch.
Peanut says "ribbet" at the top of each hop,
And together they bounce, and bounce without stop.
With "wabbits" and "ribbets" they both sound the same,
Convinced they are playing the same exact game,
Both happy as rabbits and frogs in the sun,
My Peanut, who's three, and my Bug, only one.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I got lucky

I have survivors guilt. 

My very dear friend is having a shocking time with her husband. I won't go into details, but as of yesterday she is now all on her own with three sons - a four year old, a one year old and a newborn. Her nanny has left, her husband has left, and now it's just her. 

She's a fighter, and eventually she will be fine, but it's still exceptionally hard on her now. 

And, since this is obviously all about me and my issues, this means I have a boatload of survivors guilt. I go to visit her, and she's rattling around her house and trying to put on a brave face, eating too many timtams (is there such a thing? Maybe "enough" timtams...) and feeling like total crap, and then I stroll home to my house. The lamps are lit, dinner's bubbling away, my loving husband is playing with the kids, and all I can do is curse at the total inequity of life. 

I didn't do anything special to deserve this amazing family. This amazingly comfortable and happy life. I was just in the right place at the right time, and managed to meet the right guy for me. 

I'm lucky. Purely lucky. 

I just wish she was too! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lest We Forget

{Mr A catches the sunset over Iraq}

Lest we forget the sacrifices of those who served, those who serve.

Lest we forget we are still a nation who has her soldiers at war.

Please remember to show your support to our soldiers, sailors and airmen today.

Drag yourself out of your public holiday pyjamas and make it to a parade (remember, they can't see your support from your couch, and it means so much to them.)

Or, at the very least, please give generously to Legacy

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Autumn Leaves part deux

Hey Blogger!!! You suck!! Where's my draft post gone?!

{Now I have that out of my system, let's get on with the show...}

Autumn. I love it.

Especially when Spring was lackluster and Summer was non-existent.

We live in an area with heaps of European trees, and they put on a spectacular show. (For my non-antipodean readers, Australian native trees in Autumn look an awful lot like Australian native trees in Winter and Summer - green and dry. It's beautiful but boring.) 

I was inspired by the cooler weather and tried to make a chicken soup with last night's left over roast carcass. It was a total, utter failure. 

Note to self: don't add lemon. 

Especially not with the rind on. 

Even if it's already been baked in the chicken. 

Even if you think it will go well with the ginger you added to make an asian hot and sour soup. 

Just. Don't. 

Mr Accident pulled a face when he tasted it. That's saying something, he's eaten some horrendous foods. Some cooked in Iraq-i-stan by the locals, but most cooked by me. 

This is our local pond. I need to keep the kids at a safe distance on the cooler days because Peanut will be knee deep in the water at the slightest provocation. 

Bug needs no provocation whatsoever. 

That kid is drawn to water, I hope it translates into some serious swimming ability. (But then I might need to wake up early to take her to squads... Must be careful what I wish for!)

 I'm so glad Bug is old enough to play in the leaves this time. Remember last year? Gosh she's grown. Changing seasons always make me a wee bit nostalgic.

Oh well, time to get out the couch quilts and switch on the lamps. Next stop... Winter!

Monday, April 23, 2012

It is quite possible I would buy ice if I were an eskimo, if the kids next door were selling.

It must be school holidays.

Our street has been the epicentre of a cash-making frenzy. A market stall sprung up next door offering "hairdressering", and my door bell has been rung numerous times a day by short salesmen offering to walk my dog or wash my car. The light posts are plastered with texta-drawn signs advertising "shops" with opening hours between 4.30pm and 5pm daily, and I was accosted on my driveway by my three young neighbors trying to sell me a hat.

I did actually buy a hat. The offer was one for 20c, or two for a dollar.... I just picked one. Obviously. If I find myself in need of another, I will wait until tomorrow, lest they try to convince me it is the second hat in a two-hat deal.

Here is a photo of the aforementioned hat. Not following any sporting team in particular, and not particularly interested in their kind offer of a "GO TEEM" hat for a fence sitter like myself, I chose a Bulldogs hat in celebration of Panzer Pansy. (One week to go until she arrives!) I wonder if the Bulldogs merchandising department know that they have been undercut?

I am very happy to encourage budding entrepreneurship, but this time round I'm sticking to buying goods, not services.

I've learnt my lesson.

Last holidays I did actually agree to a car wash, but when they took to the paintwork with a green kitchen scourer (!) the damage done ended up being far more expensive than the $1 car wash price.

All this money-making reminds me of a rather unsuccessful dinosaur museum I opened as a child, with the only exhibit being a dinosaur made of cardboard tubes and tissue paper.

