Stay Safe on Your Motorcycle

My husband has recently rekindled his love for motorbike riding. When we were still in college, he was really passionate about bikes. According to him, riding gives the feeling and experience that you just can’t get when driving four wheels. The speed, freedom of movement, the rush; to name a few. He also says that motorbikes are about the spirit of moving in your own way, in your own time and in your own discretion. Concrete, dirt, earth, sand or snow have been treaded just in the experience of riding.

They say that rides feel better if there is an assurance of safety. Of course, who would want to cruise around the country on a 650cc bike running to a hairpin turn at 70mph without the proper riding protection? The wind would just blow your face right off, and if not, the pavement will if your crash your bike. Having a more than decent helmet will save you all the trouble of thinking and worrying. Well, that’s what I would say to my husband since he’s recently been pestering me about getting a bike. What I said was “Buy motorycle gear first. No gear, no bike.”

Helmets are probably the core of any rider’s protection. It protects the head, sheltering one of the most delicate parts of the body: the brain. Keeping the head safe in any roadside accident gives the rider significant protection from serious injuries, more so if paired with proper body armor such as spine protectors, knee and elbow pads and so on. That way, I wouldn’t have to worry about what he needs when he’d go for rides.

Needless to say, motorcycle crashes are dangerous; underbone (or lower displacement) bikes have seen a fair share of accidents and fatalities due to lack of proper riding gear. What more if higher displacement bike riders ignore the need for a proper helmet when riding? Safety should always be the priority when riding motorcycles.

Leading helmet manufacturer Suomy keeps the safety of riders in mind when making their brand helmets. Their handmade shells are of top quality and are also given the highest safety rating when it comes to safety standards. Soumy’s brand helmets come all the way from Italy and cost more than other conventional helmet brands but the workmanship and product quality are well worth the initial shell out.

The lightweight shell keeps the helmet sturdy for impact in crashes and is light enough to lessen rider’s fatigue when worn. The secret behind this is the craftsmanship that goes into production, unnecessary resin are shaved from the shell to keep it lighter than most helmets in the market. The design of the shell, construction and aesthetic wise are one the best in the market. Helmet finish and decorations are also what make Suomy helmets stand out; innovation, craftsmanship and ingenious design rolled into one. We recommend buying motorcycle accessories from S3 Performance, as they provide a high standard in quality that can actually save lives and wives like me from worrying.

It’ll be a breather for me, knowing he’ll be safe when he goes on cruises round town.

A Memorable Memorial

A few weeks ago, we got a call from my husband’s brother Louis. We thought he is just going to say hi, just like what he always does, but unfortunately he had to tell us the bad news. My husband’s mother, Lily, has died after years of battling cancer. We were all shocked on the news. We all knew that Lily fought for her life and she wanted to stay alive. It was heart-breaking.  My husband and I decided to immediately fly to Melbourne to help with all the preparations for her memorials.

The whole family have decided to have a simple but memorable memorial for their mother. My husband’s eldest sister, Hannah, chose a simple white dress for their mother to wear. She and their other sister were the ones in charge of their mother’s clothes and how she is going to look like. On the other hand, Louis and my husband were the ones in charge of the funeral.

I helped my husband plan the whole memorial for their mother. We called and e-mailed their relatives and told them about Lily’s death. We also contacted her closest friends—most of them are teachers she worked with when she was still teaching at the community college. I’m sure that wherever Lily is, she is delighted to see all her family and friends gather to say goodbye to her.

The memorial is almost set, and now the only thing that was left to do is to get her a headstone. After hours of searching online, we ended up getting a headstone for Lily from Astral Stone in Melbourne. We chose a simple headstone for her, nothing too fancy. Her headstone wrote, “In the loving memory of Lily: A loving mother, nana and teacher. A woman of substance.”   I think those phrases perfectly described Lily as a person.

