Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Australian Government and how to break a family - IBOT

So J-man finished school at the end of last year and in the 8 months since, has taken his resume and cover letters to every business in our small city. He has gone everywhere from plumbers and electricians to the pet shop and the funeral home.
Nope, the answer at most places is.. "we don't take resumes directly, you have to go through the agencies".

Excellent, lets do that shall we.


The Man I Married and I work, bloody hard, to provide for our family. With four kids, a mortgage and school fees the cost of living is high. Luckily my man has a strong work ethic and often puts in 60 hours a week to provide for us.

Mr Centrelink says we earn too much.  He also says that J-man will be judged based on our income until his 21st birthday. We are penalised for trying to pay off our own home and for staying married.

What this means is J-man cannot register with Centrelink as unemployed. He hasn't actually asked for a cent, just acknowledgement of his unemployed status. The Centrelink system won't let him register unless he is entitled to a benefit and he doesn't qualify for a benefit.

NO ! says Centrelink.
If Dad would just kindly give up his job, or even better, move out, we can give you all the help you need.

But as long as Mum and Dad stay married, and as long as they are honest hard workers, you, my boy cannot have that status. Legally Mum and Dad are financially responsible for J-man (and our other kids) until their 21st birthday. There is no youth allowance or work-seekers help for kids of parents who work hard.

Without the Unemployment status, none of the employment agencies are allowed to assign him a case manager to help him. He's on his own. Furthermore, the exclusive Job seekers network where so many employers advertise their jobs is not available to him... Employers who are tempted by lovely government subsidiaries to employ someone out of the Unemployment sector.

So let me say it. Yes Australia is a good country, we have plenty, but we have a sucky, stupid system that continually punishes those who work hard and actively encourages families to break up, to give up.

I am so angry and disheartened I am finding it hard to type. We always told our kids to have a good work ethic and to put in 110%. I guess we should have told them to do a half arsed job, not commit to anyone and lie on their applications.

If anyone has any ideas. please bring them on, I am at my wits end, J-man is demoralised and I want to picket my local member of parliament for the unfairness of it all.

He's old enough to die for his country, to father a child or go to adult prison, but Centrelink still bases everything on the parents until they turn 21. What about that makes sense ?

Sorry to have such a negative post for IBOT

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Liebster Award Loving

What a lovely week! I was delighted to find that lovely Jodie From Fresh Home Cook nominated little ol' me for a Liebster Award.

What is a Liebster award?
“A Liebster award is given to support and recognise up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers (on their blog) or likers (on their Facebook page). The word “Liebster” apparently has German origins and is reported to mean sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

By following some basic rules (answer 11 questions set by your nominee, write 11 additional facts about yourself, write 11 new questions of your own and pass the award onto 11 other bloggers to answer) it enables readers to get to know new bloggers and connect with a wider audience.”

In keeping with the above rules here are Jodie's questions and my answers ...

1.  Tea or coffee?
 Coffee in the daylight hours, then tea in the evening. But I am a sad Nanna so I only drink weak as dishwater instant coffee.

2.  Chocolate or cheese?
Definitely cheese. I really dislike chocolate and rarely eat it. I don't mind chocolate flavoured things like cake or pudding, but I will scrag-fight you to the death over the last piece of King Island Brie.

3.  What did you want to be when you grew up?
I STILL haven't decided on this! I wanted to be a school teacher for a while there, mainly because I really liked the idea of writing whatever I wanted on the chalk board, but since having kids I have discovered that I really only like my own offspring (and even then it's questionable) so the idea of looking after 28 kids I didn't give birth to gives me hives.

4.  What is your favourite post from your blog?
The Carnival Ride is my favourite post.. it describes how it feels to be parenting an Aspergers child while all your friends are parenting 'typical' kids, but it is a positive post, rather than all doom and gloom.

5.  What is your one skill you wish you had?
I would love Go-go Inspector Gadget extenda-arms. How great would those be! You've never have to get out of bed to turn off the light or the TV, you could make yourself a cup of tea, all while snuggling under your doona.