Did you get up to anything to make cash as a kid? There's a week of holidays left, I'm sure the mob knocking down my door would appreciate some new ideas.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Taliban Mouse

Peanut walked into the kitchen with her hands cupped. "Hey Mama, look! A dead mouse!" She had found him curled up under a bookshelf, the latest victim of a concerted eradication campaign.

As I disposed of the distressingly cute, furry carcass and scrubbed Peanut's hands with thirty gallons of soap and hot water, I was reminded of another wee rodent I used to know...

There was a mouse plague on our base in Afghanistan. They scuttled under the shipping containers where we lived and worked. They nibbled the best bits of our food packages from home, they ran across our bunks while we slept, and they carried rabies. Scary, foaming rabies.

The boys had one particular little mate that lived in the server room and, despite orders to the contrary, they kept their mousey fat on biscuit crumbs and boiled eggs.

But with the confirmation of a rabies risk, I finally had to put my foot down. The mouse had to go. I ordered in some baits and we laid them out.

The mouse loved the baits. LOVED them. He nibbled the squared corners until they were too rounded for him to bite. We supplied him with more bait, and he ate that too. Like candy! Every morning we would check the baits and they would be eaten. Every night we would lay out more. He was indestructible. He was everywhere and nowhere. He earned the nickname Taliban Mouse.

Finally one evening I was on late duty. Kicking back, feet on the desk, googling something pointless and dreaming of home. I heard a telltale munching, and looked down. It was Mouse! He had come for his regular evening snack. I gracefully scrambled onto the floor and cornered the little blighter. I wanted to grab him, take him out the camp perimeter and send him on his way. I had grown fond of the little dude. (I'd like to think it was because of his tenacity, but it was probably his lovely little pink ears.) Thinking of the many tame, pet mice I had handled at home, I reached down and grabbed his tail, expecting him to arch back like a tiny skydiver....

...which he did for about three seconds. Then he promptly rolled into a ball and bit me. I dropped his tail, leaving him dangling by his sharp teeth from my finger. A quick hard shake, a bout of swearing and his tiny body hit the floor. And that was the end of Mouse.

Of course, the irony is that if I hadn't accidentally killed the mouse I'd been trying to eradicate for weeks, then save, we could have kept him alive under rabies surveillance, perhaps preventing me from needing the vaccine. As it was, the six injections I earned for my foolishness certainly stung, but not as much as the pain of telling my boys that I was the one who had terminated their mascot. It took one particularly sensitive lad two long days to forgive me. Oh, the challenges of war!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Stemming the tide

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."  ~Phyllis Diller, Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints, 1966
Which should, in my case, read
"Tidying the house while the kids are awake is like trying to stop a flood with a kitchen sponge." ~Mrs Accident, Every Damn Day, 2012
When there was only the one young Peanut in residence, I could tidy faster than she could mess. It was worth the effort.

But now she's bigger and has an accomplice, sidekick and muse in Bug, it's futile.

Especially on rainy days, and especially when Peanut upended every last container in the playroom looking for her dolly. Which I had thrown out, because she looked like a cheap hooker. (I like my hookers expensive, thanks.)

So tidying is done once a day, during their concurrent afternoon nap.

I do try to get Peanut to help, and she has cleaned her whole room very effectively many times, but the playroom overwhelms her. Heck, it overwhelms me!

This was her contribution to tidying the playroom yesterday.

One dog, on one shelf.

But it's a start, right?

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Sometimes I get sucked into the blog vortex. You know the one, I'm sure you've danced around the edges of it too. The vortex that says followers are good, but more followers are better! Monetize! Advertise! Run a giveaway to boost your page views!

It makes me feel queasy and stressed. Being competitive is a curse. It makes me think that I need to work harder, network more, push my blog out there so I can be *successful* too.

And this is correlated to reading other amazing blogs, which stresses me out further, because I worry I will never be as widely read or witty as those writers, and thus I am doomed to total failure and I should just give up now, already.

Or maybe I'm just not damaged enough for success? I'm not a disaster survivor, or carrying a mental illness, and all my kids are healthy. Do I swear enough? That also seems a prerequisite for success. Someone swore in a comment once, does that count?

But then I get to thinking. Properly thinking, not just mentally strolling along with the status quo. And I eventually, thankfully, finally remember that I don't blog for cash.

I have no advertisers. There is no one out there who will lose out if my post isn't on time, or if I have a week or even a whole month off. And I don't pitch for followers, either. It's absolutely lovely when they come, and I was even considering running a giveaway where you had to "follow me" to enter. Then I would get more followers, guaranteed... but of what quality? I love that The Accidental Housewife followers are people legitimately interested in the blog, not just hangers on, here for the swag. It's so nice to be building a community of likeminded people!

