FYBF – The Unintentional Bloggy Makeover Edition

Tuesday began with the usual mayhem induced, chaotic morning, children crying for breakfast, sleep-deprived adults ignoring their bad parenting guilt to habitually tune into ABC4Kids.

Linking up my #IBOT post over at Essentially Jess, I noticed that there was something odd with the comments function.

The comments existed at the back end on my dashboard but clicking on them at the front end….poof! Off they disappeared!

“Must be a plug-in glitch,” I thought.

FYBF The Unintentional Bloggy Makeover

Now, I will happily confess that technical guru I am not. I also don’t have a very rational mind when it comes to technological hiccups.

Maybe it’s due to nasty past experiences, but I don’t do broken blogs very well. I’m extremely fatalistic. The stress causes my stomach to churn in what feels like a growing ulcer. My head feels like it’s filled with a box of dynamite ready to explode.

During the boys’ swimming lesson, I furiously tapped away on my iPhone, trying to deactivate, this and reinstall that.

But to no avail.

Crazy thing is, just a few weeks ago at Problogger, I had casually mentioned to Kelly of Swish Design that I was thinking of a makeover but thought I’d wait it out a little longer.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, what started as a perceived plug-in glitch turned into a full-blown bloggy makeover.

FYBF - The Unintentional Bloggy Makeover 2

I thank the super duper friends who saved me from the ordeal.

Thanks, Mummy K for being there at a whim’s notice. For someone who’d been up since 3:30 that morning, she was fully alert to perform the emergency bloggy operation.

Big hugs to Daisy for listening to my frantic ramblings and made sure I didn’t hyperventilate.

Also, huge thanks to Emma at Five Degrees of Chaos who offered her assistance and gave me ideas for a new header image.

What have I learned from this experience?

When your gut tells you it’s time for a makeover, start doing something about it immediately.

But most of all…to calm the f*ck down!!!

Technology is always going to fail on us, one way or another and of course in the most unexpected of times. It’s a given. But there’s always, ALWAYS a solution. And sometimes, you even get your much needed bloggy makeover.

How do you cope with technological glitches?

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

 

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Toilet Training Twins is Impossible {And Dettol Giveaway}

This is a sponsored post.

Despite what the books and the parenting seminars tell you, there is no method to the madness of toilet training twins.

Toilet Training Twins is Impossible 2

Smug parents (you know the ones) who would gloat about how their not even three yet toddler transitioned to nappy free in a few short days  just made me more frustrated about our situation. Then, I wanted to punch them in the face.

“Just because there’s two of them, your situation shouldn’t be any harder, right?”

Another imaginary punch. This time in the throat.

There is no such thing as toilet training twins. Why? Because you toilet train individuals.

What works for one, does not work for the other.

We were keen to try out all the tips that books tell you about encouraging the process.

We jived our way through the “Look who did a poo-poo in the potty!!!” dance, slapped high five slaps all around and offered rewards when those colourful stickers filled the charts.

Yet, amongst all the commotion and excitement around the toilet bowl, there was one twin who would sadly be left in dismay and confusion.

Being toilet trained is a huge milestone, as every parent knows. It is a time to celebrate another step of independence for a little person. Most importantly, it’s an extremely personal milestone.

The logistics of where to put the potty and methods of encouragement may not differ from training each child but the emotional dynamics can vary significantly. The danger of comparison is never far away.

Toilet Training Twins is Impossible

When we worked out that what the books told us wasn’t working, we took a step back and took a little break for our boy.

While one was now happily going to the toilet without any problem, we kept our excitement at a minimum and he didn’t seem to mind that one bit.

As the weeks past, we really had to make a conscious effort to stop worrying and more importantly comparing our toilet adverse twin.

Instead, we focused on reassuring him that there was no hurry. Whenever he was ready, we would be too.

Of course, the moment that mindset kicks in, everything falls into place and within days, our little boy joined his twin brother.

Dettol is a well-known and trusted brand in Australian homes and undoubtedly an integral part for many a toilet training triumph…as well as disaster.

Toilet Training Twins is Impossible 4

Now that the days of training are far behind us but with two constant grubby boys, hand hygiene is a big affair in our house. Using Dettol’s Revitalise Antibacterial Hand Wash with Raspberry and Pomegranate keeps the germs at bay but also leaves behind a refreshing fragrant on your hands. It’s one thing to maintain a high level of cleanliness – it’s another to smell like a hospital.

