Tuesday, 25 September 2007

RIP, PopMan 3000

I left my popcorn machine to run for a wee bit too long. I had a tea towel over it, to prevent most of the popcorn flying across the room as it careened out of the chute, but unfortunately I forgot that a popcorn machine gets hot. I know! Who knew, right?

Ahem. The mechanism that heats and spins the kernels still works, but because the chute is all melty melty, the popped goodness can't escape, and so ends up as a caked in mess on the bottom. Not that I tried to pop another batch after meltdown occurred or anything. I'm just making an educated guess.

I'm sad. I bought a whole new bag of popcorn, too. Back to the stone age method of stove top popping. Barbaric.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Why did nobody tell them it was a bad idea?

As cute as the children look in their school uniforms -- and believe me, putting aside my extreme bias towards my own adorable children, all of the kids look fabulous -- did none of the higher-ups think that white polo shirts plus small, grubby children equals Bad Idea?

Over the summer, as I was buying uniforms and ironing her name onto them, I held onto this irrational hope that she wouldn't come home a filthy mess every day. Oh, I joked with other mothers about gravy stains and paint splodges, but I still hoped for cleanliness. A week after school starts, and reality has hit me full on. There is no way this child can stay clean for more than three minutes put together. She uses her top as a napkin, for one thing. I have been lax in the hygiene department, I see that now. I haven't taught my children proper hand wiping etiquette, eg, do not wipe food/bogies/marker fuzz onto your clothing.

Because my Eldest is now a "Big Kid," she comes complete with sighing, foot stomping, hair flipping, eye rolling and under-the-breath muttering. So if I have to remind her five times in five minutes to stop wiping her hands on her top, she will get indignant and swear up and down that she didn't do such a thing.

She has two pinafore dresses, and being navy blue, can hide dirty hand wipes easier. I thought I had it made last week, when I sent her to school in one. "Excellent!" thought I, "That white polo shirt will stay clean enough for her to wear tomorrow as well!" Until she got a mysterious orange mark on her sleeve.

Time to buy stain removers in bulk, I think.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Ode to Aggie

I have a car now! It's a cute little Nissan Micra hatchback, silver, and is very basic. It's a far cry from the rental car provided by the insurance company; that sucker was only a few months old and had all the mod cons. It was fun, don't get me wrong, but this little Micra has plenty of charms herself.

Besides the great fuel economy and cheap insurance, it reminds me of my first car, a 1983 Honda Civic. I am filled with nostalgia whenever I drive little Aggie, and that makes me oddly joyful. I feel like I'm 16 again; I turn up the music with the windows down, zip around town and sing along with my kids. Everyone is in new carseats; Baby is in the front, in a reversible carseat that can face forwards and backwards. She's only 8 months, so she's still facing backwards. But that's cool, because she can see the older kids in the back and they chat to each other. Eldest is happy, because her new carseat has pink stripes. Middle child is now in a booster seat, and these new boosters are great because the back rests pop off for when they are too big for them and only need a little extra height.

I'm happy. Little Aggie will get us from place to place with ease, and now I can buy a month's worth of groceries again. Huzzah!

In other news, Middle child is fully potty trained! The relief I'm feeling is unbelievable. Those toilet stickers I mentioned are AMAZING. I've been telling everyone about them, and I cannot rave enough. I love them so very much. Ever since sticking one in the toilet bowl, he races to the loo and has not had a single accident. I know I risk jinxing the whole thing by writing about it, but I just can't keep my mouth shut about them! They are the best product I've found for children, except for my Phil & Teds E3 buggy. Now Middle child can go off to nursery school and I won't be sitting by the phone, waiting for a call from his teachers to take him home and clean him up! Whew.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

First Day of School

The first day of school went really well. One the walk home, Eldest Child said to me, "I love my school."

I am glad.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

My newest pretty little thing

I forgot to mention my newest reusable shopping bag acquisition. How can you not love this bag? It has wooden handles, the Underground logo, and is seriously boxy and cool. I look like a geeky tourist; it's great!

I'm taking it to church tomorrow to show off. Because that's what going to the Lord's house is all about. Didn't you know? ;)

Friday, 7 September 2007

Children + Hospitals = Nice men with white coats

Two months after my car accident, I was examined today by a doctor in order to get a medical report written up for the claim. The appointment was at a local private hospital instead of the NHS hospital down the road. I've never been to a private hospital in the UK, and I was very curious to see what it was like.

The outside looked like an old manor home. Well, I guess the name Manor Hospital should have clued me into that one, right? It was very quiet inside, with prim staff and older patients in the waiting room. My wild, noisy children, bulky buggy and harrowed expression fit in about as well as Victoria Beckham auditioning for Joker in the next Batman movie. My favourite part, aside from bribing my children with sweets in front of a full waiting room or chasing my son away from the lift or coffee machine, was when a nurse berated me for sending my daughter to the toilet. That's right folks, I was "Mommy Drive-By"-ed by a medical professional for allowing my four year old to go to the bathroom on her own.