I learnt my lesson with my Facebook friends. I had hundreds. Many hundreds. But then I couldn't find the people I cared about in all the news rushing onto my feed. So I culled. I applied the BBQ rule - if I wouldn't invite them to a barbie, then they were cut from the list. Quality over quantity.

So I'm pulling myself out of the blog vortex. It's not a competition, not a race to fame or fabulous fortune. The amount I would make from advertising is not worth the pressure to perform. The followers I buy are not worth the money spent. Airing my dirty laundry is not worth the impost on my family. So I opt out. I'm a free-blogger. Feel free to join me.

Blog Free

{But then, why do I continue to blog? For me. To practice my writing and to challenge myself (if I can make my mundane days readable and amusing, and do it every day, then I figure I'm doing pretty well.) And finally, as a record for the family. You're just being dragged along for the ride on my personal agenda, I'm afraid. But you're more than welcome, and the comments you leave make the whole thing so much more enriching and exciting than a conventional diary. So thank you!}

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Toddlers are bunny. Or funny. Or something.

Peanut is at that delightful age where she thoroughly appreciates a fart joke, but can't actually pronounce the word "fart". It comes out "bart".

This means I can pull awesome tricks like this:

Me - "Hey, Peanut, can you say fish?"
Peanut - "Bish!"
Me - "Can you say feather?"
Peanut - "Beather!"
Me - "Can you say fooger?"
Peanut - "Booger!"
Me - "Oh no! You said booger!"
*cue insane fit of toddler rude-joke giggling*

Gosh I love her.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beached as

There's nothing nicer than sneaking away for a couple of midweek days, and heading to the beach.

It could have sucked. It almost did. Peanut didn't travel well on the journey there, and the car still has a fragrant waft to it almost a week later. The house was freezing - a fibro cottage perched on the cliff top and buffeted by the overcast weather rolling in across the bay. And Mr Accident was feeling off colour, just enough to not want to exercise, which is always a sign of sickness in dogs and thus can clearly be applied to husbands, too.

But actually? It didn't suck. It was spectacular.

It was too cold to swim, but knees-deep paddling was enough for the girls. They discarded their shoes, then eventually their jackets and pants, chasing the wavelets half dressed and squealing. Archie played for a while, but then ventured out onto the rock platform. He was peering down into the waves when the waves decided to come up for a look themselves. I don't think I've ever seen the old lad run so fast. His nose was thoroughly dunked. 

We sandcastled and kite-flew, we fish-and-chipped and swung-in-the-park. There was a trip to the local zoo (Peanut rode a pony!) and the gold mining village (I was chased by a duck). There was ice cream eaten late at night in a shop, the flavour carefully chosen by a small girl with sticky fingers poking from a warm jacket, excited about being out after the streetlights were on. Special treats.

That dog would follow her anywhere.
Besides, Mr A rallied and is now recovering, we eventually found the heater for the house, and that smell in the car will fade eventually, right?  (Oh please, tell me it fades!)

Monday, April 16, 2012

The profane seamstress

I used my patented, wholly original, Mrs Accidental "Shhhh Sunday" to try and learn to knit.

Thank the licorice for YouTube. A video for casting on, a video for knitting and a video for purling, and I'm good to go. I just hope I can find one for casting off when the time comes.

Unfortunately, I won't know when that is, because I'm not using a pattern. I'm just kind of going with the vibe and figuring I would learn the basics one at a time first. This, however, makes for an interesting and entirely useless sample. So far it's half garter stitch and half moss stitch, with twenty five stitches on some rows, then, unaccountably, thirty one stitches just a few rows later.

What is going on??? Some casting-on-stitch-fairy is sneaking into my knitting and making it wider. It also has holes. Many holes. I showed Peanut and she blamed a mouse, so I shall too. Blasted mice and fairies, messing with my knitting!

I'm such a knitting newbie I needed to label the needles to remember
which side to knit and which to purl. You know, until I
realised that the sides look completely, utterly different. 

I'm also making an apron for an internet swap. It's quite challenging because the lovely lady it is destined for is slightly wider than the average pattern, so I'm winging it here, too.

The seam ripper and I are getting well acquainted. I probably shouldn't start all my sewing projects so late at night, it messes with my common sense and problem solving and makes everything just a wee bit harder.

Poor Mr A is regularly treated to a stream of colourful profanities floating out of the sewing room and bluing the air, totally ruining my attempt to feel like a competent and creative domestic goddess. Oh well, time and practice, people, time and practice....