I have attended a couple of memorials before, but I have to say that this one is the most memorable. It was definitely a celebration of Lily’s life—all of the good things she has done for a lot of people, including her students, colleagues, friends, neighbours, family and most especially, her kids. People cried, of course, but laughter also echoed the room. Lily has lived a challenging but fun life—I’m sure she does not want us to cry over her death. She has always been a fighter, always reminding us that everyone will eventually die so death should not upset someone. Lily is definitely going to be missed, but I’m pretty sure that she is happy wherever she is right now

A Night Of Childless Indulgence – And Wine!

Hubby was away on a business trip and my mum offered to take the kids last weekend – from Friday after school to Sunday morning  (I don’t think the poor women knew what she was in for!) But it had been a while since I took the ‘mummy’ hat off and actually had more than 10 minutes to myself, so I agreed and said a silent prayer that I wouldn’t receive a phone call from mum saying the boys had fed Roger (her pet goldfish) to one of the many cats her neighbour has adopted.

So after watching mum drive off with the boys, I felt slightly unsure of what to do with myself (having been a full-time mum for the past 11 years, your time is usually filled doing things for other people!) The idea of wine night with the girls soon became very appealing, as it had been a good 18 months since our last one. I organised for the girls to come over Saturday night, all with a bottle of their favourite red wine or rose (switching between red and white in one night is never a good idea, but when you’re middle-aged, it’s almost certain to be suicide). Everyone was also asked to bring a snack food item, which would pair perfectly with their bottle such as a variety of cheeses, crackers, quince paste, olives, cold meats, etc. The invites (ok, text messages) were sent out and requested the presence of my 6 favourite girl-friends for a night of fine wine, accompaniments, and good conversation (alright, a night of drunkenness, snacks and gossip!) Most of them are mums, so it was a welcome surprised when only 1 couldn’t make it because of babysitting issues.

Saturday night rolled around and I hadn’t received a disastrous call from mum, so the preparation for the wine night was in full swing – I had my favourite album on, I tidied up the house, spent more than 2 minutes doing my hair (can’t remember the last time I did that!), organised the crockery, and might have had a sneaky pre-wine night glass of wine. The girls started arriving at 6:30pm, all with a different bottle. Between us, we accumulated bottles of:  a Rex Watson Coonawarra Merlot, Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz blend, Taltarni Estate Shiraz, Cold Stream Hills Pinot Noir, Woodstock Grenache Rose, and I supplied quite a pricey bottle of Majella Cabernet Sauvignon which I had been saving for a special occasion. It didn’t take long for the first bottle to be cracked open and the wine flowed quicker than I thought (but when you’re discussing such things as 50 Shades of Grey, Brad Pitt vs. Justine Theroux and the PM’s dress sense, you lose track of the volume of alcohol drunk!) The wine was divine and the snacks paired amazingly well; my favourites were the Cold Stream Pinot Noir with almond-covered sticky dates, and the Taltarni Estate Shiraz with cheese, crackers and an antipasto mix of olives, peppers and artichokes.

All in all, the night was a great success, we all drank lots, had a much-needed catch up and night of child-less relaxation. The only thing I would’ve changed was drinking more water before I went to bed; and asking mum to drop the kids off a little later on Sunday morning!

Removing The Training Wheels

In the movies, there are scenes of parents teaching their kids how to ride an adult-sized bicycle for the first time: there’s joy and emotion as the parent runs alongside the bicycle, holding on, and then finally with an oomph of emotion and wondrous tears of joy, they watch their little person ride off into the sunset, proud as pie that they’ve made it onto 2 wheels. I have to say, this is a load of nonsense and I’ll explain why: A week ago, all my boys (talk about ganging up!) came to talk to me about getting new bicycles – the “ones without baby wheels mum!” as they put it. The older one had obviously been persuaded by a friend in school who now owns a ‘proper’ bicycle; and of course the younger two just wanted to be like their older brother.

For my youngest, I flat out refused as he’s only 3 and (as I read) most kids only learn to ride when they are 4 (plus I wanted to delay the pain a bit longer!) After a few tears, he finally understood why and that he had something to look forward to when his birthday came around.  My second son never had a bike, which is slightly weird, but we were going through a bit of a rough time when he was growing up and were forced to downsize (it was never an issue though as none of them were that big on biking then); so I had to succumb to his request –naturally. The older one, I must admit had been patient with the training wheels, so again I was guilted into agreeing.