The examination itself didn't last too long, and we were out of there in about forty minutes. Because we don't have a car right now, I had to take a taxi and paid over £10 all told for the experience.

To be fair to my children, they were not ill-behaved as such. It's not like they were screaming like banshees and running amok in the medical supply cupboard. They are normal kids, and especially after our London excursion yesterday, I didn't expect much. I'm just tired of adults without children, or fully grown children, expecting near-robotic behaviour from young ones. It's just not going to happen, is it? Relax, people. I'm doing the best I can here!

Give me an NHS hospital, with paint peeling off the walls and snotty children jumping on the chairs any day. We would fit right in.

My Embassy Adventure (tm)

Yesterday I took the kids into London so I could get my passport renewed at the American embassy. You may ask yourself, dear reader, what on earth could have possessed me to voluntarily take my three children, all under the age of five, into London by train and tube. I could claim insanity, but that would be redundant; it's my natural state of being. The truth is, I'm a bit of a control freak and since I didn't know exactly how long the appointment would take, I didn't want to leave the children in someone else's care for an undetermined amount of time. Also, I've never been that far away from them before and the thought made me nervous. My husband works in London, so the plan was to meet him for lunch and spend the afternoon at the Natural History Museum.

The novelty of travelling by train kept the older ones entertained for about 40 minutes. They were as good as gold when the train car was empty, but as soon as it filled up with other travellers (most of them the austere business suit sort, of course), Middle Child decided it was time to stretch his legs a bit. Um, sorry son, but no. The result? At least ten minutes of screaming, kicking, full-blown toddler tantrum that the entire train was privy to. I was mortified! Once he tired himself out, luckily he was fine. In London, I lugged my double buggy up and down stairs, in and out of tube stations, and negotiated large crowds of people without much incident.

The highlights:

1. Firstly, a big thank you to all the Londoners who helped me with my children. Those people who helped me move the buggy around, held my children's hands and kept them from running off or falling down the escalator, you are all saints in my book. Thanks so much!

2. A pox on the person who stole my kid's toy London bus. He only had it for an hour, and you took it out of the buggy! What kind of person steals a child's toy? Bah.

3. A reminder to the tourist shop owner: I may have a foreign accent, but I'm no dummy. No doubt your little trick of 'accidentally' leaving out a bit of change to your customers works on some, but don't try to pull that on me. A big sarcastic thank you for giving me my pound back.

4. To the kamikaze rollerblader, a suggestion: Use a helmet! Rollerblading on the road without any safety gear is just CRAZY. Have you seen the way people drive around London? Why would you risk life and limb like that?

5. The Natural History Museum, while fascinating and a lot of fun, can also be scary to a (nearly) three year old when he sees dinosaur bones up close and personal.

6. One big benefit of all the traffic in London is that you can't hear your child moan and whinge about being toooooo tiiiiiiired to waaaaaaalk any further. Hold tight onto her hand, walk at a fast clip, and cheerily tell her you can't hear a word she's saying.

7. London public transportation is not buggy friendly. However, buggies are the perfect tool for parting the crowds and squeezing onto crowded tubes. Make sure you at least sound partially sincere for bashed shins.

8. Mayfair has incredibly delicious restaurants at great prices. If you're ever in London, eat lunch there.

We got home around 9 o'clock, fed the kids a cup of milk and a slice of bread and butter, and sent them to bed. They passed out within two minutes.

Did they sleep in? HA! These are the Raisin'Cookies children, remember? Up at dawn regardless of bedtime. At least we survived the journey intact, and I should be the proud owner of an up-to-date US passport within the next 15 working days.

All in all, the day was a success. I need about four days of sleep to recover, though.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007


So I've updated the look of the blog. Much nicer, I think.

Also, I've added a cool feature at the bottom, Buddy Mapping. Come on, folks! Where do you come from?


I do have readers, don't I? :)

Knitting Plastic

Using the instructions from this site, I have started cutting up plastic grocery bags and knitting them into a reusable bag.

My reusable shopping bag obsession is beginning to take over my life! The only problem is that it takes several plastic bags to make one reusable bag (I'm on my third already), so ironically I need more plastic to save the environment.

I'm having lots of fun, though, and maybe I'll get good enough to sell them at a craft stall or something. You never know!

Monday, 3 September 2007

I am totally buying these!

My son turns three next month, and the potty training adventure is hitting another low point. Luckily, The Toiletsticker (tm) is available to alleviate my potty training woes!

I've placed an order, and I'm eagerly awaiting their arrival. My son will be desperate to use the toilet now, I'm sure. My daughter will be green with envy, I'm also sure.

When you've been trying to potty train your child for seven months and he is due to start nursery school in four weeks and you want to gouge your eyes out when you see yet another wet patch on the floor/couch/in his pants, even funky stickers in the toilet bowl don't sound too weird to you.

Desperate? Sure! Now, someone find me poop targets and I'll be all set.