Archive for the ‘Motherhood Musings’ Category

costcoSo, you are ready to take the plunge, pay your $60 membership and change the way you shop forever.  Well, you’d at least like to give it a go. Shopping at Costco is fun and has the potential to save you a lot of time and money whilst ensuring that you and your family eat smarter and better.  Before you sign up I have a few steps to ensure that this is a worthwhile experience and not one which ends up costing you a whole bundle of cash that you don’t have.

Step One: Look Before You Take the Plunge

Your first Costco shop has the potential to be a little overwhelming.  I recommend that you leave your purse at home (especially if you are likely to lack control with these things), and visit the store first.

Although you need a membership card to purchase anything at Costco, there are a couple of ways to have a look at the store before you take the leap.  Firstly, you are welcome to accompany a friend or relative who is a member already (they can bring up to 2 guests per visit).  Although you can’t buy anything, unless you sort it out with your friend cash-wise after, you can have a look around.  Alternatively, you can ask the store greeter if you might have a look.  Explain that you are hoping to get a membership, but before you do, you want to have a look around so you can better plan your first shop on another day.  They are usually happy to accommodate such a request.

Bring your smartphone with you and compare prices using the shopping app for some of the major supermarket retailers.  Be prepare to convert prices so as to take into account the larger sizes of the products at Costco.  You may like to take photographs of products, with the ticket alongside, so you can make closer comparisons at home.

Step Two: Sort Out and Write a List

Before your first shop you want to give your cupboards and pantry a good clean out.  Take time to consider where you will store some of the larger boxes.  You might be able to set aside a storage space in the shed or garage (for items that won’t perish or suffer with heat).  Don’t wait until you get home with all your plunder before you do this as it will become a nightmare.  Clean out your fridge and freezer.  We purchased a chest freezer prior to our first shop which was well worthwhile and Costco also sell these (in every size to suit every family).

Step Three:  Write a List

Once you have sorted out your storage, write out a list of everything that you normally buy.  You can do this on a Word or Excel document (which is great because you can add or delete things on whim).  I organise items in a logical order (the order I put them in the trolley), starting with personal care items, cleaning products, non-perishable food items, baked goods, followed by dairy, meat, fruit veg and frozen goods.  I also include a section for me to write any ‘out of the ordinary’ sundry items like cards, gift wrap or household goods.

Once you have your master list you can highlight anything on your list which you have ‘run-out’ of or will in the next week.   I also use a different colour highlighter to identify anything which I am not in critical need of but which I would purchase if a special price was on offer.

Costco publish coupons on their website every fortnight.   The term ‘coupons’ can be a little misleading.  It may help to think of them as simply special items on sale. You don’t need to have the coupons with you (they are automatically deducted at the checkout) but it is helpful to know ahead of time what is available at a special price on the day you visit.  When these coupons appear it is a great time to stockpile some of the everyday essentials that won’t perish.

Step Four: Gather Your Tools

Take your shopping list, pen, smartphone (to check prices or make calculations) along with a couple of bags.  You won’t need many bags when shopping at Costco.  Most things are in large boxes but it is helpful to have a bag to put smaller (or delicate) items in.  I also like to have a couple of cooler bags to put my cold items into.  You may need 3 to separate meat, dairy and frozen items from the fruit and vegetables, although it does depend on your preference for such things.

At home make sure you have cling film and snap lock bags ready (or on your shopping list).  You will need these when you get home.

Wear comfortable clothing and footwear.

Step Five:  Timing and Composing Yourself

Ideally plan your shop on a weekday.  Monday and Tuesday are quiet days and your first shop is bound to take longer.  I like to shop in the early morning as it allows me ample time to get items home and not need to rush to unpack before the kids come home from school.

When you arrive at the store, head straight for the Customer Service Desk (via the exit).  Here you can organise your membership card (you can do this online but you still need to come here to get your card so I don’t see the point really).  You might even like to compose yourself with a coffee or a cheap hotdog (I like to bribe errant children with these).