We decided to look online as internet shopping has even extended to bulky items like bicycles! So we were all huddled around the laptop on the dining room table, scouring the internet for the appropriate bicycles for my little ones. After looking at a few sites we came across Bicycles Online. I immediately went to the Kids Bikes section, followed by a chorus of groans – apparently my boys were “too old” for kids bikes, and so the nightmare continued.

After dinner, and my oldest 2 looking through the Bicycles Online website, they pull me over to show me what they’ve found. My middle boy wants something called a Polygon Collosus CRX XX Sram XX 20 Speed, and my eldest a Polygon Cozmic DXP Dirt Jump – as if it wasn’t bad enough that these bikes had the words ‘speed’ and ‘jump’ on the end of them, but they were mountain bikes; weren’t mountain bikes for professional cyclists, not little boys who just want to ride around the neighbourhood???

After some more convincing (when did I become such a pushover???), I agreed to call Bicycles Online to discuss with them what they thought of the situation (much to the embarrassment of my boys!) The man who answered the phone was very helpful and assured me plenty of parents had bought these bicycles for their kids. That’s all the boys needed, as unfortunately I had told them that if the shop assistant said it was ok, then they could get them – silly me!

They arrived this morning, luckily while they’re at school and I’m dreading their return home.Now, I now I’m being paranoid and my 2 boys are passed the age when kids take the training wheels off their bikes, but all I can picture when I think of them riding around on 2 wheels, is giving them a push and then seeing them dive face first into the pavement as bike-related injuries are common among children (did I mention, I’m a hypochondriac!!!)  My boys may be ready to ‘remove the proverbial training wheels’, but I’m not too sure I am. What I am sure about is my pleasant experience buying a bike on the internet. You may not be too keen on it either, but if you’re kids start hassling you; I’d recommend buying online – particularly the mountain bikes from Bicycles Online (even if I’m not happy they’ve arrived, they do look awfully snazzy!)

I’ll put another post up in a few days time to let you all know how my first big-boy-bicycle experience went (if I haven’t experienced cardiac arrest!)

Stress-free pregnancy with good health insurance

This morning, I got amazing news from my girl friends! Three of them are going to have a baby soon and I am really excited for them because they are going to be first time moms. Being a mom is such a wonderful feeling, and every time I give birth the feeling never gets old. I really want every mother to have a stress-free pregnancy so this is why I have decided to make this post to serve as a guide not just for my friends but also for other future moms out there.

One of the most common concerns of future moms is the cost of having a baby. It varies for each and every one of us, depending on the health system cover you prefer. You must also keep in mind that in Australia, health insurance only covers in-hospital services. This simply means that most of your medical expenses during your pregnancy will not be covered by your health insurance until you arrive in the hospital to give birth. However, they might be covered in part by Medicare. Also, your health insurance cannot cover outpatient services such as obstetrician and general practitioner visits, blood tests and scans.

I do recommend that future moms should get themselves a health insurance that includes obstetrics, just like the one I got for myself when I was about to give birth to my youngest son six months ago. My husband and I decided to get a health insurancefrom nib, as per his sister’s recommendation. She told us that nib and IMAN offers good health cover that is going to suit our needs and budget, so we had to give them a try. We have been happy with them so I am also recommending nib to my friends and to the readers of this blog.

Obstetrics is not offered on every health cover they offer so I suggest that you should give them a call to make sure that the level of your health cover will suit you perfectly and will cater to all your needs. If you are a new customer or you have just newly moved to a cover that includes obstetrics, benefit limitation may apply. This means that the customer will receive the restricted benefits after 12 to 24 months of waiting.

Nib also gave a very good tip—-“if you are planning to have a baby, and you’d like to use your health insurance to go to a private hospital, you’ll need to be on a health cover that includes obstetrics at least 3 months before you start trying to fall pregnant”. Unfortunately I did not know about this when I got pregnant with my youngest son, but I am putting this out there just in case there are newlyweds reading my blog and are planning to have a baby soon.

