Friday, November 14, 2014

Putin In Paradise

Russian war ships defiantly cruising towards Australian seas.
The misspelling of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's name by Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Threats of shirtfronting, and claims that no one in Russia knows who Tony Abbott is anyway.
It's all heating up as G20 hype meets fears about growing strains between Russia and Australia.
But, as with all issues, there is a silver lining in every climate-changing cloud, and if South Burnett officials are smart, they will reach for it.
You see, while local officials have been courting Turkish dignitaries, they've been fishing in the wrong pool. They should have been Shooting for Putin.
Forget the garbage-bin-free version of a newly-clean Brisbane, with its tree-lined riverbanks, and eerily uncrowded streets. And who needs to experience the glittery delights of the Treasury Casino, when one can try their hand at the pokies or have a go at winning the meat tray raffle at the Kingaroy RSL?
With claims that the G20 will bring upwards of $100 million in holidays to Queensland, I'm thinking not much of that will make it to the South Burnett unless some of these costly visitors get their VIP butts to the region, and check out what the country has to offer.
In fact, our own South Burnett and our neighbours could actually play a part in mending frosty relations between Australian and Russia.
For starters, we know that Russians have a spirit for socialising over drinks.
Perhaps Mr Abbott could invite Vlad to our comrade, the North Burnett? First up, a tour of the Bundaberg Distillery.
Instead of toasting a truce over vodka, the Kremlin's leader could talk tactics with his Aussie rival over tipples of one of our country's finest exports, Bundy Rum.
Imagine how a photo of Vlad and Tony shaking hands in front of the giant Bundaberg Beer bottle would go down in terms of warming relations - if not hearts - around the world?


Forget koalas. Why not do the Burnett thing, and cuddle a giant bottle of Bundy?

And in the spirit of growing mateship, the pair could return to their G20 business discussions via the South Burnett, where they could chat over cheese, argue over olives, or wrangle over wurst whilst sampling a few glasses of our region's finest wines.
They could sweeten foreign affairs by sharing a gluten-free, paleo-friendly snickers bar in the garden at The Giving Tree, or diving into an organic, Barkers Creek Pork and Apple Sauce Pie at Magpies (as long as a stinky pig or cattle truck hasn't just sped by.)
A visit wouldn't be complete without a trek at the Bunya Mountains, for another photo opportunity in front of a waterfall. This time Tony could even get out the red speedos and show Vlad how Aussies cool off when the climate debate gets steamy, while Putin can flex his muscle by removing his shirt.
Instead of a kick in the nuts, Tony could give his new-found Russki mate a slab of Taste South Burnett fudge, the afore-mentioned Bundaberg Rum, and a bag or two of peanuts - sugar-coated preferably, to make any political ill-feeling a little easier to swallow.
As for the infamous shirtfronting? Perhaps all thoughts of such manly nonsense could be put to one side, and Vlad could be handed a souvenir to take home instead - one of our own VLAD T-Shirts. Okay, it stands for Vicious Lawlessness Association Disestablishment rather than Vladimir, but we're sure, like Tony Abbott, not many people in Russia will know that either.
Na zdorovie! *


Tony Abbott could literally take Vladimir To Paradise at the Bunya Mountains

Where would you take Vladimir Putin on a tour Down Under? And what souvenir would you swap a bottle of Russian vodka for? 

*(Cheers in Russian)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Stuff that shits me #283


Cuddling a warm, loving doggie is the best medicine when you are feeling poorly. Miss 11 with Everybody Loves Lucy

There's been a lot of positive talk on Facebook recently, and for good reason.
With all the terrible things that are happening in the world, a few peeps are tagging others in a Five Days Of Gratitude challenge.
The idea is that for five days you post three things that you feel good about, that are positive, and that make you grateful. Kind of lightens the mood a little.
To be honest, I was a bit peeved when I was initially tagged by well-meaning friends.
I had my Cranky Pants on at the time.
Let's face it, it's winter, and that means Freaking Cold Weather in Kingaroy. (But no fun stuff like snow, or hot chocolate around a roaring log fire).
Plus, the kids have been sick off and on for months.
Traces of giardia are still in Miss 11's tummy with a few other parasites thrown in for good measure. Apparently, the giardia, plus the treatment has basically stripped her tummy of all the good stuff we all need to stay healthy, so she's going to be vulnerable to illnesses for some time.
And Mr 13 is still recovering from the middle ear infection, which makes every car drive more than 15 minutes or so such a pleasure. (He gets motion sickness really easily. It's BYOB in my car at the moment. Bring Your Own Bucket).
But after a while, I got into the positive stuff. It is quite nice to stop for a moment, and be grateful for all the things you DO have going right for you, rather than worrying about the things that are not. (So in tune with my Mindful approach to life as well.).
And after all, there are always loads of things to be grateful for at Chez MIA.
Like having my sick kids at home with me, and not at a hospital. Furry animal to cuddle up to instead of hot water bottles at night. And trips to Brisbane and beyond to feast on all the yummy foods we miss now we live in the country.
But to be honest, unicorn farts, glitter and nice stuff doesn't sit well with me. At least not all the time. Because life isn't like that.
I get all kinds of pissed off on a regular basis and I think it's about time I got some of it off my chest.
Time for another Stuff That Shits Me Post in fact.
You're welcome.

Stuff That Shits Me #283

- Our local Maccas, where staff insist on making you drive through and wait a billion and seventy hours * for your so-called fast food, just so they can make it look like they are fast. **

* Might be an exaggeration
** And yes, I shouldn't buy my kids McDonalds, particularly if I don't like the food or the service, but I am human, and give into Pester Power sometimes okay? 


