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If you are a parent (and even if you're not) you have probably heard the latest carry on in the news relating to children in public. In case you have been living under a rock and missed the story I have included the link: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2013/02/20/06/13/sydney-shopping-centre-bans-screaming-children

In a nut shell - a shopping centre in Dee Why, NSW has put up the following sign "screaming children will not be tolerated". This sign has been put up in the food court, where play equipment for children under 5 is located. Apparently patrons of the food court have complained that they are unable to enjoy a nice quiet cup of tea, or lunch because of the screaming children. This would seem much like putting a cafe on the tarmac at the airport, choosing to go there for your lunch and then complaining about the noise of the aeroplanes.

I'm sorry, but are are you fucking kidding me!? (Sorry about the harsh language - but I think it calls for it!). If people want a quiet cuppa, then suck it up and go to a quiet cafe, somewhere else. When did children's squeals and screams of delight become something we were just "tolerating"? How do you quantify which screams are unacceptable and which ones we will just live with? What are they going to do if you're child let's out an unapproved noise? Frog march you and you're child out of the food court Gestapo style, whilst people who can now go back to their quiet cuppa's give you the greasy eyeball on the way out?

Wow, way to teach our children about tolerance and acceptance of other's quirks and foibles? What if your child has learning difficulties or a disability? Is that ok? How do they then rate who can acceptably be frog marched out and who can stay without causing a discrimination charge to be slapped on the centre management? What if the mother is quietly going insane at home with their under five and has come out into the world to try and reconnect with society - is it ok to kick them out?

Look, I am all for trying to maintain some kind of civilization and stop ferals from running the joint but harassing mothers about the decibel there children may be able to attain does not make for a better cup of tea. It just makes for a pack of arseholes who have no tolerance for parenting or children in public.

Shame on you Dee Why Grand Shopping Centre - Shame. On. You.


 
 
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You know the old saying "buy a kid an expensive toy and they'll play with the box." Well, I thought I would skip the expense and the heartbreak of watching my child make eyes at the box and forego the toy by making the toy out of a box to start with. That and we had a perfectly good box hanging about just begging to be made into something else.



My little guy has shown a real interest in the oven of late and in an effort to move him away from the hot plates and not stifle his creativity I whipped up a little oven and hot plate for him. The whole thing took about 15 minutes (tops) to put together and he couldn't wait to "get cooking".

Just in case you wanted to have a go yourself I will give the low down on how I made mine.

I taped the top of the box closed and flipped it over and it became the bottom. The new top of the box was then covered over with a few sheets of white paper glued to the box. To create an even surface to glue down the hot plates. The "hot plates" were then made by cutting out a few different size circles from black paper I had hanging around (but if you had paper plates you could glue those down and it would be even easier).

The dials were added using a couple of flat sparkly beads but you could easily use buttons if you didn't have any beady type things. I then put three cuts into the front side to create the oven, leaving the fourth side joined so that he could open and close the oven door. I put two holes in the door and a length of string with a big button, so that he could easily open and shut the oven door. To finish off, I put a spare cooling rack in the oven to act like the base of the oven and gave him a muffin tin and some patty papers to put in, a pot and a mixing spoon. He loved it and has now been encouraging us to eat his pretend cakes and muffins all week.

Cheep, easy and lots of fun. Ticked all the boxes. Awesome.

Let me know if you have a go making your own box toy. I'd love to see some pics.

Cheers,

Lee
 
 
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It is very easy to stop and complain about what is happening in our lives. What is more difficult is taking a moment or two to be grateful for something we may already have.

What made you grateful this week? Made a new friend? Had coffee with an old one? A friend fell pregnant? The sun was shining? You got to put your feet up and enjoy your favourite drink?

Stop for a moment - think about it.

Mine was getting to enjoy some time in the pool with my family. It was hot, I was having a bad day and just having the cool water wash over me as I dived in made the difference. Seeing the smiling little faces of the three "boys" in my life as they tossed each other around the pool was icing on the cake.