6.  If money wasn’t a factor what would your ideal ‘job’ be?
Writing, designing, a little bit of nursing to keep my brain ticking... guess what? That's what I do now, only with a little more nursing because $$ is a factor.

7.  What is your most worn & loved piece of clothing / attire?
Pyjamas! If I can have a day in my PJ's I embrace it with love. There is something a little bit naughty about still being in your comfy Flannelette PJ's at 4 pm. Warm and snuggly, sigh.

8.  Where is your best holiday destination & why?
We don't have a lot of holidays. In fact we almost never go on holidays. But as each of our kids get to the end of Grade 6 we take just that child away for a few days to celebrate and to have some time just with them. We have taken 3 of our 4 away so far, each of them wanted to go to QLD to the theme parks. We have had an absolute ball, and with only one child to concentrate on we could spend time getting to know them and enjoy the little quirks of their individual personalities. Those little holidays will always be memories I will treasure.

9.  What is you favourite kitchen gadget & why?
The dishwasher! It's a large gadget I know, but gosh it makes life easier. Our house is busy and there is always washing up to be done. The dishwasher stops me from crying on a regular basis.

10.  Board shorts or budgie smugglers (speedos)?
Oh please ! Board Shorts. And I strongly recommend a t-shirt unless you are built like Hugh Jackman. If you are built like Hugh Jackman, please send photos.

11.  What is your earliest childhood memory?
I remember a giant Easter basket being delivered to our house.. Easter 1974 so I was 21 months old, and I can remember quite clearly how enormous the centre egg seemed. It was wrapped in Aqua coloured Foil and the smell from the basket was divine. I wanted to pull the eggs out and Mum kept telling me "No". Perhaps that is when my aversion to chocolate began?

ELEVEN additional Facts about me :
1 - I can't knit ... I have lots of wool, lots of theory but somehow, no matter how careful I am, I start off with 20 stitches and end up with 17, or 24. They are sneaky little suckers!
2 - I can do The Cup Song from Pitch Perfect and like to practice it when I'm alone. I make lots of mistakes but I like to try.
3 - I have a dreadful singing voice. Dreadful. People would pay me to not sing. It's a nasally, fingernails down a blackboard with a bit of drowning cat thrown in for fun. When I sing out loud, one of our dogs hides in the bathroom cupboard and the other one races up and down the hallway looking for the fire exit.
4 - When I was little my favourite thing to do was playing in the sand pit with my brother. We would collect little black Alexander beetles and put them in his matchbox cars and drive them around the sand pit.
5 - When I was 15 I went to New Zealand on a Rotary Exchange for 3 months. I was utterly miserable the whole time.
6 -  I always wonder if the people in the background of movie or TV show scenes are actually talking to one another or just mouthing random words. There seems to be an awful lot of nodding going on between extras, how can they all be in agreement on everything?
7 - I think about exit plans a lot ... like when I'm in an airplane I make plans so that if the plane breaks apart mid flight, I will grab a door and air-surf on it all the way to the ground, then just before I hit the ground, I'll jump up, cleverly negating the 60,000 metre free fall and it would be like I just jumped a couple metres off the ground. Clever I say!
8 - I'm the one in 300,000 girl. If a disease or disorder is very rare then I am gonna have it. I hate when a doctor cocks their head to the side and says " Look, it's highly unlikely, but...." Shut Up ! You just nailed the coffin shut! I have had some weird and wonderful things, been in crazy situations and my family will say "It can only happen to you.."
9 - I like Granny Undies. I have a drawer full of "cute little things" but actually I'm much more comfortable and relaxed in my Granny undies .. Everything covered that needs to be covered. Mental Image credit here (OMG not really! Please tell me you didn't click!)
10 - In my pantry there is a tonne of food that I know I will probably never use but I feel more rounded having it in there. For example there is a can of chickpeas, just in case I ever have the urge or need to make my own hummus. Between you and I, I'm fairly certain that will never happen, but I like the notion that there is the possibility.
11- I've never had a labour contraction. Four kids, not a one! I was awake for the birth of Mr 19 with a spinal block c-sec but fast asleep for the 3 girls. Baby no 1 (J-man) was a tiny wispy blonde baby, so when hubby handed me Baby no 2 (now Miss 17), a chunky little dark haired newborn bundle, I was not entirely sure that there hadn't been a mix up. Only the fact that we were the only Mum and Bub in our tiny little community hospital offered any reassurance that she was in fact my daughter. It also means that I don't remember much at all of their first 24 hours as the general anaesthetic knocks me for six :-(
It's my turn to pick some bloggers and give them some questions...
1. Pink Or Red
2. What is one thing you would love to learn how to do?
3. What is the last thing you do before you go to bed?
4. When do you do your best work?
5. What would you ask for as your last meal?
6. If you could spend a day with any person on the planet who would it be with and why?
7. What food do you hate?
8. What was your favourite childhood toy?
9. Your favourite high school memory is...?
10. What superpower do you wish you could have ? (I love this question so I'm borrowing it)
11. You have to leave your house in five minutes, and never come back. Your kids and pets are safe. What 5 material possessions are you going to grab?
I am handing the Liebster award on to some of my favourite peeps, some very newly discovered, some just quietly flying under the radar. Please show some loving support to these bloggers. I will add Links to their Liebster posts when they write them.
 Show them some loving  xxx