- When so-called fast food places continually forget to give you Very Important Pieces of your order. Like Miss 11's snack wrap. Or potato and gravy. Lovely to get home to the fallout after that, since buying takeaway is meant to reduce stress, not enhance it.

- Never being able to get a freaking doctor's appointment in country Queensland. And when you do get one, it is then months to see a specialist.

- Couples who not only snog but practically tear their clothes off and do IT in front of you. This annoys me, A.They usually aren't the kind of people whose body parts you actually fancy seeing. And B. It is not me doing the tearing off of clothes and other business. Get a room people.

- People who don't let me watch My Shows, and/or who talk all the way through them. You know, important shows like Offspring, and House Husbands. I may talk through other peoples' shows, but that's different. (Also do not like people who talk during movies. Unless it is me.)

- The fact that on the rare occasions that my house is tidy and clean, no fecker ever visits. Eggs explode in the microwave, milo spills mysteriously onto the kitchen floor, and no one is wearing pants, and every men, woman and child drop by.

- That I get to look after a budgie. I don't own a budgie. A certain small human does. That person  begged and pleaded for that damn bird, and promised he would look after it. Guess who gets to feed it, water it, and clean out its disgusting cage? This is why we are not getting any more pets. (Until next time ..)

- People who buy your children expensive, noisy toys and then send them home with YOU. (The toys. And the children).

- Furbys. See above.

- Dickhead drivers. Enough said.

- That I can't seem to be any Free Nut Butter anywhere. I extensively research the supermarkets in every town/city I visit, and it no longer seems to be stocked anywhere. Yay, there are almond, cashew, macadamia and all other wonderful combinations of nutty spreads, but my son is allergic to all of them. Free Nut Butter is made from sunflower seeds and it rocks - plus it's one of the few sandwich toppings he will eat. Plus I love it too!

- Disappearing socks. Seriously, with all the money I've spent on socks over the years, I could have a swanky new car or taken a luxury overseas holiday. Mr 13, in particular, seems to lose socks on a weekly basis. Consequently, we never seem to be able to find matching pairs, no matter how many I buy. Seriously, what does he do with them?

And those are a few of my least favourite things.

What about you? Do you have things in life that shit you to tears?


Thank goodness for Lucy, who makes everyone feel so much better

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sushi, sickies, and sleep ins

It's the school holidays, so we have been enjoying a few lengthy sleep-ins at Chez MIA.

It was a brutal school term, with Miss 11 suffering from unexplained tummy pain for months. We've been back and forth to the local GPs, hospital, and even the chiropractor. Finally, one of the tests came back positive for giardia. (Our chiro had already picked up there was something in the bowel - how clever is she?)

After several weeks treatment, Harmonie seems to be on the mend. She's not complaining about tummy pain as much, and her appetite is finally making a reappearance. Considering a grumbling appendix was considered early in the game, and she was often in tears with the pain, I'm hoping this will be the end of it.

Harmonie also sprained her ankle badly earlier this term, which clipped the ninja's wings a bit. However, she insisted playing soccer on it and even participated in as many school sports as she could, scoring a first in shotput. (Those crutches gave her great guns!)


 Taking our mini-chiranian Lucy off to the RSPCA's Million Paws Walk, despite having a sore paw herself!

Mr 13 has been in the wars too. He's been suffering from headaches, nausea and motion sickness. The chiro and I diagnosed middle ear problems, and sure enough, a check-up revealed a viral middle ear infection which has to run its course. He's had a nasty case of plantar fasciitis as well, which has been tough on an active kid.

Photo of Hannah Kitteh, since the Man Child is photo-shy these days

The wee ones' illnesses have clipped our wings these holidays, and so far, we've spent a large part of it, sleeping in, watching videos, taking naps, playing games, reading books, and of course, catching up on medical appointments. We put off holiday plans while everyone tried to feel a little better.

The pets have loved it, wasting no time cuddling, massaging and pampering the kids. (Hannah Kitteh gives the best massages ever - but only if SHE wants to give them!)


On these chilly South Burnett nights and frosty mornings, there is nothing better than snuggling up with a pampered pet instead of rushing off to to school or appointments.

As for the blog, it went into overload when I featured The Psychic Twins and their thoughts about Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. 

Since then, Terry and Linda Jamison's belief that authorities should look at the pilot's role in the disappearance appear to have been vindicated with news that Malaysian authorities have named the plane's captain as the main suspect. 

Some of the comments on my page have been interesting too.

Meanwhile, Jame Oliver has been in for more of a battering (pun intended), with news that his veggie toys have been recalled for being dangerous. Then came the revelations (gasp!) that his 30 minute meals actually take much longer to prepare. (And cost a hell of a lot too!) Love that one chef set fire to her kitchen! Read the full story here.

We're hopefully setting off later this week for a few days of rest and relaxation, not to mention gorging ourselves on all the food and drink we miss in the country. For me, it's Japanese and Vietnamese food, Chase loves Boost Juice, and Harmonie's a fan of 7-11 Slurpees. And we all love sushi!

Usually we have to make sushi when we fancy some. It tastes so much nicer when it's made by someone else doesn't it? And when it's served on a little train?

How have your been spending the school holidays? And do you indulge on treats when you go away?

 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Food for thought ...