We’re also very lucky that our daycare also enforces the importance of using hand sanitiser after doing their little business.

Toilet Training Twins is Impossible 4

The journey of toilet training is just as big of a learning curve for parents as what it is for the child.  In the race to try and get them nappy free and independent, it’s important to stop.  Take things slow and focus on their self-confidence and emotional awareness.

For one lucky reader, I have some great Dettol products to giveaway!

  • Dettol Revitalise Antibacterial Hand Wash with Raspberry and Pomegranate
  • Dettol Power and Pure Triggers
  • Dettol Power and Pure Wipes

All you have to do is:

Subscribe to With Some Grace by Email

Leave a comment on the post telling me:

“What toilet training memory/story do you look back on and laugh?”

Terms and Conditions:

  • This giveaway is only open to Australian residents
  • Closing date for entries is 10pm AEST Thursday, 25th of September.
  • The winner will be contact via email on the following Friday.
  • If the winner does not reply to my email within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen.
  • Entries will be judged on merit and decision of the winner will be final.
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Price Tag

I remember the first time someone asked me about the remuneration that came with being a blogger.

My friend was holding a 3rd birthday party for her daughter and while we get along extremely well, it’s not one of those friendships where I have met, or even know any of her other friends or family members.

So, when breaking the ice in first meeting the parents, the default conversation naturally turned to occupation and professions.

PRICETAG

It’s a pity we’re so socially stagnant these days that a self introduction inevitably ends up justifying our existence with “what we do for a living” rather than “what we live for” or even simply talk about “what we love”

Anyway, explaining to another mum that I was a blogger, immediately piqued her curiosity.

“Apologies if this is a personal question…(If you’re really sorry about it, why the hell are you continuing to ask me?)…but do you make a lot of money out of blogging?”

Ho hum.

Talk about spectacular fall from social graces.

She sensed my uncomfortable stance but having already begun digging that hole, why not get the big shovel out as well?

“I mean, you see it on TV about all these mummy bloggers being millionaires and just wondered if that was true…”

I really could’ve had fun with this one, making up all sorts of glamorous stories how I have lucrative brand ambassadorship deals while a gazillion loyal readers follow my every breath and smart, witty comments.

Alas, I’m just too bloody honest.

“Nah. I make next to nothing, “ I shrugged.

Then, as I went on to my usual spiel about how much I just love writing and connecting with lovely people, the sparkle in her eye disappeared, along with her interest.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s intriguing how people are so keen to find out how to make “big bucks” from something as “fluffy” as blogging.  It’s not valid unless it has a price tag.

Over this past year, more sponsored and brand endorsed posts have appeared on this blog. It’s important to point out however, that none of this has been done without careful planning or being consciously aware of what would be considered “too much”

The thing is, working with brands brings opportunities beyond what’s monetary; it’s a chance to sharpen business skills while still working towards what you love.

As far as expanding writing skills and a freelance portfolio, sponsored posts can also provide that.

But at the end of the day, the biggest focus here is on you guys, all the lovely readers.

The support, comments and participation – none of thatever goes unnoticed.

10626461_698528386882763_5503277847151201634_nTwo and a half years later and there’s still that Friday morning thrill in seeing who’s linked up for FYBF. Everyone’s coming over for (virtual) morning tea at my place and none of you seem to care about the mess! Awesome!

So, thank you for helping me create this sense of warmth and cosiness over at yea ol’ blog. This place would be barren and worthless without you.

 

Joining Essentially Jess for IBOT

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Multicultural Monday: Angela and her Egyptian-Australian Family

“Multicultural Monday” is a space where I introduce other Australian families of mixed and diverse backgrounds and their version of what it means to be Australian.

Opening the conversation leads to the understanding that multiculturalism is not a concept easily defined but a way forward for modern Australian society to accept and understand differences in race, religion and culture. Following the feature on Emma, in this instalment, Angela from School of Mum candidly talks about her strict Orthodox upbringing, introducing her future Australian, Catholic husband to her parents and the great lengths she takes to cook Egyptian cuisine…like her mum’s! Multicultural Monday

 

Raised as an Egyptian Australian, what were some of the major Egyptian cultural rituals your family observed and how did they clash or just differ to every day Australian life?