There had to be at least one, if not  more of those special little moments this week that made me smile. What was yours??

Have a great weekend and I hope you had a special Valentines day. Mine was nice, flowers, breakfast made for me and out for a coffee and morning tea. Another moment to be grateful for.

Cheers,

Lee



 
 
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I predict you are going to channel your mother....
As a child there were many things my parents said to me which I promised I would never ever subject my children to, so you can only imagine my surprise at the amount of times I have stood there and my mother's voice has come out of my mouth.

Maybe it's because we feel so out of our depth with parenthood that we fall back on what we know and channel our parent's voices. Perhaps we have been so conditioned as children that we have no real choice but to automatically repeat the same phrase when confronted with the same situation. I have no answer.

I'll let you be the judge. I give you the 10 things I promised myself I would never say to my kids, but have...




1. Money doesn't grow on trees.

2. Because I said so.

3. We don't always get what we want.

4. Just because all your friends are doing it doesn't mean you have to

5. Would you like a smack?

6. There are kids in other countries who are starving and they'd love to eat the food you're turning your nose up at!

7. We should have called you "whingie" - you're very good at it.

8. Turn the TV over the News is about to start.
 
9. You are not going anywhere until you've eaten it.

10. I don't care if all your friends have one you're not getting it.

 
Got your own? I'd love to hear them - add them to the list.


Cheers,

Lee

 
 
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So here we are... back at Friday again and I have a very exciting announcement to make. Let me start by saying that I love getting presents but something that makes me just as happy is giving them, so you can only imagine how thrilled I am to announce the winner of the first ever giveaway on Mother Load today.

It goes without saying that I wish I could give an awesome personal planner to each and every person that filled out my survey and entered the competition but (sadly) there is only one winner. Drumroll please .... The winner is Sarah Armstrong. Yay for Sarah! Keep a look out in your inbox for details coming your way real soon Sarah.

Please don't feel too sad if you didn't win this one - you have not heard the last of Giveaways from Mother Load this year! So don't forget to subscribe to Mother Load and you won't miss out on my next competition or Giveaway!!

Happy Friday.


Cheers,

Lee

 
 
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If you are visiting Melbourne or live in Melbourne and have not made it to the Queen Vic Night Markets yet, here is your call to action.

The Night Markets run on a Wednesday night through the summer season and are a great place to take the whole family. There are 101 (well I don't know how many exactly - I didn't count) food stalls with a wide variety of foods to suit a range of tastes. There is also a Sangria Bar, cocktails and the most delicious desserts.

Whilst all this tantalising food is grabbing your attention there are also lots of arty, crafty stalls to look at and bands playing. The atmosphere is amazing but it gets crowded early - so get in earlier if you would like time to grab a table to enjoy all this delicious stuff.

The Night Markets are still on until Feb 27th so get out there and experience all that Melbourne has to offer.

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Get there early to get a table - as you can see the Markets are very popular!!
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Bands and Buskers. Music is all around - lots of stuff to get you tapping your feet.
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A look at some of the tasty desserts available. These are honey dumplings with ice cream and chocolate. It was as yummy as it looked!
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Lots of atmosphere, things to see and spaces to hang out.
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Cello Joe the busker.
Don't forget that the winner for the Awesome Personal Planner is being drawn tomorrow and announced on Friday. So you still have a little bit of time to enter this survey and be in the running to win.

Cheers

Lee
 
 
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The body is an amazing thing. It gets us to where we want to go, it can create another life but it's not until it is broken that we really appreciate it for what it is. I have spent so much time wishing I looked like someone else and the really hard thing to swallow is the older I get the more I realise how much I should have liked what I already had in the first place. 

