Today was Goody Bag Packing Day for the upcoming Mums’ Night Out!
This, basically, constitutes a heap of moving boxes from one side of the house to another, putting them up on various pieces of furniture, taking them off again, thinking “oh, fuck, where do I start” and then starting.
I did have two helpers of the adult variety and not of the My Children variety, which is extremely helpful.
Firstly, however, I had to work out how to get the bags into some sort of workable situation after Chippie had extracted from the box in which they were packaged, destroying said box in the process, and rolling around in them for a bit.
That sorted, we commenced the stuffing of bags from numerous, awesome sponsors which, after two hours, left the loungeroom looking somewhat akin to an explosion in a box factory.
It was mere seconds before the Grumpy One enquired as to what I was doing with the boxes, to which I suggested he might afford me a moment to chill with a cup of tea. I also mentioned something about the kids perhaps having a moment to play with them, before we both laughed hysterically. As though we’d let them have any sort of fun along those lines.
Unfortunately, however, we were both distracted significantly enough that all boxage remained and aforementioned offspring tended to it in their own way. They created A House.
And various other things because “there were boxes left over”.
Also, apparently, because “That is what little brothers are for” and we entered a long and convoluted discussion about the merits of forcibly stuffing younger siblings into box designs of your choice and how I would never have done anything like that to my little brothers.
(Tying one to the table leg with tea towels doesn’t count …)
Little brother got his own back
and I was suitably impressed with his shooting abilities given how often, and how forcefully his head had been rammed into a box he could barely see out of.
I no longer like my chances of having boxes removed any time in the near future.
But the bags are stuffed and ready to go!
I wrote a few weeks back about feeling Sad.
Part of that feeling, or, rather, contributing to that feeling is something I’m really struggling with. Something that is making me feel really, really uncomfortable. It’s confronting.
Not Depression. Although it’s that, too.
It’s the feeling of being loved. Important. Useful.
I don’t like the feeling and it makes me uncomfortable. It’s really, really difficult for me to accept.
For someone who not only spent their whole life believing they were unloveable, worthless, unimportant, useless, nothing but being told that by those that were supposed to love and protect them, to be told that they are loved and important … well, it’s hard to take.
I booked the tickets and rather than feel elated, I fell into a pit of despair and guilt.
I didn’t deserve to see them.
I didn’t deserve this good to happen to me.
But see them I did, and love the experience I also did.
I’m possibly more confronted now than at other times for a few reasons. Someone has said some stuff about me, to me, that wasn’t nice … whilst it hurt with a pain I cannot explain, and was untrue, it was also a comfort. It brought me back to where I feel I belong; that unloved, worthless state.
It evened out the confronting comments that I fundamentally know to be true, I just struggle to accept because, well … it’s just hard to accept.
For someone who is unlovable, to have someone say “I love you” is hard to hear.
For someone who is useless, it is difficult to hear someone say “Thank you”, to hear them say “You saved my life today”.
For someone who is worthless, to be told “Without you I wouldn’t be where I am today” is a challenge to hear.
To stand up and speak at the Support for Mums launch, to explain why I am of value enough to be the Chairperson is in complete contrast to the feelings I have of “what the fuck am I doing here?”
When I hear these things, and am accepted for these things, I feel like a complete fraud. I wonder when I will be found out, what they’ll do when they realise I’ve been faking it all along and I’m not really that person they think I am.
Yet, at the same time, I am intrinsically motivated to do those things that I do, and that I’ve done, that has caused people to think and say these things about me.
It would not be me if I didn’t do them, yet I find it so hard to accept that that’s how people see me.
Still, for someone as nothing as I am, being told I’m something to someone, even just one person, is a strange mix of elation and sadness.
Thank you for believing in me.
One day, soon, I will believe in myself as much as you believe in me.
I’m slowly getting there. Once, I would have argued with you. Now I will just accept and keep doing what I am doing.
Even if the feedback I get is uncomfortable.
So, I received this little electronic device the other day.
Apparently, “Lumpy potato has met it’s mash” and that kind of humour was so bad it made me snort my dinner out my nose.
It’s a Masha and it mashes potato.
(And other vegies and stuff.)