I'm not happy Jamie Oliver.
I'm sure you're a very lovely man. You seem like a caring husband and doting Dad.
I love that you want us all to eat our vegetables, and learn to cook good food fast rather than opt for takeaway that might kill us.
I even use a lot of your recipes - your Yorkshire Puddings are tops (though I'm not sure how good for us they are) - and Miss 11 and I quite enjoy sitting down to watch your shows.
But I'm pissed off at the current Jamie's Garden promotion at Woolworths.
Billed as Jamie's 'super-fun' fruit and vegetable garden adventure, the campaign aims to teach children (and adults I suppose) about healthy eating. There are a staggering 128 stickers to painstakingly collect, since you only get 1 pack for every $20 spent. And even at the rate at which my lot hoover up food, that takes a long time to collect, particularly when many stickers are copies.
I hate the whole card/sticker collection idea. It ends up with kids begging me to shop at Woollies. We've already been through the animal cards, and then the Dreamworks versions. And yes, I'm a Mean Mumma and don't shop at particular stores just because, but it still makes me cranky, because Pester Power is annoying.
Plus, because I am tight  budget-conscious, I refuse to be one of those parents who throws a magazine or a couple of chocolate bars onto the counter, just to get over the $20 mark. (Tech Guy, though, is another story. He can't resist Miss 11's pleading puppy dog eyes ...)
And the shop assistants will not give you an extra card, even if you spend $39.95 instead of $40. No amount of pleading or Harmonie's stage whisper: ("I thought she would give us an extra sticker Mum") will goad them into it. Nor will they give you the cards for the person before you who has just spent $400, but declined to collect.
(If said shopper is particularly nice, they will often offer to give you their stickers. God bless their souls).
Don't get me started on the fact that there are kids who don't even have a Woolworths in their area, so they miss out completely. So I really shouldn't complain.
Luckily, Mr 13 has grown out of collection fever, but Miss 11 is a huge fan. Both of you, Jamie, and your bloody stickers. It doesn't help that she loves gardening, growing her own food, planning our meals, and cooking as well. (See? Your work here is done).
So we are collecting, and this is the result ...


Jamie Oliver stickers and cards littered all over the house. The lounge, the floor, her bedroom, even the toilet for God's sake, are not safe from Jamie's Garden paraphenalia.

I shelled out $5 for a book for her to store her stickers in. She made a start, but still her stash appears to mate and spread throughout the house.



Then I weakened and bought an actual greenhouse to grow herbs in one day when it was on special. Reduced from $10.75 to $8, it came boxed up and looked like reasonable valuable, coming with seeds and dirt required to grow cress, chives, basil and coriander.


Doesn't it look pretty?

I can tell you it was a bugger of a thing to put together. Harmonie and I struggled for nearly two hours to put the damn thing together, but it was fiddly and really hard to push the plastic into shape. There were tears and tantrums, and that was just from me! In the end, we called for Tech Guy. Even he battled for some time, and several swear words were muttered before he emerged triumphant.



The mini greenhouse was really mini. As in tiny. Flimsy. I doubt it would survive more than five minutes in our chilly Kingaroy garden, or busy household of children and pets. Seriously, we'd have been better off sticking to our tried and tested method of growing plants in pots by the back door, for easy access, or in the garden, where they can run wild. We've still got to plant the bloody seeds, but quite frankly, I'm not sure I can cope with the pressure.

Sure, the Jamie's Garden range is cute and all. Some of the stickers are 3D-ish, and some are scratch and sniff. There are cute soft veggie characters to buy (note buy - it all costs money), and quite frankly I can't see how buying a child a phallic vegetable toy is going to make them eat said veggie. Yes, growing and cooking that veggie and making it taste yummy is the way to go, but do we have to be ripping off parents left, right and centre to do so? 


I'm particularly fond of Mr Broccoli. Reminds me of something ...

It's not parents who are left worse off by these kind of campaigns. Aussie farmers and suppliers have revealed they have been slugged with a so-called voluntary contribution towards the Jamie's Garden advertising campaign. While the Woolies people say suppliers aren't penalised if they don't pay up, farmers and growers fear their contracts will be compromised if they do not contribute.

Ausveg claims that growers will be slugged up to $300,000 due to the levy - which they feel would be far more appropriate being met by the company, which posted a $1.32 billion net profit in February.

So, while I once had a soft spot for Jamie Oliver, this whole money-making collection campaign has left rather a bad taste in my mouth. 

What has pissed you off lately? 



Friday, June 13, 2014

What really happened to Malaysian Airlines Flight 370?


 Linda Jamison (left) and sister Terry on the beach at Malibu, California. Photo by Ben Rothstein.


They were the only psychics to predict the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks.

And over the years, the incredible Jamison Twins, also known as The Psychic Twins, have reunited families, solved murder cases, found missing persons, saved marriages, and diagnosed illnesses using their unique gift of automatic writing.

I've known them since 9/11, when I interviewed them for Woman's Day magazine.

Their track record of predictions, often made on live television or radio, far before the events themselves occurred, spoke for itself.

Critics often say: Well why don't they tell anyone?

Quite frankly, they do! They have contacted the authorities where relevant, as far as they have been able to.

They have contacted media organisations like CNN, as well as authorities like police, and government organisations. Routinely, they aren't believed, are made fun of, ignored, or hung up on.

"Our terrorism predictions have been proven for more than 25 years," they say. "It's like they are trying to pretend we are invisible, like the missing (Malaysian Airlines) plane."

Smaller, independent media, thankfully, record their conversations and interviews, publish them, and pass them on. And they have thousands of believers around the world, including Australia, who contact them for readings, and tune in for their appearances on television and radio.

With the advent of social media, the twins are now active on twitter, facebook and the like, they can spread their messages further and wider.

They were the only psychics to not only predict the tragic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but to pretty much map out the bumbling search for the plane, the cover-ups, and the conspiracy theories, all before they happened. (And after doing all this, their website was hacked. All evidence points to someone/people from the US Government being the hacker/s).

They have also been the only psychics to really offer any hope or comfort to those families, friends and loved ones left behind to wonder about what happened to the innocent travellers on board.

I tried to pitch a story to the Australian magazines and newspapers I usually write for. The Psychic Twins, Terry and Linda Jamison, have a huge Australian following, particularly after my original Woman's Day story, where they also correctly predicted that Olivia Newton-John's errant lover Patrick McDermott had faked his death and would be found alive. However, I have been knocked back at every turn, which is strange considering the twins' insight is not only credible, but in the public interest as well.

To those who are suspicious of psychics, I can assure you the twins mean only good. And I can tell you I have been in journalism, writing, and a student of life long enough to know when people are genuine, and when they are not. And when they have a gift, and when they do not.

The twins have a message for the families and friends of those who were on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Those left behind have asked for anyone with clues, information, or insight to share it. And so, I do this here.

From Terry and Linda Jamison, The Psychic Twins: 

The families and friends of the 239 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now face the unimaginable challenge of grieving for a loved one whose final resting place may never be found.

They will have to somehow find a way to accept the possibility that the body of their loved one may never be recovered.

Even though there may be recovery of remnants of the plane, it may not ever be enough, and they are going to have to find a personal sense of peace in order to move forward with their lives. As time goes on, it may become easier to surrender and release feelings of powerlessness, rage and frustration.

Survivors will have to learn ways to hold their loved ones in their hearts. Positive memories, thoughts and prayers help.

No matter what the outcome may be, we pray each person finds the strength they need to continue to live their life with confidence, and find meaning in their lives because that is what your loved ones would want you to do.

A spiritual practice such as prayer and meditation can help tremendously. For the actual family members of the victims it will become necessary to forgive, whether it be the airline, authorities, or others whom they are holding responsible… This will take time. But healing is possible.

This event has caused unspeakable suffering for so many. These people need to get a sense of power and control back in their lives. Many will be consumed with overwhelming thoughts of revenge, others by fear of traveling, or fears of another possible attack. It will be normal to have these feelings.

We urge those who are grieving to connect with friends and family for support. It may become necessary to reach out to get grief or anger counseling or join a support group to deal with their emotions. Counselling is one powerful way that the two of us got through our own grief after 9/11, and it kept us grounded in the midst of all the chaos.

It may help to write one’s feelings down in a journal. Express your anger, frustration and sadness in a therapeutic setting. Also, creativity can be very healing. Write a letter to your loved one, plant a tree in memoriam. Celebrate your loved one’s life.

Nothing can ever separate you from your loved ones who have passed. We believe we all survive death and live on in the realm of spirit. One of the chapters in our book Psychic Intelligence can help you connect with those loved ones who have crossed over to the other side. Here is a quote from our book:

“We believe that the soul survives death. Every living thing is composed of energy and energy never dies, it simply changes form. Therefore, the soul is eternal and continues to exist on another plane after the death of the body… life does not stop with death.”

Now, there is plenty more to this story, and if you are interested, read on.

Basically on March 12, 2014, the twins predicted on a radio show, before any satellite or radar information was made public, that that they didn't believe there had been any mechanical failure or fire on board Malaysia Flight MH370.

"We believe this was a hijacking and we need to look at the pilot or pilots and maybe some of the passengers of board," they said. (Note: It is impossible to tell who is Terry or Linda when you are talking to them on the phone or listening to them on air, and they are fine with being called 'we' or 'they'.)

"We believe that this is maybe a new kind of paradigm of terrorism that we have never seen before.

"We are saying it is a hijacking. We feel that the pilot or pilots are the ones who took deliberate actions to re-route that plane for sinister purposes relating to some kind of political agenda or personal agenda. It was a very well-conceived and well-executed plan, probably for political purposes.

"At least one or two of the pilots, and one or two of the passengers were involved."

The twins fear the MH370 incident is terrorism of an unprecedented level not seen before, and that we may never know exactly what happened to the plane and passengers.

They point to cover-ups, secrets and information that has not been made public.

"We are sorry to say we do not feel that optimistic (that the plane will be found), but we are hopeful. We do not see it was possible to land the plane in the dark, in the jungle. We are hopeful, but we do not believe it is likely.

"The public may never know who did it or why. We do feel that more information will come out."

The twins believe the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean.

Want more? Here is an excerpt from the Psychic Twins' appearance TV show "Sisters for the Soul" March 20, 2014. Their predictions were later confirmed by the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Follow the twins on Facebook here and on twitter here.

Their official website is at www.psychictwins.com 

Do you believe? And what do you think happened to Malaysian Airlines Flight 370? 

(IMPORTANT: My deepest sympathies to the loved ones left behind. My only reason for publishing this post was to attempt to give them some peace, and to keep the search for answers alive.). 

The Jamison twins


 





Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A saviour for your phone



I'm not known for my agility and grace. I have trouble walking in high heels. I fall into pot holes, I trip over the cat. I'm always losing my phone, leaving it in the car, and even worse - dropping it! (The phone, not the car.)
My kids have a horrible habit of playing with my phone as well, and unfortunately they appear to have inherited my problems with co-ordination and memory.
So over the years there have been a lot of dropped, scratched, sat on, and broken phones. That's meant tears, expense, and hyperventilation as I've waited for said phones to be fixed, along with an inability to call, FB, text, email, instagram, tweet, or pin to pass the time. Hideous!
When we lived in the city, it was just bearable. Usually I could go to one of the places at a shopping centre and get it fixed within an hour or two, for a fairly affordable price. Problem solved.
In the country, it's more difficult to find someone who can fix a cracked iPhone or iPad quickly (anyone good is usually booked up well in advance.) And the lack of competition means it's usually more expensive here. Though things are getting better.
In the past, I've had phones drop out of my pocket when I've been cleaning the toilet, fly out of my handbag in the supermarket when I've been frantically searching for my wallet, drop out of the car onto the bitumen when I've opened the door, hurtle off the kitchen bench as if possessed, and fall onto the floor when a nameless child has left it where it shouldn't have been left.
I'm not sure what happened the last time my phone broke. I've tried several protective cases, but after a while find they interfere with texting or charging and I got annoyed and took them off.
Anyway, there had been a couple of small cracks on the screen which I'd been blissfully ignoring, until one morning I found it completely covered in cracks. Or course this was on a day when I was going to rely on my phone heavily.
I used it anyway, wincing every time, worried that every use would make the cracks worse and wreck my phone completely.
Fortunately, Tech Guy knew a guy who would fix it for me - but he'd have to order a replacement screen, which would take a few days.
Oh, they were the longest days ever.
I tried desperately not to use my phone but ironically people insisted on calling me more than ever.
Somehow, my phone lasted, and just as tiny shards started to break off, Tech Guy's friend rode up on his white horse and came to the rescue.
I had my phone back, but I worried: What would I do next time I broke it? (And believe me, there's a good chance of that.)
Fortuitously, I was given the chance to review a new product called the Saviour Glass Screen Guardian. (Get it? Save Your Glass Screen?)
Made of something called 9H glass, which is anti-scratch and anti-shatter, but so thin it almost could be plastic, the protector is like a guardian angel for your phone.
It's easy to put on too - almost like putting on a bandaid. There's also a video - with a bit of romance thrown in - to show someone going to town on a protected-screen with a hammer.


It's not going to protect me from any toilet-related incidents, and I wasn't brave enough to attack my phone with a hammer. (Nor did an attractive man come with my Saviour pack ... just saying).
I have, however, dragged my protected phone around in my crowded handbag, along with my keys, an open lip-gloss, and at one stage, Harmonie's shoe - don't ask. And I've dropped it at least twice. And it remains scratch-free, easy-to-clean, and crystal-clear.



Because the glass is only 0.3 mm thick it actually is barely noticeable. So my phone looks, feels and works like normal. But the glass has been specially strengthened for what they call 'superior impact protection'. 
I really love it, and at around $39.99 it's cheaper and way more convenient than breaking your phone and having to find someone to fix it - and quickly.
After all, we all know how traumatic inconvenient it is to be without our phones!


This is a photo I took of Harmonie (still on crutches after spraining her ankle and inflaming her Archilles Tendon a few weeks ago) with Lucy at the RSPCA Million Paws Walk recently. Just as clear as usual. 


And this is a photo of dumplings we were making later that night - still really clear

The only problem I had with my Saviour Glass Screen Guardian was this:

The lovely people from Saviour Glass actually sent me two kits for the purposes of this review. The first I put onto my phone, the second was going to be for Mr 13 or Tech Guy to review.

We put one on mine first, but it didn't look right from the get go. It was a bit smeary and blurry. But it worked okay and was pretty clear the next day. However a few days later, the glass fell off in my handbag. 

Looking back, the problem was that I didn't actually watch the 'how to' video before I applied the glass to the screen. There's a bit there about letting the screen dry after you wipe it with the supplied alcohol wipe (which gets any dirt or gunk off).

So then I grabbed the second kit (sorry guys, but my need is greater), and tried again. This time it worked perfectly ... and some two or three weeks later, having had all that rough treatment, is as good as new. 

Also, I must point out that at this stage, Saviour Glass Screen Guardians are only available for
Apple iPhone 4s/5/5c/5s; SamsungGalaxy S4, and Samsung Galaxy Note 3. You can buy them at Big W, and The Good Guys, with more to follow.

The great news is that the kind peeps at Saviour Glass Screen Guardian are giving 2 MIA followers a kit each to try for themselves. Each kit is valued at $39.95 and comes with the glass screen guardian, alcohol prep pad, microfibre cleaning cloth and button stickers.  

To enter, leave your tragic broken phone story in a comment below, or tell me why you'd love a guardian for your phone. Competition is open to people living in Australia and will close at 5pm AEST on Thursday June 12. 

Saviour Glass Screen Guardian provided me with two kits for the purposes of this post. 

 The competition has now closed and the winners are Robyn Pike and Dee Dee Potter. Please contact me so we can arrange to send you your prizes.




Saturday, May 31, 2014

Shopping like superheroes

Shopping with the kids is always interesting.
A recent outing included a mission to find pyjamas. Miss 11 was taken with a fetching Supergirl onesie from Best and Less and a Wonder Woman pop art wash cloth for bathtime.  Mr 13 would have grabbed a Batman onesie, but there weren't any in his size.  (We did find some Batman sleeping pants at Big W, which he's teaming with soft tops, so it's cool).
I tried to talk Tech Guy into buying the Superman onesie for himself, but he wasn't having a bar of it! 
What I loved was that not only were the Superhero range 25 per cent off, but when we got to the checkout, we were offered to choose a gift for free because we'd bought from that range.
There were colouring packs and other goodies, but with a little persuasion, Harmonie went for the Batman DVD, because she could watch it with Chase. Bless.


There was also this cute display that we had fun with.

(Harmonie has graduated from crutches to a cane since injuring her Archilles Tendon a few weeks ago)

And, if Miss 11 uploads a photo of her wearing her Superhero onesie, she could be in the draw to win a family trip to Dreamworld on the Gold Coast! (She's too shy to model it here...)

I love something for nothing so I thought I'd share a few other things that we've come across lately that we like.

- The Tigerair infrequent flyers club. A dig at more exclusive frequent flyers clubs, which reward passengers for flying regularly, Tigerair acknowledges that people don't fly very often and promises little.
There are no points, you can choose your own status, and you have to print out your own card! But members are promised early notice of deals and specials, and occasional perks and delights if you show your card on board.
And the first 5000 Infrequent Flyer Club members to join will receive a free flight voucher for $100, with more rewards planned in upcoming promotions.
"Most Australian travellers don’t fly often, or as often as they’d like, because it is just too expensive and therefore the merits of belonging to a frequent flyer program become pretty meaningless,” points out Tigerair head of communications Vanessa Regan.
I admit I'm biased, having flown Tigerair to Darwin and return recently (courtesy of Tigerair). But I have joined the Infrequent Flyer Club on my own because I enjoyed the experience so much. So far, so much nicer and friendlier than any domestic flight experience I've had in Australia in recent times.
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- Burgers. Or more correctly Ribs and Burgers on James Street, Brisbane

The doors opened at 11 am last week, and hundreds of ribs and burger fans trooped through in the hopes of winning on free burger a week for a year. (Restricted to the first 100 customers). 
This joint is loved by celebrities like Benji and Joel Madden,  Jonah Hill, Sonny Bill Williams, Pete Evans, MMA fighter Kimbo Slice, Italian soccer star Alessandria Del Piero, Rikki Lee and more. 
Now I live in country Queensland, I had to quietly sob as I turned down a VIP invitation to attend the opening. But I'm not going to begrudge city-dwellers (or country visitors) the pleasure of dining at this retro-butcher-meets-bistro-diner experience.
The basting brushed on the meat is a 40-year-old secret recipe privy to only a few members of the company. And even celebs can't pry the secret out of them.


Benji Madden doesn't mind a bite at Ribs and Burgers. (There are vegetarian options and salads too).


Look, I haven't tasted any of their burgers, ribs or salads yet, but the next time I'm in Brisbane - and that will be soon - I'll be making a bee-line for Ribs and Burgers. And dragging the kids along for the experience. Yes, I might go for a veggie option or salad, but I'm pretty sure my carnivore kids will be spoiled for choice. And we'll certainly be on the lookout for celebrities. (Actually my mini-masterchefs will be probably more interested in prying out the recipe for the secret Pink Sauce). 

- Blue Light Discos. The kids were attending the regular Blue Light Disco tonight as I wrote this post, and I'm so grateful to the police and volunteers who give their time to organise these events. They give kids the chance to experience a little freedom and independence from their parents and carers, but at the same time, they are fully supervised. In fact, at the Kingaroy Blue Light (I'm not sure if it's the same at all of them), parents can pre-register their children and their mobile phone numbers, so in the unlikely event of any emergency or problem, parents are contacted immediately. And children are only released to parents who must collect them from inside the hall where the disco is held.  There is no chance of a child being released to the wrong person, and any inappropriate activity gets jumped on immediately (and if serious, the offender banned). So while the kids might feel like their stepping out on their own, they're actually quite safe. And it gives the parents a little adult time too. There is a lovely atmosphere too, and it really gives kids the idea that police are approachable and ARE there to help them if there is a problem. And I thank the cops who give their time and energy to make this a safe and fun night out for all.

- Happy dogs (and a cat) Playing on a beach to Pharrell Williams's Happy. Watch the video and I defy you not to smile. Enough said.

Followers, what do you like about daily life? And do you ever find any extra little (pleasant) surprises when you are out and about or online? 
 





Friday, May 23, 2014

The one with the mole

It was the check-up I'd been meaning to have - the skin care scan.
I usually do this every six months to a year or so, thanks to a family history of melanoma, fair skin, freckles, and a fairly outdoorsy lifestyle.
But I'd been putting it off, as you do, because I've been busy, and I don't particularly like stripping off and exposing practically every inch of my body to someone I don't know very well. (Ahem).
But at a recent family gathering, three members of my family were looking pretty beaten up. One had a large plaster on her forehead after having a cancerous mole removed. My brother had a nasty-looking nose which was being treated too, and another relative had endured the burning off of sunspots on what seemed to be most of his face and head.
It was a wake-up call that regular skin checks are essential in Australia, and I was overdue for mine.
It was great that the lovely doctor had a student joining her for my scan, so two people got to see me in the near nicky-nude.
But they were both female and made me feel comfortable. 
I was worried about a couple of marks on my face and decolletage, but the doctor bypassed them to focus on a mole on my shoulder. It was different to the others on my skin, and she photographed it to show me.
It had an irregular border and a couple of different colours, so she thought it was best to remove it just in case.
I'm a bit of a sook, so it was inconvenient, but I thought nothing of it. I've had a few moles removed in the past, and quite a few suspicious spots burnt off.
I had a pretty sore shoulder for a few days - and later a very itchy one - and was aching to get the stitches out when I got the call to go back in.
The bad news was that the mole was a melanoma. The good news was we had found it early, and it was still small enough to be treated by simply getting rid of it. The doctor just had to go back in and chop away a bit more of my shoulder to be sure she had removed all the nasty stuff.
I have quite a few more stitches in my shoulder now, and I'm pretty sure there will be a bit of a scar, but I'm pleased it's all been dealt with quickly and easily. And unless something unpleasant shows up at the lab, that should be the end of it.
But I wondered what would have happened if I hadn't had my wake-up call a few weeks earlier? As it was it took me a few weeks to get an appointment, so I was lucky I acted promptly. I certainly hadn't noticed any changes (the melanoma was on my shoulder after all), so it was lucky that my relatives' experiences shook me up enough to book an appointment. 
These days there are so many scans, tests, screenings and check-ups we can have to keep healthy, but how often do we put them off because we're busy? Especially mothers, because we tend to look after everyone else's health and put our own last.
And yet, how would our kids cope if we weren't around to be there for them? If Mum falls apart, the whole family tends to struggle.
No one can help getting sick, but we can at least take advantage of every preventative and/or screening technology available to us.
As for my skin, I'll need to go every three months for check-ups from now on, and it will be another reminder to wear sunscreen daily.
If you've got any moles or spots you're concerned, you can go here for more information. (Thanks to the Australasian College of Dermatologists). But if in any doubt, see your doctor! 
We have so much more to lose than just a little skin.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Breakfast in bed and other stories ...