I like to work my way through the store in the order I have on my list.  Although I allow for a few impulse buys, it is important to be aware that the larger sizes of products mean that every ‘extra’ item you add from your list might be adding an addition $10-20 more on your total.  Be prepared that your first shop will be huge.  Some people like to put aside extra funds in anticipation of this.  I found that my first shop was 25% more than the total of my regular shop.  It might be more.  The good news is that your shopping total will slowly start to decline as the quantity of items you buy decreases (although my sceptical side suggests that some of this is replaced with items you wouldn’t have previously purchased).

Pay special attention to use by dates, especially for fresh items.  Although they can be quite long occasionally you can get tripped up.  A few weeks ago I nearly got caught out buying 2 kilograms of yoghurt that I didn’t have a hope of consuming in one week.  With this in mind consider what fresh items can be broken up and frozen for later use.  There are tonnes of blogs about with suggestions for what freezes well.  I often like to pick up a cheap BBQ chook on my way out of the store for the evening dinner.

After your shop most people find that there are still a few items they need to buy from the local supermarket or greengrocer. I like to buy most of my fruit locally.  For example, I can’t seem to get the little apples my kids like at Costco.  Some items (although not many), are simply not available so I get them at the supermarket, along with anything I only ever buy in small amounts.

When you get your bounty home, unpack as you normally would.  This is where you will appreciate all your earlier efforts getting organised.  I use this time to break up larger items into smaller lots to be frozen or stored at the back of my refrigerator for later.

What are your personal suggestions for making the most of your first Costco shop?  I’d love to hear from you.

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costcoWith the launch of US super-retailer Costco in Australia, thousands of people are joining the revolution, forking out $60 in annual membership to have the privilege to shop super-sized in the no-frills warehouse.  But is it all worth it?  Are there real savings to be had and how does one make best use of one’s membership?

For most people a membership at Costco has the potential to save you money.  Note please the emphasis on the word potential.  This is not guaranteed.  In fact, the amount which you will save, largely depends on a number of factors.

The size of your family and existing spending habits: Larger households, of course, have the potential to maximise ‘savings potential to the greatest extent.  However, even smaller families and couples can make a Costco membership pay for itself, especially if they are organised and/or are prepared to work with another family to share the benefits.

Your commitment to changing the way you currently shop: Most Australians shop weekly for the items they need in small amounts.  We are accustomed to purchasing the things we use daily on a weekly (or fortnightly basis).  Switching to Costco will fundamentally change the way you shop forever.  As a bulk buying warehouse, you purchase items in large sizes or in multipacks.  This means the amount of items you buy weekly will decrease but the size of those individual items will be greater.  Obviously, as you transition across to buying things in bulk you may find you are spending more than your normal average shop, however over time, as you add to your storehouse, this should settle down.

The risk here of course is that you spend the money that you save on other items you wouldn’t normally buy.  On the flip side you’ll be living and eating better as a family.

It is important to be aware that Costco specialises in good brands.  If you are a committed buyer of generic goods, you may find that a Costco membership is not worthwhile.

Your organisation as a householder and a consumer: To really get the most out of your membership it pays to be organised.  Know your prices.  Be prepared to be able to convert prices from the smaller price per unit to account for bulk buying or multipacks.  Don’t even think about going shopping without a list.  It is just too easy to be distracted and come home with a bundle of stuff you don’t need.  Organisation will also give focus to your shop.  You need to be able to evaluate clearly if you really can store 40 rolls of toilet paper.  Furthermore, you need to check expiry dates carefully.  It is no use getting a great buy on 2kg of yoghurt only having to dispose of half of it in 2 weeks!

Organisation is also crucial when it comes to storage.  When you get things home you may need to be prepared to spend an hour breaking products up into smaller amounts for freezing.  Make sure you have lots of freezer or snap-lock bags on hand for this.  You also need to make sure that you have organised you cupboards before you shop to enable you to store all your goodies safely when you get home.

Although I’d love to buy everything I need from Costco this is simply unrealistic.  There are always going to be a few items that I need to get from my local supermarket.  Dried dog food is a great example.  I could buy this in a massive bag from Costco.  Although my tiny Maltese terrier would take over a year to consume this amount and it would probably be stale by the time he did.  To maximise freshness, I also like to purchase smaller amounts of fruit and vegetables locally on an as-needed basis.