Meh, I did think, but was willing to give it a go, for mashed potatoes are a staple in his household and have been since well before mashing potato and a wide variety of other vegetables was required in order to introduce my offspring to proper foods.
(As it turned out, mashing wasn’t so much a requirement as, say, a trough, similar to those ones used to feed pigs. But anyhoo.)
So, basically, you plug it in, and it has a patented Rotor Cone technology that does a turny thing and smooshes the potato through the mesh around the sides, and makes it all smooth and delicious.
Prior to that, you cook and season the potatoes as you would normally, before mashing it with a hand held masher.
Aside from plugging it in, and holding the button to make the turny thing twirl, it’s about the same as your stock standard masher. Only a little quicker.
Thankfully, we had a penis-shaped potato to try it out on. It wouldn’t be our house, really, if there wasn’t ‘penis’ in one way or another involved in dinner preparation or conversation.
Our recipe for mash is pretty simple; peel the spud, chop it into little squares (hubby, the chef, does bigger chunks, but I think that takes too long so I complain at him a lot about it), put it in a pot of water, sprinkle in some salt, bring it to the boil, continue to boil for about 10 minutes or until you can jab a spud-piece with a knife and it slides in easily, drain, ideally without burning your fingers, swearing and dropping the pot into the sink, causing potato pieces to fly everywhere, add a ‘knob’ or butter or margarine, season with salt and pepper, add a splash of milk and … mash!
Voila! Mashed potato.
For those of you who like electronic gizmo things, this is an idea one to have on your person. Or in your cupboard, as you may be questioned as to why you would ever have one on your person and may be taken into custody.
Although, the rotating thingy is a hard-core plastic and contains no blades, so maybe you won’t be arrested. It also makes it a safe item to have around a family.
(Unless it is my family, who do things like try to see how it works and mashed potato flies around the kitchen – although I must say, the design of this thing significantly impeded mashed potato flying progress! Bonus!)
I admit I was a little sceptical because it is a) yet another gadget in my already severely restricted kitchen and b) a standard manual potato masher does the job pretty well.
However, upon consuming the mash the Masha produced, well, let’s just say it was a little like a oral orgasm.
The texture was divine!
I hadn’t even added more delicious things like small bits of crispy bacon, or cheese or other, mouth watering essentials. It was merely plain old mashed spud.
I have used it more than once, even though I think I can’t be bothered crawling into my horrendously designed ‘pantry’ (pfft!), locating it and dragging it out.
So, if you’re into gadgets or you are into good oral sensations, then I highly recommend a Masha.
Available from the PREPStore.
Disclaimer: I was not paid to conduct this review in any way, shape or form. I did not have a chef come out and prepare a nice, seven course meal for me nor even a simple serve of mashed potato. I was provided with the product in question to trial it and offer my opinion, if I chose to do so. No one has come and reconfigured the ‘pantry’ so it is of any use to anyone or anything, either. But the Masha is in there, ready and waiting further use
After a week of Full Body Exfoliations whilst I slept, you’d think my week couldn’t get any more exciting!
But it did!
Mother’s Day always makes me feel special.
I think it’s the being woken up extremely early, and well before I’m ready, by an excited child. It is lovely that he is over-excited on my behalf, but still … I’d like the sleep.
At least he turned the coffee machine on for me, and eventually brought one in for my pleasure.
Not, however, before he went and woke his older brother, extracting a somewhat grumpy “Piss off” from the pre-teen in the process. Tears, more swearing and yelling ensued, which woke the four year old, who clambered into bed, over my face with his knees, and causing excruciating pain to my right boob with his elbows and chin.
I was presented with the creativity from school (a cactus in a pot, the pot decorated by the ten year old as part of class work) and from kindergarten (a CD with his non-smiling photo on it, and some sparkly, shiny things). Nothing from the high school as that is ‘way uncool’ or something.
Chippie also made me a card …
It has a picture of a skunk on it because “that’s for Muvver’s Day” and Grumpy Pants suggested was highly appropriate so I muttered “get fucked” under my breath.
I was then presented with the pizza stone I knew I was getting, as Grumpy Pants asked me just three days ago if I would like one. I love to think that this is just a trick and my carefully dropped hints like “I’d really love one of those Samsung smart cameras. Maybe you could get me one for Mother’s Day” are taken on board and he’s just trying to distract me.