Friday, July 26, 2013

Don't rain on my Tonka Truck - Things I Know

Lately I'm noticing there is someone eager to rain on every parade passing through town.

Did you buy your little girl a doll? You must be an anti-feminist.
Did you give your child a bottle? You must be an uneducated, uncaring mother.
Did you have takeaway for dinner last night? You must be a lazy sloth.
Did you get excited about the new Royal Baby? You are a royalist anti-Australian.
Did you stop your dog from sleeping on the bed? You need to be reported to the RSPCA.
Did you give a friends brand new baby boy a shirt with a truck on it? You are a sexist pig.

So in the interests of full disclosure, here's some facts. Unfollow if you feel the need.

I don't only buy my kids educational toys.
I don't have a set bedtime for my kids. 
Not everything that passes their lips will be nutritional and every now and then,we have pancakes with icecream and maple syrup for dinner!
I'm not a big fan of homework and I don't know what any of my kids have due for homework this week or this month.
I am pleased His Little Royal Highness arrived safely because who on earth would wish for a different outcome?
My dogs sleep on my bed. Deal with it.
I breast fed all my kids at some stage. I gave all my kids bottles at some stage. I challenge you to pick which one got the breast milk the longest.
I'm not a feminist or an anti-feminist.
I am not affiliated with any political party and often can't remember which party is in power.
I don't believe a childhood toy can determine a child's femininity or masculinity, nor do I think giving gender specific toys will damage or determine their sexuality, their views or respect for the opposite sex or stereotype them.

A very good friend of mine became a Nana last year with the birth of a beautiful little boy. I gave him a big fat Yellow Tonka truck!
It's tradition in our family that every little boy gets a Tonka truck.

Nawwwww Tonka truck baby cuteness !

Two friends of mine were horrified at this gender specific present and thought that as a caring modern woman I should give a non-sex-specific dragonfly rattle in neutral primary colours. (Because I might forever change who he is destined to be, based solely on my inappropriate Tonka Truck gift)

But with 4 kids on my black belt, I know that a gender specific toy makes no difference to who or what they grow up to be.

I have three daughters and they all received a small soft baby doll when they were born.

They have (in order of appearance)

a) absolutely refused to play with dolls or wear dresses or anything 'girlie'
b) adored dresses, girlie makeup and put her babies in "babysitting" if she played with them as she 'had to go to work"( I wasn't working, she didn't go to day care... ???)
c) asked God to make her into a beautiful fairy princess and mothered her baby dolls until they begged for mercy.
The same three girls have (in order of appearance)

a) Dreamt of becoming a dragon during the night hours so she can be a dragon taxi, currently planning a career in Childcare.
b) played with dolls for about a year then moved on to stuffed animals and practised her veterinary skills, currently planning on becoming a personal trainer.
c) loved playing Legos, trains and matchbox cars and still plays with her dolls, currently planning to become a princess or a train driver.