Your geographical proximity to a store: To really make the most of your membership, it helps to live reasonably close to the store.  Otherwise your visits will be sporadic and you probably won’t be able to make weekly use of the great offers on fuel.  However, even if you do live a distance away, organised shoppers can still reap the benefits, especially if they are prepared to do a monster shop monthly.  Sometimes it is a matter of thinking outside the box.  I live at least 25 minutes from my local Costco.  It is too far to pop in and make use of the petrol discounts.  However, I make a habit of filling up each time I visit.  Furthermore, my husband works 5 minutes away, so if I am running short of fuel we can swap cars in the morning.

 

**For more on making the most of your Costco membership, subscribe to this page and stay tuned for my follow-up article “How to prepare for my first Costco shop”.

What tips do you have for getting the most out of your Costco membership?

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There is nothing quite like toilet training to dissolve a normally organised household into chaos.  Somehow, in the midst of an Adelaide heat-wave, with temperatures in excess of 40 degrees centigrade, I thought that the time had come to ditch the nappies from my life forever.

In truth, the journey towards nappy freedom started about a month ago.  “Here you go.” I told my twenty-six month old daughter.  “It’s a potty.  You do your wees and poos in it, like a big girl.”  She screwed up her little face and laughed at me with loud abandon.  Perhaps it was just that the potty was clearly secondhand, green, covered in badly applied stickers with a very strong masculine theme; trucks and cars.  Perhaps she really was mocking me. At any rate I gave her a moment,   watching as she turned it over in her hands, tried it on for size (on her head mind), before casting it aside in preference for her yellow duck.  “No sweetheart,” I coaxed whilst proceeding to remove her nappy before sitting her down.  At this point big sister bustled into the room and demanded that she toilet train her little sister.  “Sure, go for it!”  If the kid wants a challenge give her one. I’ve heard a few stories about older siblings doing the training while Mum relaxes with a cup of tea ( although I suspect it was actually a gin and tonic).

To my surprise it worked.  Ten year olds really can work magic; and before I knew it she had our little one wee in the potty each night before her bath.  With Christmas and New Year sorted and the end of summer holidays looming (and my return to work in sight), I decided that it was time to take things to the next level.  Cold turkey.  It’s the only way to go.  No pull ups, no charts, jelly beans or stickers, just a pair of cotton knickers, a broom and a massive bottle of Pine O Clean.  I was ready.

I primed her the night before.  It went something like this.  “Tomorrow we will go to the shops and get you some big girl knickers okay.”

“Yep.”

“And you can pick out the ones you like.”

“Peppa Pig! Peppa Pig!”

“Okay. . .” I offered a little doubtfully, “maybe Mickey Mouse or something?”

“Yep.”

The next day at the shops she seemed so enthusiastic.  She proceeded to remind me at least ten times about the purpose for our visit.  We left the store forty minutes later both smiling and with enough undies to make Walt Disney grin quietly in his grave.   This was going to be fun.

You can stop laughing at me now because I just realised that I left out an important part of the story.  I started toilet training on Monday, AFTER I had shampooed the carpets Saturday AND laundered every sofa cover and cushion in the house.  I am clearly either stupid or delusional.

In fairness it has been a while since I have toilet trained a child (my middle child is now 8).  I suppose that I should have anticipated what was to come.  In true form she refused to use the potty and I spent a whole day chasing behind her with a bucket.  At one point my son noted, “Its kinda funny Mum how she keeps weeing in the same spot.  I think I have a puppy for a sister.”

“Yeah,” giggled Miss Ten, “It’s like she’s marking her territory.”  The pair of them stopped laughing about the time she smeared the clean sofa with poo.

Later that night, as I divulged the escapades of my day to my attentive husband, he asked with concern.  “Well how did you do it with the other two?”

“I dunno,” came my terse response.  “Perhaps they did it themselves?”

Hubby snorted.

“Nah.” I conceded.  “To be honest, I think my Mum did it.”

“Might be a good idea to leave it a bit then.”

“Yeah.” I agreed.  “Perhaps just until I go back to work.”