What did you do with your Sunday?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Oh yes they did!!

The day has come! The payoff for all my moderately easy exceptionally talented and tricky backyard work has begun. Clearly all my mutterings about lazy chooks rapidly meeting their maker at the bottom of a stockpot were taken to heart and acted upon because....

We have eggs!

Two over three days.

I suspect they are from the one chook, as they seem to be getting bigger each time (not that two points can really define a trend!) but I'm not sure which lady is responsible.

Not that I can actually tell the girls apart anymore - I use to identify Tilly by her tail feather, but ol' Milly wanted a piece of the action and had the raw cheek to grow a tail feather too. I try not to address them individually in the hopes they won't twig to my social faux paux.

I've saved the eggs in their own little egg cups on the window sill, and I'm just waiting until I have enough for a proper taste (split four ways, of course). I think another one should do it. Come on, ladies! Lay our Sunday breaky!

Friday, April 13, 2012


Barbie makes me cranky.

I think it might have always been this way - I had a Barbie as a kid who received a VERY short haircut and a big black smiley face tattoo right on the back of her neck. She was beautiful.

But, you know what? It's not Barbie's proportions that piss me off. (Although they are ridiculous.) Because, fair's fair, if we are going to lampoon Barbie for being a poor body role model to kids, we should veto the Cabbage Patch Kids too, the little chubbers. Kids live in a land of whimsy, and playing with proportion is a big part of that. If you want to make everything true to life, we'll have to ban all the friendly teddy bears, too, and only have mean ol' grizzlies in the shops.

But I digress. Now, plenty of people defend Miss B because she had some truly interesting careers - astronaut, teacher, engineer, architect, etc, etc, ad infinitum.

And this is the reason Barbie grates me. Even though she has been given awesome opportunities, her focus is still on her looks. She could be in the lab curing cancer, but still the most important aspect of her as a woman is her flowing blonde locks and tiny waist. To me, she's sending the message that in Barbie-land, no matter how hard you work, no matter how clever or strong you may be, no matter what you achieve professionally, unless you fit *that* image of a woman, you have failed to live up to the required idealistic stereotype.

Now, I've done some things. I've been some places. But my competence has never been judged off my dimensions or hairstyle, and nor should it have been. Whatever I came up against, as long as I was fit and smart enough to do the job and my appearance was neat, that was enough. I have seen some stunning women try in life, and succeed, but I have seen some stunning women try and fail. Their looks played only an infinitesimal part in their ultimate fate. But in Barbie-land, looks would be enough to save the princess or banish the ugly crone. This does not reflect my real life experiences, and I want my daughters to be taught the truth; that beauty, even considerable beauty, is not enough to save you if you are incompetent or stupid.

And that brings me to my next point. Would I trust a professional who obviously spends more time and more mental energy on her appearance than maintaining mastery of her trade? No. A look like Barbie's, with carefully arranged hair and full makeup, take considerable care to upkeep. I imagine that if she were my surgeon she would probably need to leave the operation halfway though my appendectomy to reapply her lipgloss. Not cool, Barbie. Not cool. I call Barbie's work ethic into question, and again I'd rather have my girls be workers than shirkers.

Add this all together, and I don't think Barbs and I could be friends. We're too different.

So she's not invited over to play. She can take her pernicious influence elsewhere. No scatter braining allowed by the nuclear physicists in my family! No trying to imply that my race car driving little girl is below standard because she wears flat shoes! (Hey Barbie, you know driving in heels is frowned up, right?) I'm keeping my kids on the straight and narrow. Do they still make Cabbage Patch Kids? I may need to hunt one down for Christmas.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Flowers, flowers and pie

What's been going on here? Well, not all that much, which is lovely. 

I planted some pansies out the front to welcome Panzer Pansy, the new puppy, home. Mr Accident hasn't tweaked to the significance yet, but he reads my blog, so he will shortly.... 

And here are some beautiful tulips, from Mr A. I love that he buys me flowers for no reason. Unfortunately these *did* have a reason, but not a particularly serious one. To be honest, a dandylion would have put him back in my good books. He's a keeper, that man.

Note the wee little bunny hiding underneath. He was a present to myself about six months ago, and he's a cutie. If you find something that will cheer you up every time you see it, and it costs pin money, I suggest you buy it! 

I've been busy in the kitchen. I have an apple slinky machine, and it really speeds me up when I'm preparing apples for cooking. Quite possibly it would also work on potatoes, but I haven't given it a whirl yet. This particular batch of apples became apple sauce, for last night's roast pork, an apple pie for afters, and the rest was mixed with some spectacularly sour blueberries for stewed fruit for my morning cereal. Delicious!