Hot on the heels of Mother’s Day, comes news that Queensland restaurants and cafĂ© are charging big bucks for breakfast.
I love a breakfast created for me by someone else as much as the next mother
But I must say I’m not up for paying $3.50 for a serve of butter when you’ve already shelled out $4.50 for a plate of dry toast. (Seriously? If you’re not happy about it, vote with your feet.)
Luckily, my Mother’s Day was served up to me in bed. And made at home, by my two mini-Masterchefs.
Yes, both children decided they needed to cook me breakfast, and even Tech Guy couldn’t convince them to work together to make just one. He did, however, do the supervision safety thing whilst making me a good cup of coffee – all while I enjoyed my longed-for sleep in.
I couldn’t fault the chefs, the barista, or the service, which was followed by presents in bed.

 Chase's perfectly cooked bacon and eggs

 Harmonie's cheese and bacon omelette 

I was a bit disappointed when Monday rolled around, and it was every woman for herself.
On normal working/school days, cereal and/or toast and fruit are usually the order of the day.
So I was intrigued when we were asked to trial Kelloggs Australia’s (http://www.kelloggs.com.au)  special ‘eat me crunchy’ bowls, which are designed to keep your cereal dry. And crunchy.


The idea is that you put the milk in the bottom of the bowl and let the cereal sit up top. Then you simply dip your cereal into the milk and eat. Perfect for someone who prefers the cereal to stay crunchy, not soft!
We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, breaking the overnight fast and kick-starting the metabolism, mind and body for the rest of the day.
Kids who eat have breakfast perform better at school (as do adults at work, study and play)), and we all tend to eat less when we’ve had a decent start to the day. You don’t need me to tell you.
Plus eating cereal is also way cheaper (and usually healthier) than eating out, and quicker as well during the morning rush. In fact a bowl of Kelloggs cereal would cost around 27 cents, depending on the size of the serving.
So even a serial cereal eater won’t break the bank, right?
But did you know that the way you eat your cereal reveals a lot about your personality.
Apparently so!

Food for thought? 

Even Buzzfeed has weighed in on the cereal debate!  
The good news is that Kelloggs is giving one lucky Maid In Australia follower a Breakfast Pack, delivered straight to your door.

The prize pack is valued at around $40 and includes:
-          4 x ‘eat me crunchy bowls’
-          4 x spoons
-          1 x Sultana Bran
-          1 x Corn Flakes
-          1 x Rice Bubbles
-          1 x Special K

So do you like your cereal crunchy, soft, or a mixture of both? Or even dry? Leave a comment below sharing your answer, to be in with a chance to win. Competition ends on Wednesday May 28 at 9 am AEST. Winner must live in Australia.

The competition has closed and the winner is sayanything. Please contact me so we can send out your prize.

Since I have not been contacted by sayanything, and all attempts to contact him/her, the competition has been redrawn. This time, the prize has gone to gauntstephen. PLEASE contact me, so Kelloggs can send out your prize. Thanks! 


Thursday, May 15, 2014

The party's over - but there is chocolate!


 A Max Brenner tutti frutti waffle

Do you have Mother's Day withdrawals? 
They are kind of like those after-birthday-let-down, post-holiday-downer, real-life-begins-after-the-wedding feelings. Where, after all the excitement leading up to the big day, and the event itself, life gets back to normal. And quite frankly, reality sucks.
No more sleep-ins or breakfasts in bed.
No new fluffy robes or bubble baths.
Who has time for all that?
It's back to leaping awake to the sound of the alarm. (Why does it always scare the crap out of me?). Herding the kids out of bed and into showers and uniforms.
Trying to get some food into everyone and dashing off to school.
No presents or chocolates.
Unless you're in Brisbane today.
Because if you're in Brisbane, and anywhere near Carindale, Max Brenner is opening his newest cafe.
And if you go to the Carindale store between 6-7 pm today (May 15, 2014), you'll be treated to a free Milk Hot Chocolat on Max.


Yes, much to the delight of Brisbane's chocoholics,  Max Brenner Chocolate by the Bald Man, is spreading its addictive chocolate culture even further with the opening of Max’s eighth chocolate bar in Queensland! 
The latest version of Australia's original chocolate bar is at Westfield Carindale, and houses a decadent selection of sweet treats, drinks and desserts.
With a playful, fun atmosphere, and a menu where every mouthful is more memorable than the last, Max Brenner is the perfect destination for every occasion, whether it’s a naughty catch up with friends, an after-school treat or a romantic date. Or a post Mother's Day pick-me-up! 
Max Brenner General Manager, Yael Kaminski, says it's no secret that Brisbane has a love affair with chocolate.
"More than a delicious hit for chocoholics, a visit to Max Brenner is a full sensory experience so we’re looking forward to meeting our new customers as we continue to spread our unique chocolate culture in Carindale.”
Favourites include sweet icons like the  Chocolate SoufflĂ© ($10.00), indulgent Choctails ($7.60-$8.60) or warm your fingers around the iconic Max Brenner Hug Mug and sip on their original Hot Chocolate ($5.50-6).
And don't forget, if you go to the Carindale store during Max's Power Hour (6-7pm) tonight, you can enjoy a free Milk Hot Chocolat. 