***Incidentally, the next day I resorted to the use of stickers and low and behold, she used the potty!

guilty

I was in the final stages of labor.  I’d been laboring for close to 36 hours and I’d got to that wonderful stage where I was told to push.  I say wonderful in an ironic way since there is nothing wonderful or indeed elegant about being on your back with your feet in stirrups, while a cast of thousands watch from the sidelines as your eyeballs pop out of your head and you intermittently turn it, voiding the contents of your guts into a plastic bag.  “I’m not really sure you’re pushing right love,” suggested my husband.  He’d have received a violent slap to the back of the head and more than a few terse words if I had the energy and my mind was not so focused on other matters.  At any rate, I heard the words, ingrained as they were upon my soul forever, nagging at me and winding thorns of guilt around my heart.  Welcome to motherhood, a land where you can expect to be perpetually dropped into a constant state of guilt.

Without going into too much detail, my first delivery ended badly.  If you have seen the Stephen King movie Carrie then you are on the right track.  Suffice to say that when everything turned pear shape my husband’s words were far more pertinent than I might ever have imagined.  Clearly I sucked at Motherhood, I couldn’t even deliver a baby without it turning into the kind of event where 3rd year medical students would pay good money for the honour of having a front row seat.  Quite a few years later the wounds were still raw.  As I sat alongside an old friend from my university days, she shared with me a golden nugget of wisdom; that success in childbirth was due to preparation, planning and mental focus.  I nearly asked for the papers to relinquish my parental rights on the spot.  I was none of these in childbirth, I sucked big time

Not only did I botch up childbirth but when it came down to it I sucked at a whole lot of things motherhood related.  Breastfeeding.  It seems to have been turned into something of a sport for which those who succeed are rewarded with accolades in the form of virtual medals.  Breastfeed for 3 months, you win a bronze, do it for 6 months a silver and for breastfeeding to the 12th month you will be serenaded with gold.  Heaven forbid if you feed beyond this, you’ll be viewed as some kind of hippie/exhibitionist who clearly gets off from whipping her bosoms out in public.  In all this though, my heart really bleeds for the poor dears who decide not to breastfeed for whatever reason, or those who give up in the first few weeks.  For them, Mother Guilt is rampant as they contend with the silent barbs that are tsks and tuts while suffering through the mournfully insincere looks of sympathy from other women in their Mother’s Group.

I won’t go into the deeply rooted problem that I have with Mother’s Groups.  That is another whole blog post in itself.  Instead, I will state here publicly that as far as Mother Guilt is concerned I have enough of it to cover many small sheets of paper and then wallpaper a small room.  A few standouts include:

  •  The day I sent my eight year old anaphylactic son to school with a muesli bar containing peanuts.
  •  All those nights (more than I care to admit) I couldn’t be arsed cooking so I made my husband pick up KFC on the way home.  My children will probably grow up to be obese and diabetic from their lack of having a nutritionally balanced meal every night.
  • A serious lack creativity when it comes to lunchboxes.  I fill them with crisps and small packets of treats no doubt filled with sugar and fat and sugar and fat.
  • I send my kids to bed “religiously” at 7 pm every night, not because they need the sleep but because by this time of night I really can’t bear another moment with them in my presence.
  • Sometimes when I’m in the car I turn the stereo up really loud so I don’t need to “pretend” to listen to their inane story about what they did in Science that day.

I’ll stop here because you are probably getting the idea.  Fortunately though, for every act that has burdened me with a layer of guilt, there are many more that make me feel quietly proud.  I will spare you the list (I’m no Saint).  Suffice to say, at the end of the day I do love my kids in a way that is immeasurable and totally irrational.   Rather than feel down about my foibles I prefer to embrace my Mother Guilt as merely a symptom of a love that proclaims, “You feel bad because you care”.

Where do you stand on this?  Are you willing to embrace your imperfections as a Mother?  I’d love to hear some of your greatest Mother Guilt moments.  Not because I want to berate you (I’ve probably done it too), but because I want to help you to celebrate your imperfections as a symptom of a human who cares absolutely, thereby absolving you from your guilt.