The biggest one was Christmas. We celebrate Christmas too as Coptic Egyptians. But we celebrate it on the 7th of January. Growing up, we would go to Church on Christmas Eve and leave around midnight to gather at a family member’s house for a feast of food. Yes we ate dinner at 1am! Then the next day we would meet somewhere to feast on the leftovers. I always tried to avoid telling people that we had Christmas on the 7th of January, because children automatically assumed that it ‘must not be Christmas’ but something else that we celebrated.

You said that your parents weren’t initially impressed when you brought home your (future) Australian husband. How did you manage both your husband and your family’s cultural differences? Did you have to play “mediator” a lot? Was there a lot of explaining as to why the other party did certain things?

My parents were never going to be impressed with who I brought home. I was the baby of the family and my father’s only daughter. They were always going to be a tough crowd to please. Luckily my husband has one of those natures that are so likeable, that it is very difficult to hold anything against him. He didn’t take long to win my parents over. He has always been open to our cultural difference, not just with acceptance but with ENJOYMENT. He loves the food, the celebrations, everything. And that is so important.

It’s more than just being ‘tolerant’. The cultural mish-mash of events that took place in the course of our engagement period were both funny and terrifying to me. Some of them were the simplest of things, like my parents forgetting to give Steve a knife and fork when we ate – I don’t know why, but Egyptians tend to eat with spoons or their hands.

Then there was the countless “Pardon? What was that?” as the language barriers posed a threat to people actually getting to know each other. Or of course, when my dad tried to translate Egyptian phrases into English except the exact translation didn’t sound quite right. For example, instead of saying that someone shouldn’t talk rubbish, my Dad said, in his best, words-of-wisdom voice, “Shit. It should never come from the mouth” Steve laughed so hard at this while my dad looked utterly confused as to why this was so funny but pleased he had amused him so. It’s now a staple phrase in our house.

DSC_0410 While you were raised in an Orthodox environment, your husband was raised in a Catholic one. How has this played a positive impact in raising your family?

They are both really similar fundamentally and we support each other and attend both as a family. It gives us the opportunity to expose both faiths to our children and give them the richness of tradition that both provide.

How do you bring your Egyptian culture to your children?

It’s difficult. Living rurally makes it hard. I try to take them to church when I can and Tom is starting to pick up some Egyptian words when around my parents. We will never miss an Orthodox Christmas so they are lucky to have the best of both worlds with copious amounts of food and family time, twice!

My mum sends me Egyptian food ingredients because I can’t find anything here and I call her and she describes to me how to cook it. I don’t cook to recipes and neither does she so it’s all “A dash of this and a bit of that” It never tastes as good as hers but it’s good enough and the house always smells awesome!

What is your definition of a multicultural Australia? And how do you hope it will serve your children and their multicultural backgrounds?

I want my children to believe in harmony not tolerance. To me the ideal multicultural Australia is one where we are fascinated by other cultures, their foods and their way of life. We don’t necessarily need to participate in their traditions, but just be in awe of diversity, rather than thinking of ways we can all ‘accept’ it. I want my children to be friends with people from as many different cultures and religions as possible. Life’s too short and the world is too big to only experience one way of life.

DSC_0521

Would you like to be featured on “Multicultural Monday”? Feel free to email me at: grace@withsomegrace.com

Angela’s Photos by: Clare Metcalf

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FYBF – The Blessing and the Curse Edition

It’s probably no surprise for those who know me. I’m an animated, demonstrative kinda gal.

Put me in a high pressure situation like public speaking or meeting a sponsored post deadline while the twinions are sick and the nervous energy is palpable.

Years ago, in the bland, dull world that be corporate, while attending a training course, the entire team had to individually stand up the front and read excerpts from the great late Martin Luther King Jr’s historical speech, “I Have A Dream”

I HAVE A DREAM

The purpose of the exercise was to hone our public speaking skills: to annunciate properly; speak with conviction; ‘feel’ the words we were reading aloud.

Well, Ms Highly Emotional couldn’t get passed “I have a dream…”

I started thinking how the speech was still so relevant today; that decades after this speech was first delivered, society was still battling with racial and gender equality.

My voice started to quiver, tears welling up.

Unable to finish, I walked back to my seat deeply embarrassed.

Laughing off the light-hearted teasing from my colleagues, there was some serious turmoil going on within.

“Why can’t I keep my shit together???

It is both a blessing

How much of a relief if someone just came up and asked if I was okay, try and see if there was something else going on because years later as I found out, there were tons of unresolved issues brewing internally.