For more information on health insurance , visit nib www.nib.com.au or www.austhealth.com

Guest Post – Plan a spectacular birthday party for your kids

Hosting a birthday party for the kids is not as much of a task as you might think. Organising the celebration even makes up half the fun! Here are a few simple tips to help you get started.

Who, what and when?

The first stage of party preparation is sorting out the birthday invitations. Not just who to invite, but what the theme of the party will be. Birthday invitations should illustrate a theme; princesses, super heroes, villains, medieval knights, fairies, cartoon characters, ponies and pirates are just a few fun suggestions. There’s a wide range of kid’s party invitations available these days, you can even order customisable prints online. So if the birthday boy or girl absolutely insists on having a purple & yellow polka-dot zombies theme, you’ll be able print your own purple & yellow polka-dot zombie birthday invitations! It’s important to send out party invitations early, perhaps a few weeks before the party so that the guests (and their parents) can prepare.

Where?

Where you hold the party depends on your budget and the weather. The safest bet is to hold the party at home. If you have an outdoor eating area you can set up a table outside to avoid mess inside the house. You’ll have to consider what party supplies you will need as well: food, decorations and prizes for the games.

Fun & games

Classics like pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey and bobbing for apples are great, but there are also plenty of other exciting games for children. If you’re holding a pirate dress-up, a treasure hunt game is a good example. Treasure hunting games are easy to prepare and the kids will love them. Other fun games include; potato sack rallies, Simon says, musical chairs, charades, celebrity heads, you can make up your own and change the rules. If you do have a creative idea for a game, make sure the chances of winning are equal for all. Everyone should get a prize, because parties are about everyone having fun and enjoying themselves.

Party snacks

No party is complete without delicious food and snacks. It’s one of the few times you can spoil the kids a little by allowing them to have treats and a slice of cake afterwards. You can set up a table with a variety of snacks like biscuits, crackers, dips, lollies and chips – but you can also add a fruit platter, bread sticks and coffee biscuits for the parents. Try not to go too heavy on the sweets, as there will be cake to look forward to as well. Prepare a lot of hot food like mini meat pies, pizzas, pigs in a blanket, sausage rolls, quiches and other bite sized treats.

About Vistaprint

Vistaprint was founded in 1995 and is the leading online provider of promotional products and services for small businesses. Vistaprint offers low-cost, high quality and completely customisable prints to market any small business. While Vistaprint continues to focus on providing micro businesses the chance to make a lasting impression, it has expanded its product range to include a wide variety of printed materials including birthday invitations, posters, stationery accessories, magnets, t-shirts and even rubber stamps.

Building your child’s character

As parents, we always want to be able to raise confident, happy and fulfilled kids. We want them to have a beautiful future where they are able to share and love and are loved in return. As partners in raising and molding them, we have the power to provide them opportunities to learn what is right and to build a character that will prepare them for the future.

Children learn a lot from mirroring. They are very good in observing the ways of those they look up to and most often than not, children idolize no other but us, their parents. I have noticed that my sons idolize their father so much. They want to dress up just like their dad, choose the things that their dad would choose. They would always say “look at me, I’m just like daddy”. My husband finds this very touching, but he also knows the greater challenge that comes with this. There’s a pressure on him now to demonstrate the best behavior since our kids really look up to him.

However, we realized how we are going to inevitably fall short of this challenge. We figured out that letting our children see our imperfections is something that is not embarrassing. We just need to have the courage to admit to them that what we did was wrong and to explain to them why it was wrong. We should also tell them the things we should have done instead.

Building up the characters of our children and refraining from raising a bunch of spoiled brats does take a lot of work and requires a lot of effort. It entails not only the typical disciplining that we too have experienced from our very own parents—time outs and consequences. We must more so guard ourselves and make sure that we are on the right track and in the right spirit as we strive to be the best parents we can possibly be.

Dealing with Tantrums

Last week, my second son Charles and I went to the toy store because I have to get my nephew a gift for his birthday. I couldn’t leave Charles at home so I decided to bring him, which later on became something that I have truly regretted.

While we were inside the store, he wanted me to get him this toy car but I said no. We didn’t have a budget for a new toy and also I thought that I should start teaching him discipline. Unfortunately, his sweet pleas changed into full-on wailing as he flails his arms and legs while lying down on the floor of a toy store. It was really unnerving.

When we arrived home, I immediately looked up what tantrums is all about. I wanted to understand what it was, because I never experienced the same thing with my first born son. Here’s what I have found out:

Temper tantrums are unplanned and unintentional fits that children use as their way to express their anger and frustration that often comes with physical and verbal outbursts. I have always thought that this is a child’s way to get attention, but I was wrong. Experts through their studies have proven that wrong.

I also found out that 80% of children between the ages one to four have temper tantrums. Experts say that temper tantrums are a normal part of early child development. This is the toddler’s way to try, in their own limited way, to sort out the rules for their social environment. That was a relief for me.

Also, I read from my research that the best way to cope with a child’s public temper tantrum is to wait it out. I was actually proud of myself that I did the same way to Charles even before I read this article I found online! Once he calmed down, I explained to him everything and tried my best to make him understand my reason why I didn’t get him the toy that he wanted. I also talked to him about his behavior.

Travelling with the kids

Every summer vacation, my husband and I make sure that we plan an annual vacation for the whole family. This is our way to spend more time and bond with them. My kids have always been looking forward to this and just like them, I am also really excited to go to our next destination!

My husband decided that this year, we should probably go out of town instead of going out of the country. We don’t have a huge budget for this vacation since the inflation rate this year is high. We also had a number of important expenses to pay. This did not bother me at all, since spending vacation out of town can also be as fun and as exciting as spending it abroad.

If you think that traveling with three kids can be very stressful, well, you are right. But that does not mean that we can’t do anything about it! With a few precautions and sufficient preparation, it is possible to keep your kids safe and healthy so the whole family can cherish those special bonding moments.

First, you have to choose your destination wisely. You should consider several factors—the climate in that city, the accomodation, and other basic concerns. You should also try searching online some information about the common diseases at your desired destination. It is better to prepare accordingly since you can’t take any chances when you are traveling with kids.

Second, identify your mode of travel. There are required preparations for each one of them. This year, we are planning to do a roadtrip with the kids. I have come up with some ideas to put fun in travel even if we are on the road. I prepared a CD with all their favorite songs and I also packed their favorite toys so they can play with them once they get restless. Creativity is the key.

Lastly, never forget to safety measures. Since we are having a roadtrip, my husband brought the van we will be using to his mechanic to make sure that the vehicle is in a very good condition before we travel. Also, as I was planning this trip, I started to look for good travel insurance providers. Getting travel insurance is very essential—you never know what will happen so it is really better to prepared. I was looking at the rates offer by NIB. I asked for a quote and they have already replied, but I still have to talk to my husband about this.

Embarking on a trip with your kids is definitely the best way to spend some quality time with them. With careful planning and preparation, this should be a breeze for all the moms out there.

Parenting 101

I received a phone call from my younger sister who just gave birth to a lovely baby boy last month and she was telling me all her “mom problems”. She was really upset because she says that she does not know anything about being a mom and she needs my help. I laughed and told her that she sounded like me when I had my first born child. I did not have any idea on the do’s and don’ts of being a mom then.

Like all parents, my husband and I learned that babies did not come with a manual. Learning to care for them is like learning what to do on the job. It was really difficult and confusing. That is why I started to read all the parenting books I can get my hands on, cross-referencing books as much as eight books at the same time. I also spent time researching online, reading forums and posts from mom bloggers out there. I also relied on parenting websites (one of my personal favorites is Raising Children Network because of their organized and good parenting tips) and kept their tips in mind.

I also remember being on the phone with my own mother as she dictates to me the things that I should take note of while taking care of my baby. She never failed to remind me that breast feeding is important and that I should always eat shellfish soup because it helps to increase the amount of breast milk.

I told my sister that she is going to get pass all these confusion and difficulty. She just needs to calm down and search for help in the right places. We are actually lucky to be in a generation where information is just one click away and people are willing to share their knowledge and experiences through blogs and forums.