Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Whoa Man land ~ IKEA listens and a quick giveaway

Is time running out for you to buy Dad something special for Fathers day... like it is for me ?
Well take Dad to IKEA !

Though my husband would rather wash the floors, clean bathrooms and scrub the driveway ...but wait !!

In celebration of Father's Day IKEA Homebush is launching MÄNLAND, the ultimate male crèche for 4 days only - Sept 1st to 4th

It's a complimentary in store male crèche, especially created for men to assist them to recover from the retail experience of shopping with their spouse.

MÄNLAND provides 30 mins of blissful leisure activities for him while you  enjoy unhindered spending opportunities shop.

Men can kick back and relax in a male haven offering everything from games of table football and arcade machines to non-stop sports coverage on TV, followed by massages to sooth the purchasing
pains and rounded off with a complimentary hotdog.

MÄNLAND  is answer for men who need to seek sanctuary from shopping stresses whilst allowing spouses heavy retail therapy to peruse IKEA at their leisure. (only 30 mins)

IKEA listened to women jokingly ask for a male  crèche as they’ve checked their children into SMALAND.Father’s Day was seen as an opportunity to trial the grownup version in the form of MÄNLAND.

What: MÄNLAND,IKEA’s in store crèche for men
Who: Suitable for all men18+
Price: Free
How: Signup at MÄNLAND.
Places are limited to 8 men per half hour session.

Women will receive a buzzer to retrieve their partners when their 30 mins is up
All attendees will receive a complimentary hotdog and non-­alcoholic drink
Where: IKEA Homebush Bay Drive, Sydney

When:  Thursday 1 September and Friday 2 September,11am to 7pm
              Saturday 3 September and Sunday 4 September, 10 am to 6pm

Remember IKEA doesn't sell socks - so check out these different ideas I think my DH would like

New shelves for his man cave (shed)

or maybe a laptop support

Also enter my quick giveaway to -

Win Dad a Flort Remote control pocket so he will never lose the remote again! Includes pockets for remote controls and a pocket on the back for newspapers and magazines x 3
Closes Sunday 4th Sept - 11.59pm.
Australian residents only.
Leave a comment telling what you would buy your Dad from IKEA ?

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Wordless Wednesday ~ Keeping Calm

Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere. ~ Glenn Turner

There are no rules but please can people come back to give comment love on the later entries :)
PS : This is the rocking chair from the farm on my Father in law's side. 

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

De - Stressing in the Garden

One of my favourite ways to de-stress is to get into the garden. It is of the best ways I know of reducing my stress ( discounting the thorns on my rose bushes which has me muttering and 'ouch'ing a few choice words out loud) .

Is there a better way to celebrate the arrival of Spring ?
Aug 30th 5.30pm

Love our garden seat -we are taking it.

Mia using my  foam Herb box for scratching post.
I didn't take this pic of our Backyard - taken in May
With the weather warming up over the last two weeks, it meant we have been able to get a lot done in Charlotte's garden and the backyard garden. I have taken cuttings of all our roses, pruned and tidied it all up. It looks very bare now. I'm only planting herbs at the moment so no vegies except maybe tomatoes if I can find someone to water them.

Whether you love tending roses, native shrubs, caring for your lawn or pot plants , or even just pulling out a few weeds it burns a few calories too. Gardening for me works off stress and brings  a little peace to our hectic lifestyle and more important the results are pleasing to the eye.
The wattle at the farm is blooming already (but going) and I have to think about our garden plans there.

My favourite garden magazine is ABC Gardening Australia magazine. I have stacks of back issues I keep stashed away (a lot were given to us).

I received a copy of September issue of  ABC Gardening Australia magazine in the mail yesterday. 

GARDENING AUSTRALIA magazine is born from the TV show, is the bible for novice gardeners and green thumbs, and is Australia's leading gardening title.)  This issue has so many ideas for me to start rolling up my sleeves , donning my gloves and pulling on my work boots.