I blinked somewhere around late October and found myself at the beginning of December.  I’m not sure what happened but I suppose this is what is inclined to occur when you are busy.  Before I blink again and find myself in 2014 I thought it best to update you on what I’ve been doing since my last blog.

starwarscake

My son turns 8 on the 21st December.  It turned out to be a really crappy time to have a baby, what with the world being smothered in tinsel and Christmas trees around this time every year.  What can I say, it isn’t my fault, the little fellow wasn’t due until February (I thought I had it planned so well).  As a result we celebrated his special day last Saturday before everyone got too drenched in Christmas spirit.    It was Michael’s turn to have a cake.  This year he wanted a Star Wars theme.  Goodness me, I thought, I’m not so sure I can do cakes for little boys (let alone an older and infinitely more particular boy).  You see I am surrounded by little girls . . . literally.  Michael is the only boy on both sides of the family (last count I had 8 nieces, 2 daughters and Michael).  So, you see, I can’t say I’ve had much practise.  My only previous efforts included a Tardis which was a dismal failure.  It fell down in such a spectacular fashion that my kids still joke about it.  Needless to say I lost some sleep over this one.   Thankfully it didn’t fall down and my little man was as pleased as punch with it.

For those who may be interested I modelled Yoda out of gumpaste and the lettering is done with a very basic run-out of royal icing.  I used a pre-coloured RTR fondant to cover the chocolate mudcake and finished it off with some simple royal icing piping and a dual layered ribbon.   The top ribbon is printed with some great characters from the Star Wars movies and was a great little ebay find.  It is a simple little cake.  I am moderately happy with Yoda, who turned out to be tricky (oh so many wrinkles).  My husband thought he was a little on the tubby side and perhaps looked more like a troll!!!!

mincepies

I’ve also managed to fit in a little Christmas baking.  Here is my first batch of mince pies.  I made the mince a week ago, and with more than a half a bottle of brandy in the mix, I’m hoping they are something special.   To be honest I forgot to taste them yesterday when I made this batch, but my Mum tells me they are “fantastic”.

I did manage to drag myself from the kitchen and spend a considerable time at my computer over the past few weeks.  I started a  major revision of my manuscript which I only completed late last week.  I found the process somewhat arduous. I have made some huge changes, killed a lot of my darlings and invented a few more.  It needed to be done.  I’d like to start sending it out to publishers early next year but I might sit on my hands a little longer with it, show it around a bit more before I do.  For now though it is time to get serious about starting a new writing project.   I am heading back to the classroom in February and although I am only part-time I need to be realistic about what can be achieved in these circumstances.  Past experiences have taught me that teaching is both mentally and creatively draining.  I hope I get the balance right and can produce a new novel next year whilst managing to plan my lessons, grade work and still run around after three kids and a husband.

I’d love to hear your experiences of juggling your work with family and other commitments.  What keeps you sane?  How do you make time for the things you enjoy whilst still managing to keep your house clean and your kids fed?

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I’m a reasonably self assured woman.  In my 37 years on earth I have gathered a range of credits to my name; including 3 degrees, a successful career as a teacher and an emerging one as a writer.  Friends and family speak about me as being a fantastic juggler.  Somehow, I manage to do all this and feed and raise 3 young children, keep a reasonably clean and organised home and create the occasional cake.

Don’t be deceived.  I am also mistress in the art of illusion.   Despite having a good dose of self confidence I have many moments of self doubt.

I had a long time to get used to the fact that my 20 year school reunion was coming up.  I’m not sure exactly when, but more than a year ago I received a teeny message in my inbox announcing the good news.  “School reunion . . . eek,” a close friend had commented when I told her about it, “I didn’t even go to mine.  I try really hard to forget that school ever happened.”   I didn’t need to try to forget it.  I had.  Until I received that message.

For me high school was a disaster.  I was socially awkward the moment I walked through the gate.  In fact, on the first day, I developed a slight stutter that lasted for most of the first semester.  When the stutter disappeared I replaced it with a loud and obnoxious teenager who talked too much.  The picture was complicated further by highly developed feelings of inadequacy that found me constantly waging a losing battle to fit in.  It didn’t matter what I did, I was always going to be too fat, not rich enough, not having the right connections, never mind the fact that I always seemed to have the wrong hair and clothes.  I wanted to be one of the “cool crowd”  at my all girls Catholic college, but never seemed able to pull it all together.