So spill - what's the WORST flower-worthy stunt your other half has pulled??  Remember, Comment of the Week is still up for grabs.... ;)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The frugal way to dye eggs

I love to dye eggs at Easter. Peanut would too, but usually I have her conscripted as slave labour turning the eggs, and keep her there working long after the novelty has worn off. I think we nailed the dyeing process this year, so I'm sharing it here. (Otherwise next year I'll forget how we did it...)

But dyeing eggs can be so messy (food dye!) and wasteful (all those eggs! All that vinegar!) 

I found the solution. We dyed our eggs in a silicone friand tin. (Who actually makes friands at home? Not me, I usually just use mine as a misshapen muffin tin.) The eggs fit in perfectly!

I mixed the 50:50 vinegar and water solution in a small jug, and it only took a cup's worth to fill the tins. (Ok, truthfully? I used a huge jug. I had enough mix to fill the tray four times over. But that's alright, I used the rest in my cleaning spray bottles.) 

Before adding the dye I checked the tins wouldn't overflow when I added the eggs. Don't skip that step! Otherwise the tins might be overfull, and when you add the eggs the dyes will splash out and mix, making your eggs a manky brown instead. Once you've got the liquid depth right, add the dye.

I dye plain old raw eggs. We don't actually display our decorated eggs, the pleasure for us is in the dyeing process itself, so they don't need to keep out of the fridge. The girls are too young to get into complex decorations so the eggs are not handled much. Also, we are not huge boiled-egg eaters. Using raw eggs means the eggs aren't wasted - we crack them open for breaky on the Easter mornings. (Ohh, purple eggs! So much fun!!)

I put the eggs in the prepared tray, then let Peanut (in a rubber glove) gently turn them until they are the colour I like. Then I just fish them out with a spoon and dry them in their egg carton. Make sure you rotate the eggs a couple of times in the drying process so they don't stick to the carton and break when you try to pull them out. 

And there you have it, frugal dyed eggs!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Accidental Builders - now open for business

We have a new construction in our back yard.

Critics are calling it "the architectural development of the decade" and "surprisingly complex" and "a heartwarming tale of loss and redemption".

I call it "a whole lot of junk". But it is doing a great job of keeping the chickens off the veggie patch, while still leaving room to swing a hammock.

There's chicken wire, a stake, an old gate, some bamboo poles, and the canes from the old dried sunflowers in there.

In other news.... I can't paint my toe nails anymore. The chickens chase them, and peck them, and it hurts!

Also, The Old Milk Can has won Comment of the Week for this gem:

"I give up trying to keep the floors clean after a while...I'm so sure as soon as I clean up the house goes off and rolls in something nasty!"

Ha! I know just how she feels. Thank god Mr A vacuumes.

And finally, what do you think of the new header? That's Milly up there, giving you her beady eye.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Everyone's a winner, baby! (Well, maybe)

Well looky here, I won a Leibster!

The Leibster is awarded to blogs with fewer than 200 followers, who are "beloved or darling".

Now, I could be cynical...

{I've done the maths. If, from a single point of origin, each Leibster recipient pings the five other blogs they are supposed to, and assuming none are tardy and do it the day after receipt, that means within just two weeks 6,103,515,625 blogs will be Leibstered.

That looks like a lot, hey? And it is, especially if you consider the population of the whole world, including the non-computer literate bits, was 6,840,507,003 in 2010. So basically, everyone's going to have one by tomorrow.}

...but I won't! Because what it comes down to is this. Someone liked my blog enough to be bothered Leibstering me, and that's awesome. (Thanks Trish from Living The Gentle Life!)

And it also gives me a chance to shout out to five other bloggers who I reckon take the bloggy cake, and that's awesome too.

I hereby award a Leibster to *drumroll please*

Killing A Fly With A Ukelele Is Probably The Wrong Thing To Do!! (She's funny - REALLY funny. And she's having a baby!)

Enchanted Moments!! (Sweet, slow living. I wish she lived over my back fence. We'd get on well.)

The Adventures Of Annie And Her Boys!! (a US expat and her boys, obviously, who goes to some lovely places in my wide brown land, then writes about it. And her boys. Obviously.)

RoarSweetly!! (she only started in January, but it's already a polished production) and....

Nature's Nurture!! (she has some seriously excellent green cleaning tips. Make your own spray oil? Yes you can!)