I was excited to see there is an article about transplanting and moving an entire garden.
Imagine moving home and taking your entire garden with you, roots and all. 
Credit -click this link to see the issue
Also, in September, I like these green ideas  -
Gardening Australia explores the changes readers are making to reduce waste within their homes, with simple (and economical) ideas such as:

  • Nude Food - When shopping, choose low or no packaging and take your own bags (Nude food, was a term used by a 7 year old boy who wrote in, quite catchy!);
  •  Boxed Goodies – use empty cardboard food boxes to place vegie peelings and worm scraps in each day, then put the whole page into the worm bin- the worms eat the scraps and the box so there is no emptying and washing of buckets.

Out now , the September issue of ABC Gardening Australia magazine is available from ABC Shops, newsagencies, supermarkets or by subscription.
A perfect Father's day idea as subscriptions are 40% until 17/9 ~$47
Subscribe today on 1300 656 933 or see the website
for more information too.

I received a complimentary September copy only.
I chose to write this post myself because I enjoy the magazine.

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Giveaway ~ Shop smarter ~ win $20,000 in prizes with ALDI's bag full of savings

Lately I have been trying to shop smarter and keep to a budget (still a work in progress)
It isn't necessarily that I had anything in particular we were saving for, I'm just trying to live within our means and tread more lightly.

Like you saving every little bit helps. I bet we would all like to win a bag of savings ?
Switch and Save with ALDI and you can !

On September 1st, ALDI is launching a new promotion with a prize pool of $20,000 !

Just show ALDI in a 30sec video what you’re saving for and you could win $10,000 to make it happen.

Plus, there are 10 x $1,000 ALDI shopping vouchers for 10 finalists.

Deciding what you want to spend the $10,000 is up to you ???? 
Interested ?

Is your goldfish in need of an outdoor swimming pool?
Need a new kitchen or bathroom ?
Summer wardrobe ?

ALDI want to see and hear about what you are saving for

  • Record a 30 sec video
  • For more full competition details  go to website
  • Upload the video starting 1st September – cross your fingers that your creative genius wins you $10,000 cash, or 1 of the 10  $1,000 ALDI shopping vouchers for finalists.
 See  examples on ALDI website

ALDI - Making it happen promotion competition opens September 1, 2011 so get shooting your video.

Conditions - Competition ends 11:59pm AEDST on 27/10/2011 aged 16+
People are allowed more than one entry and the winners will be chosen by a panel of judges.

I love our local Aldi's and I recently discovered their website has a new shopping list tool.
I think it is great I can save money and time by creating a shopping list before I leave home and know the approx total of my list.
ALDI's handy new tool allows you to create a list of your favourite grocery items, compare prices and see what's new. Simply search and select the grocery item you need, and add it to your shopping list.

I know they might not have everything on the list because Fresh fruit, vegetables and region specific lines are excluded from the shopping list tool.

In a lot of cases , the only difference I have found between Aldi brands and the well known ones is the price. My kids can't tell the difference. You'll also find most of their products are the same low prices in every store in Australia.

There is also a free app is now available for iPhone and Android.

While you think about what you are saving for and your video entry- I have a giveaway of a ALDI Products Hamper valued at $100  !
See above !

Please follow EASY entry instructions in the Rafflecopter form -  it's easy just leave a comment below as per usual. The raffelcopter just numbers the entries and make it easier for me find the winner.
There are a few extra entry options.

Tell me what you are saving for or which ALDI product is your favourite ?

Open to Australia only
Good luck with ALDI Hamper and if you decide to enter a video.

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Monday, 29 August 2011

Cherish your cherubs ~ remember

Some of your may have read my twin birth story before but  tonight it remains the most important thing I remember.
Just over 5 yrs ago as I prepared to give birth to my twin sons, one month early, all I remember is being awake most of the night and scared. Lying alone in a hospital bed, not knowing what the daylight would bring.

My first birth was sadly induced after my daughter died in utero @26weeks. Her story is on my blog too but not her actual 'birthing' story. That is for another day. Charlotte's anniversary by the way, is this Thursday.

I wrote this over 18 months ago after S & J were born.Birth for me did not go to plan either time.

1st August was the official due date ~40wks. Due to 'twins' and breech my caesarean section was booked for 14th July . It couldn’t come quick enough.

During 35th - 36th week I was feeling very uncomfortable. I wasn’t sleeping much and was very tired. It was also the first week I hadn’t worked. My SIL had come down from Queensland to work for us (as her missionary mission’). It was good timing.

I was feeling a little itchy at times and in the back of my mind I remembered reading a few posts about it on a forum. I mentioned it to the Registrar at the High risk antenatal clinic when I went for my appointment on 29th June. I never asked him directly about Obstetric Cholestasis though.

The Professor (high risk OB) was away overseas so I didn't see him that visit. The week before Twin 1’s fluid level was in the lower range and there was a slight concern. So I had an extra scan on 29th June. The scan showed Twin 1’s fluid levels were normal again.

The Registrar just said it was common for increased itchiness due to twin pregnancy stretching the skin more and dryness etc and I was close to term. I accepted what he said because it wasn’t too bad.

Friday 30th June I was very tired and exhausted. I got up had breakfast and fell asleep in a recliner chair which we had borrowed. I found it hard to get comfortable elsewhere. I had some lunch and feel asleep again. I woke up and was so itchy all over. I was scratching myself so much and applying cold cloths and took a non drowsy antihistamine Claritine (after I checked on Internet it was safe). I knew it wasn’t right the way I was feeling. My DH came home and I very uncomfortable and irritable.

Not sure of what I did exactly when but -I checked the Internet forum for the thread again about itchiness; I rang the hospital and was put through to delivery suite and checked my pregnancy books again. I was sure it was obstetric cholestasis (OC). The risk of stillbirth was all I could think about. I couldn’t bear it, having had my precious Charlotte born still 22months before. Though her death had nothing to do with OC.

The Midwife said "Come in !" .

I had a feeling I wouldn’t be coming home again before their birth so I quickly grabbed a few things. I hadn’t packed my hospital bag. All week I meant to but I was so exhausted I never got around to it. My things were all pretty much laid out in one room.

We organised our DS and dropped him at a friend’s place. I was so upset and uncomfortable I couldn’t eat anything (big mistake). It was about 6.30 pm when we got to delivery suite and we went straight in. After a short while a MW came and asked a few questions, did some obs and said she would put CTG on me.

I knew the babies were moving okay but at the same time I was worried things could change in a matter of minutes. I just wanted to know they were okay. The CTG was fine she said. Then they came and took blood after 8pm.By this stage we were starving and there wasn’t anywhere open for food. I was wondering how long it was going to take and if I would be staying overnight or having the babies at all. A MW came and said sorry they were still waiting for blood results at about 9pm. At 10pm they came and said results were back and not right and they were waiting for another Dr to review them.

DH & I joked about making it to 1st July (when the Australian Govt baby bonus would rise from $3000 to $4000 for each baby) I didn’t care about the money I just wanted living babies. I remember wishing we hadn't forgotten the camera.

Finally after 11pm the Dr came and said I would be having the babies tomorrow morning by C/S (they were still breech), by emergency c/s. They had to call "The Neonatal Team" in by two.

Part of me didn’t want to have my babies @35wks4days - I was so scared of having premmie babies but worse about not having them. I knew they would be okay at this gestation. I was relieved in a way...

Around midnight they took me to the antenatal ward. I was weighed / temp /BP check / Obs etc, and settled into bed. DH went home.

They did another quick check with CTG machine but only to check for heartbeats, I then had to wait for Dr to come and put IV cannula in-about 1.30am.The MW said I was a bit dehydrated I said I haven’t eaten or had much to drink. I barely slept -The lady (also heavily pg) beside me had constipation issues so was up/down and I had so many things going through my mind. I wanted to keep feeling babies move to know they were okay. I watched the clock tick away to pass time.

I was up early for a shower/ shave by MW - all my plans to wax / trim and shave my legs and? - gone. Then I had to wait as they had two real emergency c/s. My Mum came in to wait and worry with us. Finally I was taken to OT at about 12.15pm.
Nervous you bet I was - but I had no tears yet.

After I was wheeled into what I think was a waiting bay DH was taken away to get changed. A few staff introduced themselves. As soon as I saw two midwives come in with clear bassinets I started to cry- it had taken me about 14yrs to get this far. I couldn’t imagine my babies in them. As they passed they said " Not long now -just getting everything ready" I was still alone.

Finally , I was wheeled into the OT - there was so much equipment. Things were explained to me and I was positioned for the spinal block. It was so awkward with my huge belly but when they injected the local into my back I hardly felt a thing.I was so nervous waiting for the needle to be inserted into the spinal area but more anxious of what was to follow.

I was laid flat with the bed tilted slightly then they started preparing me -I could feel them sloshing me with solution.I couldn’t see anything (1. a huge screen (1m high in front) .2. I couldn’t see anything anyway without my contacts or glasses). The registrar joked with me – “Now you’ll $10,000” [It was only $8000 actually ]

They tested my sensation with ice cubes - I had cold water dripping into my ears and finally I couldn’t feel anything. I felt like a beached whale with huge elephant legs.

Waiting...waiting - I the felt a tugging and stinging sensation .I didn’t know what was going on really. I was in a daze and could see nothing but green screen.

So just over 14 yrs twelve hours later at 12.51pm & 12.52 pm on July 1st our family had grown by 4 feet ...

Twenty fingers, twenty toes,
two sweet babies with cheeks of rose.
Born on the same day, two gifts from above,
lives entwined, two babies to love.
- Unknown
It happened so quickly too - I heard that first beautiful cry I waited for so long to hear what I missed with Charlotte.

Samuel was born 12.51pm and whisked away to be seen to suctioned and given O2- he was not even to be shown to us. Then a minute later (though it seemed longer) Joel was born 12.52pm. Another wondrous cry. He was also taken away to be suctioned and seen to. There was a flurry of activity and even the anaesthetist left me and went to where the boys where.

My DH told me later they called a code blue for Samuel to resuscitate him because he almost or did stop breathing. The anaesthetist came back and told me all was okay. They said they were taking the boys to NICU and some said 'we had better show mum before they go'. I saw them for maybe 10 secs and they were so wrapped up I barely saw them but gave them a quick hello and a little kiss.

Someone else had our camera so only a few photos were taken. My husband would not have been able to take any of the c/s - or else they would have been picking him off the floor.

I was then stitched up and taken to recovery. I had terrible pain despite a Patient controlled analgesia IV and I needed a few bolus doses it still didn’t help. I also just wanted to see my little babies and hold them first.

I stayed in recovery for about 1.5hrs then was taken back to antenatal ward. The only thing on my mind was seeing my boys again to make sure they were okay. My DH came and saw me and told me they were perfect and beautiful. Finally at about 8pm I was wheeled down still in my bed to NICU to finally hold and see my precious sons. I was amazed and thankful they took the bed into the NICU.

They were strong and perfect @ 2.8kg & 2.1kg . Fortunately apart from needing oxygen & suctioning at birth, and nasogastric tubes for feeding they were well premmies.

They were perfect in very way - my heart melted.I was overwhelmed with love and relief. I was in awe of their tiny features.So many emotions. I was glad they only had required feeding tubes. I only held them for a moment.

They spent 4 days in NICU, Not really long as far as some premmies go. It was mainly for temperature control and feeding . Then we were transferred to our local hospital special care nursery. That same day I was so ill I thought I was dying - I had a massive headache and was vomiting. It was raining too and I was so worried about everything.I vomited the whole time we were being transported in the car with nurse escort in back seat asking me if I was alright.

We arrived after 25 mins and I was put to bed after I saw them settled in... together again in twin crib. I was given anti-nausea injection and left to sleep. I was so relieved to wake up alive ... seriously.

We had two weeks there before they finally let us go home.I had just started breastfeeding S and was expressing still for J.

The day we walked out of the main entrance carrying S & J was surreal ... never in my (our) wildest dreams had we imagined.

22 months before we would walk out those same doors carrying not one but two precious babies...
22 months before all we carrying were broken dreams and hearts.

They had kept us in for so long because they said Sam wasn't feeding well ...lazy suck they said.I was instructed to continue top up bottle feeds of EBM ... yeh right! He never had another bottle because he only wanted to breastfeed.