Well, here's the thing. I disclosed this in a blog post not so long ago but just in case you missed it, I just turned 42. Yep 42. It's funny that when you're young everyone over 30 looks ancient but when you get to 40 - you think everyone who is 40 is practically a babe in the woods and even 60 isn't looking that old. Well, it seems that looking fabulous has now come in a dismal second to remaining healthy and I'm not even doing a great job as that. 

It appeared that I turned 40 and everything turned to shit. I know that sounds a little over dramatic, so I will expand on that.  I try to be healthy, I work out, I try to eat right (yes, I know I love a good cake... but who doesn't!?) and in general I try to look after myself but it seems that this has made no real difference. It's looking like 40 is the tipping point whether you looked after yourself or not. Once I turned 40 I got plantar faciitis - in a nutshell - it is a painful throbbing under my foot near the heal which some days is so bad I have to limp. Off to the gym to do my step and attack classes with booming music and some fast paced cardio - I think not. Once you start yapping to people about having it, you'll be surprised by the sheer number of people out there suffering with it and the really exciting thing about it (not), is that once you have it you always have it. So it is likely to reoccur even once it's sorted - you just don't know when (Yay - a surprise).

I know what you are thinking, boo hoo, get over yourself - but I am sad to say it has really affected my life. Another great joy of hitting 40 is that it becomes so much easier to put on weight and harder to get it off. So my usual routine of slogging it out at the gym to sort all that out has now been put to a stop as well. Far out! It's coming at me from all sides.

Not to be deterred and doing my best to continue to care for this body, I took myself off to a naturopath to help with the fact that I was feeling a little over it all and was pretty much tired all the time (well, tired and angry actually but we will just stick with tired at the moment). He recommended a number of tests to check my levels were all where they should be. Surprisingly my vitamin D level was great (which is funny as I don't ever stand in direct sun light and pretty much run from one shady spot to the next) and my iron was excellent. But - and here's one I didn't see coming, I have high cholesterol. What?! It turns out you don't have to be overweight to suffer from it (that's a myth).

I don't know what my next move is going to be other than cutting back on the cakes and biscuits (talk about sucking the joy out of my life) but I know what the next thing I will be researching online is going to be.

Have you just hit a milestone with your age? I hope your handling it better than I appear to be... let me know.

Cheers,

Lee



 
 
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I was perusing my Facebook page the other day when I came across a post from a friend of mine. Now let's be clear it is a Facebook friend not one I have in "real" life but one I find interesting none the less.
 
The post was on adversity and overcoming events in your life. He talked about things that he had overcome and how he was still able to move on in his life with a sense of purpose and joy.

Now it is not my place to mention someone else's traumatic events so I will not be going into what happened to him but I must add that once I had read his story and just one other friends (who had commented underneath) and I realised the enormity of what they had overcome I realised how much I had to be grateful.

My parents are divorced, my family is a little fractured, I live in a different state to every  person I am related to but these problems were so small and insignificant next to these two peoples worries. I thought perhaps it was time I took a moment to reflect on what I was thankful for in my life, not just focus on the areas I issue with.

This is not to say that I now believe you have to have something huge happen before you can worry about anything or count it as a worthwhile event in your life. I mean, how big does a bump in the road have to be to count as something big?? I believe that problems are very subjective and personal to each person but what I really wanted to focus on here was joy. Moments of happiness. To think about, to dwell on, to enjoy.

So each week on a Friday I am going to share with you something that gave my life joy, purpose and meaning that week and I would love it if you would share yours with me.

So to start of the very first TGIF (Thank God It's Friday) post I give you my moment of happiness from this week the first of February. (Imagine a litle bit of fanfare here - you know streamers, trumpets ... that kind of thing)

This morning I play wrestled with my two (and a half ) year old little guy on the lounge room floor and as I held him down I smothered his face with light kisses. He laughed with such joy and abandon that it filled my heart with joy.

There - that's it. Simple. But the thought of that moment even while he is asleep having his afternoon nap still brings a smile to my face.

I would love to hear you moment of joy from this week. What was it??

Cheers,

Lee