I also want to give a special mention to Armagnac, who would probably think this whole Leibster award thing is a crock, and who I assume would NEVER put the button on his blog, but is still an amazing writer and has the best Daddy-lefty-political blog I know. (No, it's not Mr A you heretical gossips, he's too busy saving the world to blog.)

To my winners - get in quick to award your Leibsters on to another five un-Leibstered blogs, the pool is drying up! (And stick the award pic on your blog, then link back to me here too, it's the rules, man.)

And to those who missed out and are stoking the fires of jealousy... don't worry, give it two weeks and I reckon you'll probably get one too ;)

Sunday, April 8, 2012



I know it's Sunday.... 

but I just wanted to pop in to say...

(This little dude looked so cranky that he's cute. Do you reckon his little brother ate all his Easter eggs?)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

My own court jester

Peanut asked to play with the packet of new washing up gloves.

I came around the corner two minutes later and found this:

She cracks me up!

Duck? Chicken? (Goose? Most certainly...) What do you reckon?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ready to Wiggle? Why yes, yes we are!

We went to the Wiggles yesterday.

Met the mob - Waggs, D-Dino, old matey Jeff and the gang.

It was actually a whole lot better than I expected. The guys are always consummate performers, but the last show we saw, in December (a whole four months ago! How did we survive that long?) was just...tired.

With the benefit of hindsight, the occasional soap-opera watching, infinitesimal part of my brain thinks it might have been a result of the whole Sam - Greg furore, but in reality it was probably just because they are getting on in years, but keep on working two shows a day, and were reaching the end of a busy year. Those gents really do earn their money.

Thursday, however, was epic. The skivvied lads were on fire, as vibrant as ever.

They amped Peanut up very successfully - here she is madly waving her bones for Waggs.

"And the Wiggy dancers took dabone!  And they gave dabone to Waggs!! 
And dey read out mine name!!!" 
~ Peanut, explaining the pertinent details to Nanna on speakerphone. 

And here is Bug. Concentrating madly, desperately waiting for Rock-a-Bye-a-Bear, the only Wiggles song she properly knows. When it came on she jumped up, cast her bikkie aside and Rocked Out. 

Buying a ticket so a toddler to groove to one song, and sit spellbound for the rest? Totally worth it.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Breathing. It's kind of a necessity

Just go ahead and take a deep breath for me... and another. Feels good, hey? Now imagine trying to do that with a litre of fluid on your lung. From cancer. While holding your three month old daughter.


But fear not. This is a good news story. Heather Von St James is a survivor.

Some quick background: Mesothelioma is a cancer of the protective lining of the body cavities and internal organs, such as the lungs, heart and bowel. Asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma. Heather was exposed as a child, when her father would return from his construction job covered in a fine white dusting of asbestos fibres. After exposure to asbestos, it usually takes more than fifteen years for Mesothelioma to develop.

Heather and her gorgeous family

Now back to Heather. After being diagnosed, and when her baby girl Lily was just six months old, Heather underwent a radical procedure that involved the removal of her left lung, the lung lining, her heart lining, her sixth rib and the left half of her diaphragm. The amazing doctors then replaced it with more Gore-Tex ™ than is in your average tent, and bought her another six years and counting.

But the truly amazing part of this story is not the doctors (although they are), not her survival (although it is) but her ATTITUDE.

Heather asked to share her story with you:
In November of 2005, I was a new mother. My only child was three and half months old. My life was at a happy place. Then, I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. It looked like I was going to die. Everything had changed. It was hard to think of anything that could have possibly been worse, short of a loved one suffering my illness. 
Nonetheless, I found strength in myself that I never thought I had in me. That strength was found at the Boston Brigham and Women's hospital, where Dr. David Sugarbaker, one of the worlds leading mesothelioma doctors, told me just how deadly my disease was, but that I had a chance to fight it. I had a two percent chance of living more than five years past my diagnosis. I latched on to the word chance and started to fight. 
Naturally, my fight included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. The first step was a difficult surgery that robbed me of my left lung. It also took out a tumor that was threatening my life. My daughter was safe with family nearly 2,000 miles away from Boston where I underwent the surgery. After that, my life was wrapped up in the infamously difficult chemotherapy and radiation that comes with cancer. I was sick during the entire first year of Lily's -- my daughter's -- life. She was thankfully oblivious and around her first birthday, I was done with treatment and rid of my cancer. I wanted to stay that way. 
One of the most important lessons I took from my struggle with cancer is that life is meant to be lived to the fullest. If it is worth fighting for, you cannot take anything for granted. The little things in life matter just as much as the big things. It is good to appreciate everything, especially the things that I love. You never know how short or long your life will be. Wasting time is not worth the risk. Because of frequent trips to the hospital and a wish to be involved with others going through the same thing, meeting some other fighters was unavoidable. I met people whose strength was inspirational. These people were family members of people with my disease and those people fighting with me. In some cases, they are no longer able to live life to the fullest. However, every single one of them tried. 
It is because of these people that I am determined to let everyone know about mesothelioma and the people who suffer from it. It is also important that people know it is survivable and we can do something about it. No matter what life throws at me from now on, I intend to live it to the fullest. Every little scrap of life I can get my hands on will be appreciated and adored for the precious moment that it is. No matter how bad things get, there is something to be grateful for -- a reason to keep on living. 
When I found out I had mesothelioma, I easily could have given up after reading statistics on the disease. The survival rate was dismal (2%) It’s not very encouraging to read when you are diagnosed with a disease, but instead of giving up, I made up my mind; SOMEONE has to be in that 2%. That someone was going to be me. And 
now, almost 6 years later, I am considered a long-term survivor. My attitude is this; I survived for a reason, to spread hope and awareness about mesothelioma.

And spread hope she does. Every year Heather hosts a "Lungleavin' Day" at her home, where those afflicted by cancer, and their friends and family can gather around a bonfire, write their fears on a plate and then smash it to smithereens. What an inspirational way to turn losing a lung into a positive!

But, besides the obvious, why did I decide to share this on a small Australian blog?

Because exposure to asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma, and Australia was one of the biggest asbestos users in the world. There is a phenomenal amount of asbestos in our buildings and other infrastructure. As a result, the Australian Mesothelioma Registry Website states "we have one of the world's highest rates of mesothelioma and it is estimated that this is yet to peak."


So take the time this weekend to have a browse of the sites below, and get informed. And if you're doing any construction work, maybe a little DIY on that 1950's beach cottage, get it checked for asbestos before you start!

Heather's Blog - really worth a read

Mesothelioma on Wikipedia

Australian Mesothelioma Registry

So, gentle readers, after hitting you with that, do you have any survival stories you want to share? Or any questions for Heather? She will be lurking around the comments board, so feel free to leave her some encouragement!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mrs Accident Seeks Your Advice

I was going to call this "Mrs Accident Takes Your Advice" but, quite honestly you could advise me anything, and I don't want to be beholden to take it...

Now, down to business.

I have a good friend who has a not-so-good son. Don't get me wrong, he's gorgeous, but he's got Naughty Habits. This is not too serious, he's only (well, let's say between one and three, shall we? That should be vague enough... I'm not talking about YOUR kid, I promise!)

But it's still causing issues for me. When I saw him this week he slapped me clean across the face, hard. He occasionally tries to do the same to my girls, but they have learnt to keep a safe distance (about six feet). I am clearly not as wise as my daughters, and wandered into striking distance. Then.... *whack!*

Now, I'm all for "it takes a village to raise a child", but I also don't want to enforce my village's standards on someone else's child. I don't feel comfortable disciplining this particular lady's kid, probably because she is pretty lax on him herself and I don't want to be seen as a heinous fire breathing dragon. (Again, random friend, if you are reading this, NOT YOUR KID, I promise!)

So what do I do? I assume she knows he's a hitter (hell, blind Freddie knows he's a hitter - he got slapped last Tuesday). Would bringing it up just be restating the obvious? I don't want to offend her by making a huge issue out of her son putting out more hits than the Beatles. (More whacks than the New York Mafia? Being a bigger slapper than Marilee from Dallas? Stop me, please, I'm mal-pun-tioning...)

So, dear reader, what should I do? Advice, please!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Visitors - an influx

Well hello everyone!

I now pronounce this *visitor week*. Hooray!

It all starts this morning with much longed for and requested (requested? She begged, then pleaded, then ORDERED me to call...) play date with Peanut's best friend JJ. I'm thinking we might crack out the paints, and I'm certain there will be some enthusiastic chicken-chasing, but perhaps they will be content to play with the shadow game Peanut set up this morning. It's just a sheet and a lamp, but very successful. (Bug hasn't quite got the hang of making shadows out of the way her *own* shadow yet, but she likes hiding in the sheet.)

Then sometime this afternoon (hopefully after naps... girls, please nap!) we have an old friend dropping in for a surprise visit / sleepover. We are the halfway house for him on a road trip, but any excuse will do. I'm really looking forward to the catch up. Coincidentally, this particular visitor was the first to suspect I had a stowaway on board, long before I realised. Apparently I was walking like his wife used to walk when she was up the duff! Wish he'd actually, you know, told me.... ;)

Tomorrow morning, after swimming lessons, we have another play date, this time to make the required offerings to the religion that is the Wiggles In Concert. Apparently a live gig entails taking along a home made bone for Waggs, a rose for Dorothy the Dinosaur, and some kind of letter to someone (who, exactly? Can anyone fill me in?) We have been to a Wiggles gig before but the girls were so young they barely knew that the music wasn't from our retro CD / tape player. I bet they were wondering why everyone came to dance to their CD! Because they were so little they didn't mind not having the sacrificial offerings. But this time... No dice. They are switched. So craft-that-will-be-thrown-into-no-doubt-Wiggles-branded-landfill it is. Gah! But I am really excited about the concert. Peanut and Bug are great little groovers, I love to watch them get excited and dance to music they know. No doubt this means I will be tagging along just to watch them bliss out to the latest fad boy band in 2030. I'll be that creepy old chick up the back wearing a Porkers shirt, come say hi. ;)

Lastly, here is the latest photo of our soon-to-be new addition, the Australian Bulldog "Panzer" (or as I like to call her, "Pansy". Cause having his militarily named pup called after the sookiest of flowers makes Mr Accident just *ever* so pleased!)

In this pic she is three weeks old, and she's opened her wee little eyes! Mr A is like a clucky mother hen about her, it's really getting quite ridiculous. Yesterday he made a comment about not needing a big back yard in our next house, as Panzer won't need much space to run. Yup. That's right. He was so caught up in the excitement of his new dog he had FORGOTTEN THAT WE HAVE CHILDREN. Egads! And she's not even here yet, imagine how he'll be when she arrives!

Oh golly gee, when did I get so gosh darn popular? Only a third of a way through the visitor influx and I have already vacuumed three times. I could have done it four, but I put my foot down. Four times in six hours would just be ridonkulous (pfftt, like three wasn't. But have you seen toddlers eating bread? They scatter it like I own invisible indoor pigeons.)

Monday, April 2, 2012

An Accidental Explanation

Since I have a couple few boatload of new followers, I thought a brief overview of the whole "Accidental" name might be in order.

I was never a particularly "girly" girl. I knew my fish knife from my pocket knife, my heels from my hiking boots, but I certainly knew which I preferred. It was a natural progession from a childhood of scouting to life in the Army. I had no aspirations of motherhood, but I knew for absolutely certain that I wanted to be a Company Commander, and I was well on my way.

There was, however, a spanner in the works. I had met a lovely young gentleman during our training. I knew he was a good egg - after a week-long food and sleep deprivation exercise he was still in my good books. That really takes serious chemistry and strong character! It took six long months before we were dating (which I mostly spent trying not to catch his eye in class, then furiously blushing when I did - and I am NOT usually a blusher) and another whole week for him to kiss me (I had to talk him into it!)

Fast forward a few years and you can find us engaged and planning a wedding. My career was gunning, I had been deployed, I was getting great reports and was well regarded. I was going to the top! But suddenly I was tired, so tired. And no matter how much I ran I just felt BLOATED. Of course, wise readers, being so in tune with your own selves and with the benefit of distance, you can probably guess what was happening. I just thought my body had gone nuts. I ran more, ate less, and tried not to nap at work. There was an upside, though, all that running helped me win the cross country for my age group...

It came to a head the Friday before a planned week of backcountry skiing. My tummy hurt, so I went to the doctor. He assessed my symptoms, then asked me (in a gorgeous Afrikaans accent) "Well, Miss Not-Yet-Accidental, what will you do if you are pregnant?" I answered blithely "oh Doc, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." Three minutes later, and he burst back in... "We are at the bridge!!"

And so began a new chapter of my life. OUR life. My charming young gentleman, once he remembered that we were older than sixteen, financially solvent, and in a committed (engaged!) relationship, was ecstatic. (This realisation took all of three seconds, but it was very funny watching his face while he processed.)

And so eventually, after a wedding and a move, along came Peanut. My friends found it very amusing - had we voted five years ago I have no doubt I would have taken out the titles of "least maternal" and "least likely to breed". I know I did win the title of "biggest bloke" at my all girl high school. But, somehow, motherhood and housewifery just suited me. I had found my new niche. And so, when Peanut was born, so was the "Accidental" name.

I want to make very clear that although Peanut was technically an accident, she is the most wonderful accident since the discovery of penicillin. In the great battle of birth control versus antibiotics, there was one clear winner - me. I lost the flu and gained one of the great loves of my life. She has been adored since the first time I knew she existed.... a full fifteen weeks after she was conceived. ;)

Listen to your body, ladies! It might be announcing exceptional news!