I try not to dwell too much on my twin birth experience because all that mattered to me was they arrived alive after losing our daughter. Part of me wishes things their birth had been different and they could never have left my side, that I didn't have to be discharged without them, but I know none of that matters now. I can't imagine my life without them ...chaos and all.

Part 2

Have you joined Naomi @ Seven Cherubs Cherish your cherubs project
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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Up the dirt road ~ reaching for the stars

I have bloggers block today. Maybe ?
We have a big week ahead.
I have a lot I don't want to or can't talk about because it's scary or sad. I can't articulate my thoughts and emotions into the right words. It is sucking the mental and emotional energy right out of me.
I am staying in the present.

Instead I will tell you about a small boy overcoming adversity. Turning disability into ability.

I met the most inspiring and gorgeous little boy yesterday. T is almost 3 and was born with cerebral palsy. I don't know the full details.

The Drs. told his parents he wouldn't ever EAT (by mouth) or WALK ; NEVER do the things 'normal' little boys do.

How wrong they were ...

At the start of this year his feeding tube, in his stomach, was removed and he started eating food. He polished off apple pie and ice-cream no trouble at all yesterday.

T walks using a walking frame but can bunny hop like a little champion on his knees and using his hands.
He loves riding the motorbike with his dad and driving the car, both in a real car and while being pushed in toy ride on car.

He can talk pretty well too - clearly told me ... " All finished now " as he pushed the plate away when he wanted out of the chair at lunchtime. T drives his matchbox cars and toy trucks around on the ground, in the dirt and all. T only has sisters but clearly loves boy toys.

There is nothing stopping this incredible little boy , except the expectations of others.

He was very cute and engaging, waved and said "goodbye" to me several times with the biggest smile from the front seat of his dad's car.

Yes, he has immense special needs and a long road to travel but he is reaching for the stars.

PS - His parents are required to travel 400kms and back again to medical appointments. They don't get financial help for travel. In the country his splints cost $700 to have fitted, free in Sydney but traveling there costs $500. They still travel to Sydney because they feel the care is better.

(It's disappointing that our government doesn't allocate more resources for children and adults with unique special needs.)

It was a reminder for me to never underestimate what people (even small children) can do to overcome adversity and life challenges. Lucky T was too little to understand the words NEVER or CAN'T or WON'T.

T was the dearest little fellow.
His parents are certainly amazing too , to not listen to Drs. dire predictions.

Why did Drs focus on the things he would never do instead of what he might achieve??

When I think we have problems I only have to look around and see others traveling a much harder path.

It will be ok.

Some days I wish God had called me to be a taste tester at Ben&Jerry's (Mort Skipper) or Cadbury's chocolate factory ...

I am testing out Blogpress from my iPad today.
I am loving my iPad and I want to use it to it's potential.
Do you use Blogpress ?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 26 August 2011

Yellow makes me happy !

I know six years ago today, started out as any other Friday. TGIF.
It wasn't to be , on this day , Friday 26th August 2005, my Father passed away.

1. Beginnings. . ., 2. Daffodils., 3. daffodils in window, 4. Shine on you crazy diamond, 5. a moment of joy, 6. 03Apr18 Daffs, 7. Daffodils in Skagit Valley, 8. Daffodils, 9. Early Narcissus

I think I was already at work I don't know.Then I got a phone call (s). I think my mum called first to say my Dad had taken a bad turn overnight, that the hospital had called her to come in.

Then I think a Dr from hospital called me to say I'd better come in too.
I got there first and I waited .I know when Mum arrived, she had no idea it was so serious when they called us into the room outside intensive care. I know I knew from get go.

They said Dad was on life support and not expected to last the day or even the next few hours, they wanted to turn off the respirator keeping him alive.

Respectfully, they allowed us to call the rest of our family in and they waited 2 hrs for 14-15 loved ones to arrive. My husband, my brother & sister, their spouses, his brothers, his sister , few other in laws and a few friends. So as many as possible could be there to say goodbye.

Dad had AML -leukemia , blood cancer. He had traveled a rocky road with another tumour and radiation therapy, then a blood stem cell transplant from his brother. Graft vs host disease , was a complication of stem cell transplant was the main cause of his death.

In his memory I donated blood plasma today (Plasma is kind of yellow -straw coloured ) .
I know donating blood can help others - one donation can save 3 lives. Dad had many, many blood transfusions over the course of his treatment.

So please if you are able roll up your sleeve and donate blood or plasma regularly - do something amazing !

Did you know 34% of blood donations are used to help those with cancer and blood disorders. The largest % of all 19% causes of anaemia.

If you also think the one in two who gets cancer is one too many ...
Please support Daffodil day today , fundraising for cancer support, research and prevention and cancer awareness across the country.

Their phone support and advice was invaluable to us last year when my husband was diagnosed with cancer.

It is their 25th year ...the website has 25 faces of Hope.

I know I made a stupid mistake today.... I know I've learned an expensive lesson.

I know I'm very relieved we found our lost cow (well the neighbour found it) and that it is back safety in our paddocks. I know I was very concerned watching hubby chasing the stupid cow, through tress, bushes and up/down creek, banks, over rocks mostly on the motorbike. Glad it ended well and only after 2 attempts - we got her almost all the way back and she ran back to the other stray, still next door. That could have also been expensive had we lost her.

What do you know today ?

Joining in with Shae's ...
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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Thankful for small things

Small things and big thankfuls.

Yesterday I had to take my BAHA (hearing aid) into Darlinghurst for repair. I had a huge problem with the stupid %&$*#@ ticket machine at the train station. The short story - a boy about 17, dressed in the local High school uniform, came to my assistance and swapped his $1 coin for my change. My train was coming and I caught the train with 2 secs to spare.
This local HS has a poor reputation but the young guy's RAK was amazing.
Remind me to send the school a message about something GOOD !

Last week when my hubby went to the farm he noticed one of our eleven cows were missing.
This morning when he did a head count - still only ten.
Damn ! 
It meant cow number #12 (because #11 died after breaking her leg in the cattle crush) might be dead or with neighbours cows or gone ! It means possibly hours of searching too.
This afternoon a neighbour , from 1.5 kms down the road, drove up to say our missing heifer was on his property ...he could read our property name on the tag but not the phone number. A HUGE RELIEF !
Now we just have to work out how to get the cow back to our property.

It's good to be here at the farm. I am thankful .
There is so much stress in our life right now - I just feel a little bit calmer...
Tuesday's post is just not working !

 What are you thankful for ?

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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wordless Wednesday ~ Farm favourites

Aussie Wordless Wednesday

aged 3 1/2

There are no rules but please can people come back to comment on the later entries :)

We are off to the farm for a days and these are from Jan 2010 & the depths of my camera that I was never able to clear till I got my new laptop.

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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

10 ways to stress less while your husband is having an MRI

My husband is off having an Brain MRI right now , hopefully as we speak.

He had a follow up appointment with the Radiation Oncologist at Cancer care centre , all seems good. A huge relief .

Then he saw a Neurologist because of the the ongoing headaches. They decided they would do another MRI just to rule out anything, it's been 11 months and 1 weeks since his last one.

It was supposed to be 3 weeks ago but 15 mins after they booked the scan (7pm the same day after the appointments) by the time he had walked up to give/receive informative the machine had broken down.
They think it is more likely stress, and they told him to adjust his medications too.

I am not stressing. 

Last week , when Sam had his annual Neurofibromatosis  [NF1] review at the Children's hospital clinic . We saw the Specialist not just a registrar . She decided Sam needs a brain MRI too. Again just to rule out anything causing his vision changes.

The eye appointment 3 weeks ago shows his eyesight is slightly worse in left eye. The eye they can't see the optic nerve in because of the myelinated nerve fibres covering the disc.

In children his age they give them a trial mock MRI first to see if they will cooperate and lie still enough without a general anaesthetic. When I mentioned we were going away for 2 months in 3 weeks, she said let's try to get it done before you go...have n't heard yet.

If he can have it done without a GA the wait will not be as long. I am not stressing ... !

How do I stress less ?

(Just what I am doing)

I said to myself "I can manage at least a few of these every day" ...

He just called and is on his way home.
How do you cope with stress ?

Edited to Link up with Sif @ At the bottom of the garden's 10 things on Tuesday.
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