Up until a week ago I was undecided about whether or not I would make an appearance at the reunion.  Exclusion; the favorite tool of the alpha female, had left its scars on my psyche.  Surely going to this event, no matter how well intended, would serve to open up old wounds?  In a weak moment, lured by the promise of a reunion with an old buddy not seen in more than 18 years, I paid my cash and made the commitment.

Crap.  That really was a weak moment.  A moment potentially only alleviated through the consumption of a whole bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon!

To cut a long story short the reunion was not a disaster requiring alcohol consumption of grandiose proportions.   It was a revelation of sorts.  Sitting in the car with an old friend just prior to entering, I confided my fears.  She was back, the stuttering and insecure teenager; although this time she had less pimples, better dress sense and bigger tits.

As it turned out, many of us held insecurities about the reunion.  For one woman it was about her unfounded belief that others had perceived her to be “promiscuous”.   For another it was related to the fact that she was heading towards 40 and still had not found Mr Right.  Yet another woman confided in me that she was tizzed about being in the same room as a frenemie.  I’m fairly certain that some others were weighing up their own achievements alongside others and feeling as though somewhere they may have fallen short of the mark. reunionchanges

In all honesty, I don’t think anyone missed the mark.  I shared a few drinks with a room of accomplished women each glowing with a beauty that only arrives with the wisdom of age.  Some were great mothers, others had captivating careers or interests, yet all were inspirational.  In the end I’m glad I went.  I’m glad that I had the chance to finally put to rest some of the painful experiences buried deep in my memory.   Besides, the chocolate and jelly bean bonboniere was brilliant.

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I have a two year old!  I can’t believe where the time has flown to.  I guess it just means I’ve been having fun.

I made this little cake for Rosie to celebrate.  It is strawberry cake with vanilla buttercream and fondant.  I modelled the little bear free hand.  I am pretty pleased with how she turned out.  The butterflies were Rosie’s idea.  She is butterfly obsessed at the moment.

I hope she likes it.

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A small cake to get my baking season started and to hone my cake decorating skills.

Spring is here and the time has come for me to set aside my sewing machine, don my apron and start baking.  I start with the deep Franciscan sighs every year at this time because this is when the celebrations start.

first birthday cake_n

3 tiers…what was I thinking????? It was my little girl’s first birthday but even I tend to think this was a little OTT.

I planned to ease myself into party season this year with a small cake to celebrate my daughter and niece’s First Holy Communion (see picture above).  In a couple of weeks I will be moving onto a Baptism cake for my baby niece, followed (in swift succession) by birthday cakes for each of my children.  I really start to curse once I get to December because by this time I not only have a cake to make for my son Michael, but also a Christmas cake and perhaps even a gingerbread house and an army of men to staff it.

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I created this to celebrate my parents 40th Wedding Anniversary. The violets nearly sent me around the twist but they were essential since they are the flowers that my Dad has always grown in his garden (the ones he so often picks for my Mum).

This year I will not allow spring and summer baking to consume me.  I will pace myself and strictly set aside some time to write.  Who knows? The sudden rush of sugar could send me off writing in a flurry.   Goodness me I do hope so.

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Agreed, and the more you read the better you will spell. I’d better keep reading in this case.

I’m convinced that the world has a problem with spelling.

Okay, I will admit it; I have a problem with spelling.  Try as I might the sight of an incorrectly spelt word irks me.  Misuse a homophone and for me it is like nails being driven down a blackboard.  I’m no spelling genius.  In fact, I don’t believe that there are many people on this planet that can claim this title.  As a general rule though, my spelling is acceptable, mostly accurate and I have a fairly good command of the spellchecking program.  Where spelling is concerned, I am old school.   I always have a dictionary (yes a hard copy version) alongside me when I write.