The gift of a doll hasn't forever limited them to the role of 1950's housewife. None of them are planning to have 12 children or to become the next sister-wife.

*As for our son.. he played with dolls, cars and trucks, trains, tea sets and cows. Yes. cows. He had a cement cow (a painted cement garden ornament he found at a Sunday market when he was 2 and fell in love with.) That cold hard cow was walked in his pram, sat next to him at the dinner table, had stories read to it. and was tucked into bed each night for 2 years. Until one sad night when Cow fell out of bed and broke in half. Oh Dear! - LOL.*

What do you know? Share it over with Miss Cinders.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Life is complicated and there is so much that needs attention in the world.
There are truly awful political and humanitarian situations worldwide (and yes, on our very own red soil) . It can be very easy to get mired down in the sadness and the unfairness of it all.

I don't want you to think that I'm a complete airhead, or totally lacking in social conscience but there are many blogs that speak far more eloquently about social issues than I could ever hope to.

And so, I shall bring you what our house does best.

We do silly well. We laugh a lot, mostly at ourselves.
And I'm grateful for that. A day without a good giggle is a day wasted in my opinion.
We laugh at Miss Abby , the paranoid schizophrenic but lovable pup who is wearing yet another thing that amuses me greatly - dog clothes

If you think she looks pissed off, it's because she is. Turns out dogs don't really like wearing knitted jumpers.

After Teddy Had a Haircut , one commenter (aka my mother) suggested I ought to make more effort in seeking out a more masculine outfit. Now he is resplendent in his very Aussie ACDC coat.

Of course all this dog-clothes-wearing malarkey led me on a Google Images extravaganza. God I love Google! When I think of Thankful Thursday, Google is right at the top of my hit list alongside Electric blankets and spa baths.
So because I'm a sharing, caring kind of girl .. here's some of my favs - superman is a recurring theme.
Of course googling one thing leads to another... from doggy toenail pedicures ...
Seriously, people have time for this????
To happy dogs ....
To my favourite Dogs underwater by the Amaaaazing Seth Casteel

From here it was really just a hop, skip and jump to a man wearing limes on his body.

In answer to your last question. I have no idea. Not a clue. None.

I'm off to do some shopping, buy some limes.. the usual stuff.
What do you do when you want to put a smile on your face?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Welcome to Sturdy One - IBOT

You know who rocks?
Jai! Jai rocks.
Jai the JB Hi-Fi guy.


On Thursday my laptop that was the replacement laptop for my old laptop that got dropped, which was actually a replacement for the laptop that Miss ? dropped a hot chocolate into... Ahh never mind!
I'll begin again.

On Thursday, my laptop decided it was going to go to heaven.
It gave me one warning, stuck out its tongue and turned up its toes.
To say I was disturbed is putting it mildly.
My laptop is my connection to you guys! To my blog, to Twitter, to my online store, to Candy Cush Saga y'all!!
On Sunday I went to JB Hi-Fi and stood amongst the bazillion other shoppers trying to make head or tail of the bazillions of different computers available. I knew I needed a laptop, with a decent graphics capability and good internet speed.
Somehow in all the noise and crazy that seems to be the hallmark of Sunday afternoon shoppers, I failed to convey those two needs adequately to my patient but harried salesman.

I brought home a cute little laptop, functional, petite and woefully inadequate for the job.
I spent yesterday trying valiantly to make the newcomer comply with my commands. Over and over it crashed. It refused to open apps, it refused to close down, it refused to turn off its fans. Worst of all, it refused to open twitter.
I didn't even try to download my art program to it, I just knew it couldn't cope. Poor baby computer.


This morning I went back to visit my salesman Jai.
Jai smiled, nodded and in a flash of a second, he was agreeing. Petite One was the wrong computer. Totally wrong. Not her fault, she was never made to get her hands that dirty.