During a counselling session last year, Penny my lovely psychologist suggested that perhaps, I was the kind of person that felt everything – pain, excitement, joy, stress, love – to the point I’d get flustered, overwhelmed. Confused, even.

“Aaaand, that’s a bad thing, right ???” I asked cautiously.

“No, not at all. It’s about being aware of it. Be mindful that that’s what’s happening. But also accept that this is who you are…”

Damn Penny for making it sound so easy.

She’s obviously good at what she does. Lucky for me.

Yesterday was RU OK Day, a mental health initiative where we ask those around us if they’re okay.

Because you just never know how much you can help someone in lightening an emotional load.

Even if you missed out on asking someone yesterday, it’s not too late to ask someone today or any other day.

Four simple yet powerful letters that can mean the world to your beloved or a random stranger: RU OK?

 

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

Did you like this? Share it:

Some days you’re a pigeon

or a seagull…

And somedays you’re a statue…or a lamp post.

Somedays you're a pigeon 3

One of the hardest things I’m coming to terms with as a mum is that I’m never going to be on top of things all the time.

We kick some goals – kids are healthy, happy, eating and sleeping well.  Finally, the chaos is over and some normalcy will set in.

Somedays you're a pigeon 2

 

 

Then, the next day, all goes to pot again.  We wonder where it all went balls up and how the hell the dirty laundry get to reach the ceiling.

I figure, on those days I’m the statue, I might as well take it for what it is.  The laundry will eventually get done.  Maybe not now and that’s okay.

Somedays you're a pigeon 4

Surrendering makes everything so much easier to deal with.

Besides, I get to enjoy these cheeky smiles for a little longer…

Somedays you're a pigeon

What do you do on your days of being a statue?

It’s been waaaay too long but finally, I’m back to join Trish at My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday.

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Patience of a Paleontologist

That, I don’t have!

“I didn’t have patience…until I had children”

How often do we hear that?

Buying the twinions a fossil digging kit each, that great virtuous trait was tested yet again.

Patience

What was supposed to be a fun indoors activity to break the boredom from the rainy weather, initially brought tears and tantrums.

Then, the boys started getting upset.

Seriously though, despite the boxes marked “For ages 6 +”, it’s missing a vital disclaimer for parents to take deep breaths in preparation for the endless obligatory hammering and flying fine pieces of rock.

I started doing a couple of taps into the stubborn mould when the impatient wails started:

“Waaaahhh!!! I wanna find the paleontologist! Mama! Where’s the paleontologist???!!! It’s NOT THERE!!!”

The assertive mother in me could’ve corrected them to say that they were in fact digging for ‘fossils’. Then ironically, reasoning took over reminding me that no amount of reasoning would help calm them down.  Besides, I think I was too impressed by their ability to now pick up 6 syllabic words: Pal-e-on-to-lo-gist.

There was no other choice but to just keep digging.

Keep. Digging. Damnit.

Almost two hours later we finally came across our first (synthetic) bone. Yee friggin’ ha!

Patience 2

As I tried to appease my little boys, risking repetitive strain injury due to the constant hammering, it became very clear to me that palaeontology was a very boring science, if a science at all.

There. I said it. Let the Ross Gellars of this world strike me down with the gigantic foot of a diplodocus.

You watch. While dinosaurs are extinct and have no chance of getting me, I know karma will.

One day, the boys will come home not wanting to be something cool like a rock star or a back up dancer for Selma Gomez (or whoever the cutie diva will be at that time) but instead have aspirations and dreams to dig bones.

Patience 3

Whoever said having patience pays off, have yet to buy a fossil finding kits for dinosaur obsessed twinions.

How has this parenting gig taught you patience? Did you have much of it pre-children? What do your children aspire to be at the moment?

Joining Essentially Jess for IBOT

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FYBF – The Postie Edition


In a desperate bid to stop my two monkeys climb the walls and more importantly, the furniture, a trip to the cinema seemed to be the perfect solution.

Slim pickings on a Tuesday morning, we went with Postman Pat the Movie.

FYBF The Postie Edition 2

Now there’s 87 minutes of my life I won’t get back.

For the sake of an entertaining #FYBF post, I thought of taking some photos throughout the torturous viewing but who needs spoiler alerts, right?

Besides, I was too busy dealing with the twinions’ demands to run to the back of the huge screen and “Switch it ooooffff !!!”

Nothing like a spectacular preview of the new Planes movie prior to mislead the boys into delirious excitement only to have it all crashing.