I make mistakes.  Apparently I committed a grossly indecent one the other day when I misspelt the name of a sports car, a Maserati, in a text message (I added an e at the end).  It would seem that this was an offense so severe it was observed as sacrilege by the recipient.  Give me strength!  Day in day out I am burdened with common and basic misuse of words.  Never mind how to spell the name of a sports car, the average person can no longer identify the correct place to use ‘to, too or two’ or (heaven forbid) get their head around when to use ‘there, they’re and their.’

Teachers spend a great deal of time teaching our children how to spell.  They give them lists of words each Monday to be learned in preparedness for their Friday spelling tests.  It always amazes me that these same teachers seem surprised when little Johnny has somehow forgotten how to spell a word he learned in his test a few weeks prior.  Perhaps they should spend this time getting them to read instead.

It is not just this that bugs me.  Why is it that my spellchecker program automatically reverts to US English? In schools we have given up asking students to use UK English.  Anything goes.   Facebook has recently installed a spellchecking program in its system.  It has lead to a vast improvement in the use of language (although you can forget homophones).  Evidently I can’t seem to spell anymore.  The system doesn’t recognise UK English and if this can be changed I have no idea how to do it.

Perhaps we do need to be more flexible when it comes to spelling.  Perhaps we just need to appreciate that the globalisation of the planet will ultimately lead to the extinction of UK English.  Irrespective of this reality I am not quite ready to surrender my S’s and replace them with Z’s just yet.

***My dear friends in bloggersphere; feel free to identify all my spelling errors.  I make mistakes and typos on a regular basis.  Just be sure that you are using a UK/Australian Dictionary before you contact me.***

jazz cat

I can do this surely???????

It’s that time of the year again.  The time of year when frazzled mothers’ race to their local Spotlight store, in a frantic dash to gather ammunition to create a last minute Book Week Parade costume.  I was there last Friday.  I was lost somewhere in between the red spandex and the fluorescent beaded goodness-knows-what.  My quest? To locate the appropriate white stretchy fabric to create the perfect Princess Leia costume for my eldest daughter.  As I walked past the ready-made costumes I cursed (probably out loud), “Why couldn’t that bloody kid choose to go as Harry Potter?”  No such luck.  My kids would never be so pedestrian as to select a costume I could purchase on sale at Spotlight.

Sunday afternoon it rained and so I accepted the challenge to manufacture the best Princess Leia costume in the history of Book Week.  I started sewing.  Even my recent purchase of a special needle with a rounded tip couldn’t help me.  Having established early on that this fabric was impossible to unpick, I did manage to construct the main body of the garment.  Everything fell apart when I attached the arms the wrong way out.  Somewhere in between this I could be heard screaming at my middle child (who was screaming at his baby sister), “Stop making such a racket or else . . . or else. . . I’m gonna’ expire and then you won’t get your own flaming costume!”  Master M promptly dissolved into tears and I gave up, defiantly tossing $15 worth of white slinky fabric into the bin.  “I can’t do it!” I told my daughter; “I need to learn to sew a bit better before I will be able to succeed in making a Princess Leia costume.”  I secretly sniggered knowing that by that time it will probably be the X-rated version.

Needless to say they both are going to school with their Book Week costumes tomorrow.  They’ll probably be cold but their spirits will no doubt keep them warm.  In the end Ellen has decided to wear a red dress we bought in Hong Kong.  It is about two sizes too small but I’ll make her wear leggings and she might resemble something from Adeline Yen Mah’s Chinese Cinderella. Michael will is going as a jazz piano playing cat from a picture book called Max and the Lost Note.  I’ll need to find some black face paint to create whiskers and a nose (I might even employ permanent texta).   Don’t even ask about the baby.  Thankfully she doesn’t go to school yet as that would definitely tip me over the edge.

Happy Book Week!  My commiserations to those of you undertaking the impossible this week.  Who even knew that you could cook, clean, iron and wash, all in addition to constructing a one metre high cardboard hat while you taxi your progeny to their mid-week basketball game?

I need my own costume.  Perhaps this is what it should be...with some magic lycra to magically erase my bumps and lumps!

I need my own costume. Perhaps this is what it should be…with some magic lycra to magically erase my bumps and lumps!