Here's why Jai rocks. Within 7 minutes of my walking in to the store, I was walking out with a more suitable model. Jai didn't try to blame me for making the wrong choice and he didn't question my need to return Petite One. He helped me understand what I needed, and found a model that suited me. He smiled and agreed that Sunday Shoppers are crazy. He gently reprogrammed Petite One so she doesn't have to remember her traumatic visit to my house.

Then with a wave he sent me on my way, with Sturdy One.  A more robust, gutsy, graphic oriented, internet loving laptop.

Jai at Albury JB Hi-Fi , you made my day. Thankyou!!

Have you had good service lately? Give them some world wide loving xx

Linking with Jess for  I Blog On Tuesdays xxx

Monday, July 22, 2013

Obsessive Me - I Must Confess

Who are you when no-one's looking?

I am a slightly much more obsessive version of the person I am when others are watching.

I love lists, and while I can jot down a quick list in front of you, in private I will rewrite until it looks well spaced, has no spelling mistakes, is my best penmanship, on paper without blemish or tear and in the order I would like.

I like colour co-ordination, a fine tipped pen, crisp paper...
My whiteboard on the fridge looks like an easy plan...

but it took almost half an hour to complete and even now it mocks me in its imperfection. I am not certain about the spelling of potatoes, Sunday is unbalanced in comparison to the other days, and it definitely needs some green to balance the colours. (The bottom left corner of the page is also crumpled in this photo and that ANNOYS me.. perhaps I should retake the pic?)

I like colour co-ordination on the clothesline and it bothers me immensely that all the sheets in my linen cupboard aren't the same neutral tones.. what's with the random green one, and a set of floral purple sheets. With a bigger bank account I would just give every scrap in my linen cupboard to the op-shop and start over with just plain white sheets. No colours at all.

Book shelves annoy me. My counsellor (OH my gosh, yes! I go to one.. you don't think I keep all this crazy to myself do you??) has a messy bookshelf with different heights of books, different thicknesses and different themes all shoved in haphazardly. There are occasional piles of paper thrown in here and there... drives me bonkers! On my last visit I told her how distracting I found it... she thought it was hilarious and said this was all about challenging myself- gahhhhh!

Pantry items really bother me. Deep inside me is a woman who totally covets the Tupperware organisation system.

I crave it. But I also share the pantry with 5 people who totally don't give a crap that they put the vegemite back among the spices and the desiccated coconut alongside the pasta instead of on the baking shelf. Every couple of months I strip the pantry bare and re-shelve everything 'correctly', and then wait until it is unbearable again.

In order to tamp down this need to control everything into an orderly, pleasing format, I practice letting go, breathing, ignoring and accepting. I ignore the mess and crazy that goes with having a family. I don't let myself think about the towels on the floor or the bowls in the sink. The fact is, if I let OCD Lisa loose, I would clean until my fingers bled and still not feel like it was 'done'. I would scream at my kids all day for every fingerprint on the fridge, and I would probably vacuum the dogs.
Yes there is mess in my house, and I'm sure there are people who visit me who think I'm a little too relaxed about the house

But under the surface, there is obsessive compulsive Lisa just itching to get some order in the chaos, and she isn't sure she will find a balance between the two.

How do you find balance? What do you ignore to preserve your sanity?

Linking with Kirsty for I Must Confess On Mondays at My Home Truths

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Teddy wears a turtleneck

Teddy bear was very cute.
He was also very fluffy.
He was so fluffy that little bits of grass got stuck in his fur.
He was so fluffy that people thought he was a cushion and sat on him.
He was sooooo fluffy that he couldn't even see where he was going.

So Teddy's mummy got out her trusty clippers.
Teddy was not happy.
Teddy was very, very not happy.
Not only did she clip away all his lovely soft, warm, fluffy fur.
She also made him wear this humiliating pink turtleneck cardigan.
Poor teddy.

Even the cat laughed.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cake Pops are Stupid

2013 has surely been declared the year of the Cake Pop by confectioners and bakers of sweet morsels of yum.
This new phenomenon has brought forth the most astonishing bite sized creative masterpieces.
Check this out-

 From sweetly simple-

To cute and adorable-

So I thought I'd have a go... how hard can it be, right?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Spot the difference food-fail - IBOT

Yesterday I decided to make something luscious and decadent for today's lunchboxes.
I spent ages pouring through my recipe books and finally decided on these little gems.

Double Caramel Raisin Rolls , oozing with soft gooey, buttery caramel. 

They look divine and -wonder of wonders- I had all the ingredients in my cupboard.
I made the dough and it was smooth and silky, it rose beautifully.

I punched it down and kneaded it, then rolled it out to fill with soft butter, cinnamon, sugar and plump raisins, then rolled it up jelly roll fashion.
The base of the baking tray was spread with more butter, cinnamon and sugar and sprinkled with chopped pecans. Oh My!

The dough was sliced up and set in tray to rise again and the smell throughout the kitchen was beautiful. Who knew I was such a dynamic whiz in the kitchen ?

It was around this time that I started to fantasize about a possible stint on MasterChef. Oh the praise, the quiet nod of approval from Gary, George would roll his eyes in pleasure. How the public would adore this unassuming mum who could produce heaven on a plate without so much as breaking a sweat.

It was time to pop these babies in the oven and wait for the magic...

Twenty five minutes later it was time for the great unveiling and I wished Matt Preston was there to 'lift the cloche' . (I don't have one but I can pretend)


What The ??????

Where the heck is my gooey caramel?
Where is my melt-in-your-mouth buttery goodness?

I am choosing to not share the original recipe photo with the kids. I'll  tell them this is exactly how they are supposed to look, slather on the butter and honey and make myself a nice hot cup of tea.

This is why I am not a food blogger.
Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this sort of thing .....

Linking up with Jess..

Monday, July 15, 2013

I must confess... I'm a Granny - Bedazzle me!

It's true! 

With so much focus these days on retaining your youth and staying hip, happening and fashion forward, the fact is I'm a closet Granny!

School went back today and I was so excited. Not because I have the house to myself again (although that is a very large bonus) but because I can get my floors mopped and my bathrooms scrubbed !

I love to stitch. As in hand held embroidery stitching. I like back stitch and stem stitch and have been known to turn a french knot or 20 in my time.

I like a good hot cup of tea, in a fine china cup, with an Arnotts Scotch finger biscuit.

I talk to my dogs like they genuinely understand what I'm saying. I might have occasionally put bows in their hair to add a little colour on a drab day.

I tend to look at 90% of what the teens are wearing these days and think to myself  "Why would you ?", and "What on earth are their parents thinking?".

I own slippers. Multiple sets. A granny can never have too many slippers.

I am suspicious of any meal that is entirely cooked in a microwave. No matter what the research, I still find it hard to believe it can be good for you. My microwave is for reheating stuff and steaming vegies.

The TV is too loud. Noises are too loud. When my kids have their music blaring I wince and look for dark corners to hide in.

But the one thing that confirms that I am a granny is... I own a Bedazzler .

Shiny gems hot glued to any surface you like. I can't recall exactly how it came to live with me, I suspect a school white elephant stall, a small child and the need for the whinging to stop combined to bring this arts and crafts monster to our home.

Some people take Bedazzling to a whole new level of wrong...

When you've run out of clothing to glam up, you can always bedazzle your car..

Your face...

Your Taco...

Or your Va-Jayjay...

Disturbing in every way. I'm not sure my household is ready for this level of sexy! 

So come on, it's time to 'fess up. What do you have hidden in the back of your cupboards?

Linking up with Kirsty from My Home Truths , for I Must Confess on Monday

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Happy Birthday to my Mum

Obviously it's my Mum's birthday today. She and Dad are Grey Nomads, wandering around our beautiful country with their caravan and plenty of time to spend.
So we haven't been with her today as the nomads are way smarter than us and have gone in search of warmer beach weather, while we freeze our butts off.
'Here's my "Happy Birthday" tribute to the most important woman in my life. She has absolutely been the glue that holds me together.

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