Max Brenner Carindale is located in Westfield, 1151 Creek Road, Carindale, QLD. Follow them on facebook at www.facebook.com/MBAustralia

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day - are you game?



There have been a lot of secret going-ons at Chez MIA this week.
Whispers here and there, secret conferences behind closed doors, and mystery shopping trips.
That can only mean one thing – Mother’s Day is almost here.
Usually the kids don’t have anyone to help them with Mother’s Day gear. They’ll do their home made cards, and if there’s a MD stall at school, I’ll give them money to buy something for me there.
Yes it's weird to pay for your own Mother's Day present, but that’s life, when you’re a single parent sometimes!
I’m lucky if MD involves a sleep-in. That’s if the kids can wait long enough to give me my well thought-out gifts, which are always interesting in themselves. One year, Chase gave me tea and biscuits (he ate the biscuits and drank the tea himself), whilst Harmonie gave me a beach towel. Because I clearly spend so much time on the beach! Just quietly, I think it was a hint...
There has been the World’s Best Mum fridge magnet, and Best Mum mug. And of course, all manner of trinkets and bling. Especially the handmade varieties, made with so much love, and which must be worn on special occasions.
My favourites have always been the home-made cards and drawings that used to come home from kindy, and later, prep and school.
There was the tea bag pinned to a card in the shape of a tea pot, so I could have a cup of tea and a break. The first time I got that one, I wept. True story. (Also? Tea, it seems, is something that Mums love.)
And the hand prints, to treasure when they are no longer leaving them smeared all over the walls and cupboards. (The first time I got those, they made a little water come into my eye also).
Not to mention the heartwarming surveys, carried out by well-meaning teachers and carers. (Some of those just made me cringe!)
One year, Harmonie’s question and answer session on me included the remarkable information that I:
Loved eating vegetables
Cleaning (Snort!)
Watching my 'shows'
And
Job: Making money with my computer (I hope the authorities don’t find out about that one!)
An early Chase survey proudly proclaimed that, in my spare time, Mummy liked to “watch adult movies”.
In any case, this year will be unusual, in that the kids have a partner in crime to help them plan a special Mother’s Day.
Tech Guy has taken them on top-secret shopping expeditions, and there have been a lot of meaningful looks and suspicious behaviour going on.
I suspect that this year, I will definitely be getting my sleep in!
I see, hear, and know nothing.
Meanwhile, as Mother’s Day approaches, it’s fitting that it’s been another busy week.
Harmonie performed in her first Eisteddfod (singing with her school choir). That brought back memories. I spent many a terrifying and cold day in that very same hall, performing piano with frozen hands, and later, speech and drama (not so scary).
That afternoon, she fell awkwardly after tripping on a display at Kingaroy Big W. It turned out, Harmonie has hurt her Archilles Tendon and ankle. The doctor doesn’t think it’s torn, but it needs strapping, anti-inflammatories, and crutches. (Sparking many jokes of the: 'Leave my crutch alone' variety.)
The same day, we found out that Chase’s headaches and dizziness are most likely to be migraines.Thankfully, these are probably not inherited by me, but are common in those of his age thanks to hormones and stress, and sleep deprivation (and he does suffer from insomnia, but thankfully that's improved a lot in the past few months). Who knew? Hopefully they won't be permanant.
We did have some light relief this week, at the Kingaroy EB Games Great Game Off for Starlight Week.
The kids' love for games is a double-edged sword for me. I love that there is something they are into, that they get to talk to other kids about, but it's hard to keep track on what's suitable and what's not. 
EB Games staff at all stores are always lovely to the kids, but particularly so, here. (And no, I'm not being paid to say that). They take care to give advice, chat about games, do special deals, or save them pocket money by recommending similar games that might be cheaper.  They'll also honestly tell me if something isn't suitable for the kids, and why, and suggest alternatives.
And, because we're dinosaurs, and have only one working TV in our house, I keep track of what they're playing but also get tired of hearing incessant gaming talk and noises. Hey, sometimes a mother just wants to watch her shows!


This event raised money for the Starlight Foundation, and contestants competed against each other in various games to win prizes.
At first, Tech Guy suggested it as a thing that Chase might like to do with him, but to our surprise, Harmonie announced, very firmly, that she would like to join in as well.
“Women can be good gamers too,” she said. (That’s my girl!) 


They all played excitedly, injured Miss 11 being provided with a chair, while I wished I was anywhere else cheered them on. 


Seriously, it was a fun night out, even for me, shocked at I was at being at a gamers' event. But after all, it was for a good cause! 


As Chase, and then Tech Guy were eliminated (the latter taken out by Miss 11 herself), Harmonie became the only female to make it through to the quarter and then semi-finals. 


Nearly the entire store of people (mainly grown men) were right behind her and cheering her on. It was a really warm atmosphere, with players encouraging each other rather than being excessively competitive. And it was really cool how the older gamers welcomed the younger ones, even giving them tips and advice.
Harmonie was finally defeated playing Driver San Francisco with an X-Box controller behind her back (one of the rules in that game) 
Afterwards, she was congratulated by all. She didn’t win, but was clearly the sentimental favourite of the night, and was quite happy with her efforts.


And as Friday arrived, the cat delivered a freshly killed mouse to our back door, Lucy dog had several close misses with the vet due to a penchant for escaping through tiny holes under the fence and leaping from peoples’ arms (she thinks she’s a Big Dog).
Finally, minutes before leaving to pick Harmonie up from school early to save her from an afternoon on watching sport on the sidelines, I was called to pick up Chase, who had taken ill.
No wonder I never get any work done.
The outlook is looking interesting for this mother’s day. How is it looking at your house?