I did state, a day or two ago, to Monkey Boy (cos he listens) just what I wanted, and he looked at Grumpy Pants and said “now she’s gone and spoilt the surprise!”
Unfortunately, my ‘hints’ are a little too subtle, and he gave Monkey Boy some money to purchase said pizza stone, then Monkey Boy “tricked” me into taking them to Puckle Street so he could buy it, and he did an excellent job at trying to be clandestine about it all, but I knew. I did an equally good job at pretending I wasn’t clued in to what he was up to, so I didn’t upset or offend him.
All his effort had gone into hiding the purchase from me, as none had gone into wrapping it.
But that’s ok.
Then, the pizza cutter that came with it attached me and caused a terribly horrible gash in my finger.
After a cooked breakfast that included bacon (key ingredient 1) and spinach, none of which was cooked the way I like it, we embarked on a discussion about how I might like to spend my day.
Godzilla felt I should go out for the day and “do stuff with friends or something you want to do and we will be out of your way” as I suspect he wanted to stay home, but was generous enough to consider me in his thoughts.
Monkey Boy wanted to go to the aquarium, but Grumpy hates aquariums. I love them, so suggested I would happily go with Monkey Boy. Grumpy said it needs to be a family day and if that’s what I really wanted to do we would all go. I wanted a nice day, so stated I would prefer he actually not come along, as even though I like aquariums, him being there makes the whole experience not very nice and that would ruin my day.
So we go for a road trip where I recall there is a chocolate factory somewhere out the back of Ballarat. Or maybe it’s Bendigo. Whatevs. I always get those two mixed up.
Into the car we pile, where everyone is overtired and relatively subdued. Which is nice.
We come across a sign that says “cheeses” so we follow it, come across a farm that also has a winery and cellar door attached.
A cheese platter (Key ingredient number 2) and some wine (ingredient 2.5) were ordered and that was lunch … then my delightful family purchased me a jar of my all time favourite cheese and there was talk of me making pizza for the family for dinner. I don’t think so.
We drove along some more, did find the chocolate factory and stated quite loudly that I didn’t make it up at all! We bought some chocolate (key ingredient number 3), very expensive, good quality chocolate.
Arrive home where there are many arguments about what is happening for dinner. Monkey Boy has insisted he will make the pizza without any help, which I know is complete shit, even if the intention is good. I leave he and Grumpy Pants to it, pour myself a glass of wine and back slowly out of the kitchen and go and hide.
All in all, it turned out ok.
I do need to improve on my hint dropping though.
How was your Mother’s Day?
I know you’re all so enthralled with me overachieving, perfectionistic baking abilities that you so aspire to achieve yourselves, so I thought I’d share my latest with you.
The Kinder Cake Stall was upon us and I only had something like four of five weeks notice for it.
Which, of course, meant I was faffing about in the kitchen last night, just before 9.00p.m. avoiding watching Terminator II, which, quite frankly, got boring once the extremely young Arnold Schwarzenegger put some clothes on, and I was overcome with a sense of Guilt as I recalled the Kinder Cake Stall.
(As an aside, according to Terminator II the world was to end or something in 1997 – how old is that movie???)
Being so late in the evening, I did have a bit of a word to myself and decided that I would just not do it this year. Again. I think I managed to avoid every cake stall since the several I did when Monkey Boy was in kinder in 2005 … not because I didn’t want to, but because I was overwhelmed and extremely busy and important.
I really wanted to do one … or … something.
So, yes, I commenced baking at 9.30, because I had to sit back and listen to the voices in my head decide whether we had time to bake or not, and whether or not it would be ok to ‘just not do something’ this year. Again.
One of the voices … I’m not sure which, exactly, but clearly one that was ‘for’ baking something … won.
I have learnt from many, previous experiences that cupcakes don’t take as long to cook as a whole cake does; so I whipped up an easy cake mix and doled it into muffin thingies. I used muffin thingies as they are larger than cupcake thingies, therefore, you are only required to a great bit spoonful and plop it into each thingy, instead of carefully measure spoons, carefully placed into each thingy.
See … I’m not all stupid.
This morning, I fucked up a bowl of chocolate icing (cocoa, lumpy icing sugar and water) and thought I’d have enough to feed a 3rd world country, but as I have no clue, really, it turns out that my fucking up the measurements (all of which I made up inside my own head) was a good thing and I had Just Enough.
Some leftover Smarties I found in the back of the cupboard and, ta da we have a dozen cupcakes things for a cake stall.
Plus a few extra, because I have got this ‘portions’ thing SO worked out …
Of course, I was unable to meet the 8.00a.m. drop off time for said cakes, due to basketball games at inconvenient times. So I did the basketball thing, raced home, raced the cupcakes up to what was but is no longer the local shopping strip, almost delivered them to the wrong cakestall (operated by another kinder) and head home for the afternoon’s fun activities.
The last two nights I have been treated to a full body exfoliation as I slept.
I do wish it was some form of pre-Mother’s Day gift that was a genuine “Be pampered whilst you sleep” kind of gizmo.
Sadly, it wasn’t.
I suspected the source a few days ago, and this morning, my suspicions were confirmed when I located the shoes to place on Chippie’s feet for kinder.
Why he chose to remove his shoes whilst sitting in the middle of my bed, shrouded in a doona, I have no idea.
He does lots of things I am unable to fathom.
This is the sand that remains after I had dropped this particular shoe and left a small mound of sand on the carpet.
I’m not sure how this much sand fits in his shoe whilst his foot remains in it.
Children are a mystery to me …
Sitting around at that moment in the late afternoon which is a nothing moment; that void between the immediate after school activities and dinner preparation, where there is little time to actually do anything, where it is pointless to embark upon a new activity as you know you’ll have to stop it ‘shortly’.
So, we were just … sitting around.
I get up from my seat, stretch my arms above my head and mutter “My abs are sore” to no one in particular.
Without missing a beat, Monkey Boy enquires “Aren’t they called ‘flabs’?”
Grumpy Pants nearly chokes on his cup of tea whilst simultaneously snorting some out of his nose as he laughs. Then hi-fives Monkey Boy.
I’m left unsure as what to do, nor how to handle this moment.
Should I take offence?
Or feel proud at the speed of this clever comeback?
Routine is important.
Especially, in my opinion, at bedtime. We have followed, from day one with child one, a bath, book, bed kind of routine.
Well, we did in theory, anyway.
Bigger kids now do a bit of their own book and bed thing (or book whilst in bed) and one will shower for many, many hours each morning, forbidding anyone to come anywhere near the bathroom door whilst he is doing so, and the other big one will have a shower at random intervals during the week. He may go for days without one, and is likely to have a screaming tantrum when told, after three days or so, to have one.
The littlest one has a bath when we remember.
Still, brushing teeth before bedtime is a must and usually consists of a routine that encompasses Grumpy Pants and I gently reminding them to do so, followed by umpteen dozen requests to do so, interspersed with phrases such as “No, you cannot stay up and watch this, it is bedtime!” and “No, you cannot play your iPod, it is bedtime” and “You’re not watching this, it’s inappropriate. Besides, it’s bedtime – go and brush your teeth!”
Or … you know, this …
I had most of a day, alone, with Chippie yesterday.
I had another morning of it this morning.
This year’s routine is completely different to previous years, and something has changed just this term. I don’t know what, but something.
Where once he would happily play with his trains for hours, or drive Scoop, Muck and Dizzy over my hands as I tried to write, he now insists I “play wif” him.
He gets “very cross wif you” if you are not providing him with your undivided attention.
Given the unrelenting nature of of his demands, the frown face, clenched hands, stamping foot and reassurances that he is “getting very cross” wif me, I have opted to go with the flow, accept the changes and challenges and try not to smash my head against the wall at the prospect of playing Thomas the Tank Engine with the intense four year old.
I was fairly sure, for a start, that I would get the story wrong and experience more of his wrath.
Really, I’m no longer even allowed to help him build the track layout and, I do declare, I am a pretty awesome track layout designer with years of experience. No, I am now forbidden.
Grumpy is allowed to have a go, but his tracks usually end up “unsploded”. Essentially, this means they end up piled in the middle of the floor, along with trains, trucks and passenger coaches due to some form of terrorist plot that has yet to be explained in terms I can comprehend.
Monkey Boy is allowed to build the tracks, but there is usually some form of riff, as they are both so alike, yet have slightly differing views on how the track layout should go. Monkey Boy tends to take over and just tell Chippie what he wants.
I am now only allowed to “play wif” him.
Play usually consists of me being told where I can sit.
I am not allowed to touch anything.
I am not allowed to contribute to the story, make up voices for the engines, or move.
I am not allowed to even think about anything else.
I am not allowed to get up to make a MUG of coffee or get a drink of water.
It is times like these I contemplate doing yoga. Again.
(By ‘again’ obviously I mean “contemplating it” again, not actually doing it again. “Again” in this instance would require that I have actually done it in the first place.)
These are the areas in which I am granted permission to sit. I may not sit in any other spot, nor am I allowed to move outside of this area into one which is better suited to my ample frame and affords me the opportunity to, you know, breath and move and be comfortable:
Sometimes, in my travels, I meet some … people … lovely, inspiring, creative, talented, empowering and gross people.
My insanely crazy week, the last three days of which have included the launch for an organisation (Support For Mums), attending and working at an event (Kids Business Blogger’s Brunch) and fulfilling my dream of seeing Aerosmith live concluded today with being present at the launch of a new kid’s book by author, Adam Wallace.
Adam fulfils all the criteria I mentioned above about the people I have met. It was an honour to have been invited along to the launch of this book.
We – as in, my kids – have all of Adam’s books.
I met him at the local craft market (at Flemington race course) and was captivated by the book titled Better Out Than In, which I immediately purchased a copy (or possibly had my friend who attends this market with me purchase it as a gift for Monkey Boy).
Monkey Boy has always read well above his years, and finding appropriate books for him to read was a challenge at the best of times. This first book also came with audio, farts, vomit, snot, ear wax, pimples and more – it was pretty gross. And delighted the likes of my child, and every other child I knew who had read it.
Needless to say, we continued to purchase (or, my friend did, for various of my offspring whom happened to be having birthdays or Christmas coming up).
Including all his “How to Draw” books (like the “How to Draw a Dragon” where Grumpy Pants takes great delight in saying “is that a picture of Mummy?” whenever my kids draw a dragon).
After my children (and maybe one or two others) consumed two thirds of the snacks on hand, well all had a bit of ago at drawing a Balloon Kangaroo (also just released).
I think I did ok for someone who is about as good at drawing as a dead brick is I suspect it may have been the exceptional step-by-step instructions the book offers:
Into the line to purchase Better Out Than In Number Twos and watch all the other kids have their photos taken with Adam.
Book purchased and signed and I, too, asked if it was ok for a photo.
“Of course,” says Adam, because he is nice like that.
So I handed the phone to Monkey Boy so he could take said photo, then declined to have one himself, muttering something about “so embarrassing” and “not my mother” … I didn’t quite catch it all.
Upon arrival home, I was completely exhausted after my last few days, so curled up on the couch with the newest Adam Wallace (the book, not the person – I’m not sure his wife would like it) and read it in all its gross glory.
Thankfully, I am more than used to farting, so the levels of fart related grossness in the book was tolerable.
Between the snot, vomit, farts and pimples, I was right at home … in fact, it was a little too much like my home.
It was just as funny as it was gross, and just as appealing to my kids as all of that. They could relate and relate well.
The only thing lacking was talk of ‘penises’ but that probably wasn’t appropriate for this sort of book, nor for the audience in which it was intended.
The audience, I discovered is “primary school aged children” and not, *ahem*, their mothers.
Yeah, my kids loved it, too.
In short, great book for kids, boys and girls, especially because it says “fart” a lot and someone spews on their mum, and kids will be able to connect well with the characters in the story – just as Adam has connected with his inner, gross child and created this good reading.
Adam’s books are available at http://www.adam-wallace-books.com/
(Disclaimer because I have to, even though I hate that I have to – I was not paid to write this review/experience, nor was I paid to attend the Launch of Adam’s book. Adam has not even given me any vodka or a bottle of wine or anything! He does, however, always take the time to chat to me – and all his other customers – when we see him at the Flemington Market. We have paid for each and every book we have of Adam’s – either personally, or the kids have received them as gifts from a friend, whom has also not been paid for this review, she bought them herself. This is my genuine opinion of his books and of his person.)