“What happened to Dusty? Wait. What? I got Postman Pat instead?”

Truth be told, for all the cheesy kids shows out there, I love me a bit of Postman Pat and his black and white cat.

My dad was a postie, an awesome one at that.

Dad the Postman

Looking absolutely dapper in his uniform, coming home after a day of zipping around town delivering mail on his little ringky dink 250CC motorbike, there were plenty of stories of lovely elderly women who would lovingly leave him a cookie and milk at their mailboxes. Then there were the nasty accidents that saw him come out of hospital with bandaged knees and elbows.

Not a postie but another amazing dad is Mr Surfer.

I could not have pulled off any of those half marathons or City2Surf runs without his steadfast and unwavering support.

While I put in endless hours of training, he’s dedicated just as much time ensuring our ship sails smoothly.

Sneaking out of the house to pull off the nighttime photo shoots, there was my fleet’s 1st (and only) mate taking over on dinner, bath time and bed duties.

You know what, you’re all right, Mr Surfer.

I know you said that all you wanted this Father’s Day is “A big sloppy kiss and a slap across the chops” but I think I can do better than that.

After all, you do. All the time.

FYBF The Postie Edition

Happy Father’s Day to all our dads, granddads, stepdads and role model dads. We will remember fondly and dearly miss those who are no longer with us.

Got anything special planned this Father’s Day?

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

 

Did you like this? Share it:

#pbevent 2014: The Ordinary Doing the Extraordinary

There’s a plethora of useful and insightful posts out there that perfectly wrap up the #PBEvent 2014.

This is not going to be one of them.

But don’t click the top right cross button just yet.

While there were invaluable lessons like transforming  desire to action and there were new and lasting friendships to forge, they say it’s always the first and last half of anything that people remember.

Hence, Darren Rowse’s opening and closing words resonated with me the most.

Ordinary doing the Extraordinary2

Starting the conference with the unlikely metaphor of Emmett and The Lego Movie (and I thought I had escaped my children for the weekend), Darren confessed to facing moments of feeling “just ordinary” and boy, did that make me feel relieved.

I often wonder what I’m doing with this blogging caper. Do people really give taco boraccho about what’s in my head?

Yet, I keep going. I write when I’m loved up. I write when I’m angry. I write when I’m desperately sad and just need to have a verbal vomit.

It makes me wonder: What value do my thoughts and insights have?

I guess, we’re all a little bit like Emmett in that regard. Thinking we’re all a little ordinary but for me, it took the discussions and meet ups with all the other bloggers to realise that each one of us is doing something extraordinary.

You need to be bloody brave to put yourself and your opinions out online.

I told a friend that her online shop for her clothes boutique would be even more remarkable if she had a little blog on her site; something she could share with her customers and friends about fashion, colour, texture and how that all fit into every day life.

“Who’d read that shit???” she cackled.

“Ahem! What do I do for a living???” was the prompt reply while pointing both index fingers to yours truly.

She wasn’t insulting me, or what I did but I figured out that blogging isn’t for everyone.

No matter how creative or passionate you are, you can’t blog if you think you’re going to be insignificant.

Whether you consciously believe it or not we blog because we have plenty to purge about. It does not matter a single iota if anyone or NO ONE hears us. We hold our own value in what we have to say and there is an inner belief that it will somehow benefit others.

Ordinary Doing the Extraordinary

Beliefs can only be made stronger when tested and tried. There are days I still go back lamenting what I’m doing with this blogging gig but it always comes back to asking myself:

“Why stay silent when I have this freedom of speech and expression?”

I’m a mum raising two wildfire twin boys, living a pretty ordinary, comfortable life but I know this blog of mine, with the connections made and the chance to be creatively adventurous, this platform is the springboard to the extraordinary.

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FYBF – #pbevent 2014 Postcard Edition

Dear FYBF’ers,

I’ve arrived at the Goldie. The flight was rough but I was in good company.

#pbevent 2014

Poor taxi driver. Totes oblivious that his face would be posted on the interwebz.

Anyway, got to my hotel room and what can I say?

#pbevent 2014

Wish you were here.  I’m never coming back.

#pbevent 2014 3

Watch the updates on Twitter and Instagram because *ahem* there WILL be lots to follow.

Love,

(A little tipsy yet very tired but excited) Grace x

1. Follow With Some Grace.

2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.

3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.

4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.

5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love

Did you like this? Share it: