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Archive for January, 2011

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The Flood Crisis in Queensland, Australia

It is hard for me to focus on anything other than the floods in Queensland, Australia today.  I’ve read that approximately 75% of the State is in a state or emergency.

The areas hardest hit by the latest floods are places that I grew up in.  The city of Toowoomba sits on top of The Great Diving Range at 2300 feet above sea level.  It’s not somewhere you’d expect an ‘inland instant tsunami’.  This town of 90,000 was hit by a 26-foot (eight-meter), fast-moving torrent of water that continued its path through smaller towns further down the valley.  Cars washed down streets with ease.

There are 9 confirmed dead and 66 people missing from the flooding in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley.

In the city of Gympie, north of the Sunshine Coast in south-east Queensland about 30 homes have been evacuated and 100 businesses have been swamped by floodwaters.  The Mary River peaked overnight at 19.3 metres – just below the 20 metre prediction.

The Sunshine Coast, where I spent my teens has quite a few low lying areas.  They’ve seen intense rain with 150 roads closed due to flooding at the moment.  If the rain doesn’t let up there is a high probability that properties in lower lying areas could flood.

Brisbane and Ipswich are bracing for the worst flooding since 1974.  Flood levels in Brisbane are expected to rise to three metres overnight, reaching 4.5 metres on Wednesday afternoon. On Friday the floods are expected to overtake the 1974 record of 5.45 metres, says Bligh.  I’ve been watching friends status updates on Facebook today to see who can get home and who is safe.   It is quite common to catch the train or bus to work in Brisbane so when areas started to be evacuated it appears everyone headed for the trains.  If you were lucky, you were able to get on a train with standing room only.

In Ipswich flood levels are around the 18-19 metre mark, expected to peak during Wednesday at 21-22 metres. In comparison, the 1974 mark was 20.4 metres. 14 people lost their lives in the 1974 floods.
The threat is not over yet and everyone will be watching to see how things progress.  I pray that people in low lying areas are evacuated in time and that no more lives are lost.
Aussies are battlers and many of my friends online have already begun rallying for those in need, collecting donations, items for auction and cash.  If you’d like to show your support here is one great network of women who are showing their support.

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How To Teach Flag Football to a 7 yr old with Aspergers

Our son is 7 and had been begging us to let him play Flag Football for over a year now.   He was diagnosed with Aspergers a little over 6 months ago and has been making great progress with his therapies so I was hesitant to rock the boat and make any changes.  But both my husband and I think it is important for him to play team sports so we agreed to let him play flag instead of baseball this year. 

Yesterday was the first practice and today was the first game and I think I am a little over my head.  I was worried about him getting hurt and a potential meltdown and completely overlooked the complexity of the game.

Silly me thought he would be somewhat prepared as he played capture the flag at school in PE and that we’ve played catch with him many times before.  Today was a reminder that I need a checklist for new sports, so that I can better prepare him in the future.  Here are just a few things that I learnt. 

I should buy a soft mouth guard.  The cheap, hard plastic one I picked up at the fields which was a bad choice.  It chaffed and cut his mouth and was extremely uncomfortable to wear with his sensory processing issues.  Just watching him I could tell it was annoying and made it more difficult for him to concentrate. 

We need to teach him about plays and positions.  With the noise at the fields and the fast pace he wasn’t able to process everything at the speed he wanted.  He got frustrated during the second half of the game when they played more offense as he wanted to get a turn with the ball.

We need to show him what yards look like so he understands when the coach says “run 5 yards that way then turn”.

I need to find out from the coach what he’s meant to do when another team member takes his position in a play.

We need to come up with some positive seeds to sow with him.  I am great with positive seeds for academics but like a fish out of water when it comes to sports. 

Being a very visual learner I decided to stop by the local library after the game to look for books on flag football.  Unfortunately they didn’t have any, so we picked up a regular football book with great pictures to try and explain the plays a little better.

Tomorrow I’m going to sit him down in front of the computer and let him watch as many YouTube videos of i9 Flag Football as he wants.

We’re also trying to get some older boys (family and friends) to come to the park with us to teach him some plays.. slowly…

I’m quite sure I’ve overlooked something and that’s OK.  As one area of the game starts making sense to him another layer will most likely present itself and we’ll come up with another plan.

Do you have any suggestions on how to help our son understand and enjoy Flag Football?

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Txting & Driving... It Can Wait

Texting Whilst Driving…. Is It Worth Losing Your Life Over?

I would like each and everyone of you who read this post to consider putting down your phone whilst you are in the car.

If you text, email, vlog or surf the net whilst driving you are putting yourself and those around you in danger. 

Don’t be mistaken, this is not just a teen problem.  Research has shown that adults are much more likely to phone whilst driving and texting than teens.  One article stated that 75% of adults admit to phone conversations vs 52% of teens and 47% of adults admit to texting whilst driving vs 34% of teens.

How would your friends or family feel if they sent the text that killed you?

If you don’t think it can happen to you or someone you know, then you are not alone.  AT&T released public service announcements in 2010 to encourage people to stop texting and driving and yet it seems like I pass people every day who are still texting and driving.

 

This young man is a victim of someone elses texts.  He was the passenger in the car that his girlfriend was driving whilst texting.

No text is worth dying over and the US seems to be taking a gentle approach when discussing the dangers.  The first video I watched about texting and driving was made in the UK and had a lot more impact on me.  Be warned this is graphic and I wouldn’t recommend for young children.

Will you take the pledge to stop texting and driving?


Txting & Driving... It Can Wait

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RIP Ivy Margaret Wasley ‘Nana’

Today, January 7th 2011 my Nana finally let go this morning at 10am Sydney time.

It may sound weird but I feel happy that she is now at peace.  Her life has been 6 weekly doctors visits for over 22 years and for the past approximately 5 years she has been fighting multiple myeloma.  Since Christmas Eve she has been heavily sedated to manage the pain and exceeded the doctors expectations by almost 2 weeks.

I took this video on my trip back to Australia to say goodbye to Nana.  I was so happy that I made it back in time and that my wonderful husband took on the task of looking after both our kids on his own so that I could go.

In this video she is describing a dream that she had and wasn’t sure if it really happened or not.


 

This post is part of the Blog Dare Challenge at BloggyMoms.com.

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Why Did I Start Blogging?

Today is Day 5 of the Blog Dare challenge and I am very pleased with myself as I have kept up with the challenge.  Todays optional prompt for the dare is, Why Did I Start Blogging?

It’s been quite a long time since I started blogging and I haven’t always been consistent so it took me a few minutes to recall why I started in the first place. 

At the time, my husband and I were “the people” to talk to about vacations and how to stretch your travel dollar further.  I had also become a bit of an expert at finding ways to save money to help stretch our family budget further.  My first blog was all about money saving tips, including sales and coupon codes.  Then I started doing reviews on my favorite baby products as friends were asking me for my opinion on our favorite products and where I got them from.  Financial Opportunities came about when my children were babies and included ways to make money from home.  I soon found myself with five blogs and I decided enough was enough. 

In 2010 I decided to consolidate my blog posts into this single blog to make things more simple for myself and my readers.

Now I blog about what is important to me when I sit down at my laptop.  It could be a product review (unpaid), a family update, ways to make money, or information on health and wellness.

Why do you blog?

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Free Housecleaning for Women Undergoing Chemotherapy

Free Housecleaning for Women Undergoing Chemotherapy

I got an email today and I think it’s really important to share this today.

It’s about Cleaning for a Reason.  They offer a FREE housecleaning service to women undergoing chemotherapy in the USA and Canada.

If you know any woman currently undergoing chemotherapy for ANY type of cancer, please pass the word to her that she could get a free housecleaning – once per month for 4 months while she is in treatment.  All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor fax a note confirming the treatment.  Cleaning for a Reason will have a participating maid service in her zip code area arrange for the service. 

This organization serves the entire USA and currently has 547 partners to help these women. 

Help me spread the word and let them know that there are people out there that care. 

Cleaning for A Reason Official Facebook Fan Page

Cleaning for a Reason is looking for Corporate Sponsors in the cleaning industry and accepts online donations.


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My Morning Routine… Or Lack Thereof

If you ask my husband I don’t have a morning routine, and he’s sort of right.  After 18 months of being at home between contracts I got into a bad habit of sleeping in.  Our could it be that my body stayed on Sydney time when I moved to California?  I do prefer my day to run 5 – 7 hours later than it currently does, which would make sense…

If we didn’t have two kids that need to get to school I don’t know what I’d do.  It is so hard to believe that as a young child I had my entire morning timed down to the minute.

So as embarrasing as this may be here is how my current morning routine currently goes:

At 5:30 am Husband tries to wake me.  Sometime between 6:30 and 7 am I finally get out of bed.  The first thing I do is take a XYNG capsule.  By the time I leave the house I am full of energy and ready for the day.

7 am the kids have to be up and eating breakfast. 
7 am – 7:20 am son does music therapy whilst eating breakfast
If I haven’t taken a shower yet I try to take one now.  Miss 5 is a very slow eater..

7:30 am Saline, supplements, medicines, asthma spray – depending on what’s needed on the day.  Eat my 3 Weet-a-bix for breakfast if I haven’t already.

7:35 – 7:45am Help kids get teeth brushed, hair done, lunches packed.
      Get myself dressed.

Get downstairs and into the car…. this can take 2 – 15 minutes depending on how many times I have to run up the stairs for things that are forgotten or how long we discuss which shoes are going to be worn today.

Drop 2nd Grader at School between 7:50 and 8:15am then drop Kindergartener off at Enrichment.   

Finish make-up at the red lights on the way to work or in the car park when I get there. 
On a good day I can get into the office by 8:30 am, on a bad day I pray I am at work by 9am. 

Thank goodness my job doesn’t require me to be at the office by a specific time.

I think it’s time for me to set an alarm and get up earlier…. do you think I can do it?

This post is part of the Blog Dare Challenge at BloggyMoms.com.

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skechers shape ups

Skechers Shape-Up Sneakers

So you’ve seen the ads and you’re probably wondering if these rocking shoes are worth all the fuss and the money.

I got a pair a few months ago at a Kohls sale and I have to say I like mine. 

Skechers Shape Ups have a thick rocking sole which has been ideal for my feet.  I have arthritis in the front of my left foot and my fat pad has dissolved so prior to buying Skechers Shape Ups days out at amusement parks with the family where painful and inevitably not as enjoyable as they could have been.   

We have just gotten back from three days at Disneyland and we walked a lot, including to and from the hotel.  I was able to keep up with my husband and kids without having to take pain relievers throughout the day.  For additional foot support I do have a 2/3 length arch support that I wear in all my flat shoes.

So the big question is do they really tone your legs and rear?  For me they do, but I have to confess I don’t exercise unless you count running up and down the stairs in our home when I’m doing laundry….

The first day I wore the shoes was at Universal Studios and I used our sons jogger stroller for balance as I got used to the shoes and using muscles that were unfamiliar.  I felt my inner thighs and bottom got a work out although wearing the shoes consistently did not feel like it produced the same results.  When we went to Disneyland this weekend I hadn’t worn the Shape Ups in a while and I did feel the burn just like a did the first time I wore them.   After three days I am definitely feeling it in my legs instead of in my feet.

Due to the thickness of the soles I have been wearing these shoes with my jeans.  I like being a little taller and having the option to wear comfortable shoes instead of boots.

If you have the money and want to get more out of your walks then Skechers Shape Ups are a great purchase. 

What’s your favorite Skechers Shape Up shoe?

This post is part of the Blog Dare Challenge at BloggyMoms.com.

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New Years Resolutions – 2011

I have never been a big one for New Years Resolutions.

This year I sat down with the kids and discussed what a Resolution was and what they would like to be different in our house in 2011.

I was surprised at how quickly they came up with ideas and also how willing they were to work on them, even on January 1st after less sleep than normal.

If I had to create a list of things I wanted to improve on or complete in 2011 it would go something like this:

1. Go to be before midnight.
2. Spend less time at the computer when the kids are up
3. Spend more 1 on 1 time with my loving husband
4. Spend less money and save more
5. Lose the inches I gained over eating since my trip to Australia
6. Exercise.. maybe even open the Wii Fit I asked for in 2009 or the Hoop Dancing DVD I bought in 2010…
7. See a Movie once a month even if I have to go by myself
8. Finish decorating the kids bedrooms
9. Finish painting the house
10.  Make enough space in the garage for my office so I can move it out of the kitchen/dining room.
11. Learn how to cook more lactose/diary free and gluten free foods for our son.
12. Have date night once a month with each of our children.
13. Have date night once a month with my husband.  Even if it is a date night at home after the kids go to bed.
14. Call or visit family more often.

You may have noticed from my list that I am not the best at completing projects.  Now that this list is written down I am planning on being more accountable at completing things.

What are your New Years Resolutions?

This post is part of the Blog Dare Challenge at BloggyMoms.com.

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