Friday, December 27, 2013

Happiness is...



Happy Belated Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful time with your family and had special times. My family is relaxing right now. The kids had a ball but we were so exhausted after the first bbq lunch. Then we had to go to my mums afterwards for dinner. Next year we have decided to do dinner a bit earlier. Perhaps Christmas Eve. We had lots of rain this year again. I remember last year the rain had stopped so we could have dinner but this year we ferried to the garage (where dinner was set up) and the main house with umbrellas.

I made this wreath cake. It was a mud cake and I couldn't find any bundt cake tins (can you believe it?). So I just cut out the middle. There was much fun to be had and lots of quoting from My Big Fat Greek Wedding :"What is it?" "It's a bundt" "A bont, a bobt, ... Oh it's a cake..... with a hole in it!"

I finished the ganache in the morning (never doing that again) and it came out lumpy/curdled. I initially thought it was the cream but as it turns out and with help from the internets, if you use more than 50% cocoa in the dark choc you are melting you'lll curdle it with the cream. What's the fix? Add more cold cream and stir until your ganache is smooth! It really works!!! Truly.

Happiness is actually having buttermilk for pancakes, for once. Tasted pretty good but not as fluffy. At least my eldest girl said these are the best pancakes ever! Will have to search for a really good recipe or buy those pancake shakes. Found out that using the 1/4 cup scoop is very handy to make equal medium sized pancakes in the pan.

Loving this mango, prawn and avocado salad we had for Christmas. It was well worth the effort. I peeled the cold cooked prawns but my other sis in laws peeled the mangos and avocados. I'll never get over eating prawns but they can get expensive this time of year.


Happiness is also recieving this from my sister. I am loving this bag. Perfect size and colours. I was looking for a medium size bag for myself and of course, I didn't have to buy myself one! My sister is suffering from a bit of graft vs host disease at the moment. She is ok but her taste buds are not behaving and she is now diagnosed with diabetes, type 2. So, figure that out, the Leukaemia is gone but she has diabetes. We'll keep praying that she gets back to good health very soon. She is in good spirits though and we were happy that she had a nice Christmas with us.

Anyway, we're still grazing on left-overs so not much cooking happening. Yay for me! But there's still washing and ironing and I'm still waiting on my fancy iron to arrive. Will talk more about that later. 

Hope you all are having a happy holiday.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book winner and a flurry of activities


Sorry for the delayed post but I finally made some time to remember to draw the book winner which is:
Blogger Material Girl said...
Would love to read these books to my granddaughter,thanks for the chance. You are very generous!

I've sent you an e-mail so I hope to get your parcel out to you tomorrow.



In other events, there's been some Christmas skirt sewing. I looked into the stash and found this very pretty floral light cotton. I decided to make some skirts for the girls using the basic but lovely Lazy Days Skirt instructions from Oliver & S. This one is the size 7 and a bit longish. I had made a smaller one for the youngest girl but it turned out a teeny bit too short so I will be fixing it by adding an extra layer under the hemline to lengthen it.


Speaking of trims, I ordered this pretty lace trim from this Etsy seller: Natural Balcony. It did take a few weeks as it's from Korea but the shipping is very reasonable. She also added some extra samples of trim which will come in handy.




Last week I only went to the gym once but I had a mini work-out at home. There's a reason why mums can't work out at home. Unless you prefer a challenge with a toddler sitting on you whilst you are doing crunches, it's difficult. He also wants me to hold him and I have to try not to bump into him when I am doing my star jumps. The exercise helps me with my mood and I feel better knowing I've worked out a bit.

I've been finishing up Christmas shopping and just prioritising my time so as not to get stressed. We had a hamper drive for St Vincent de Paul, which was really great. I love playing Santa! My group of guys are awesome. They keep me inspired and are so guided by the Holy Spirit in their lives.

There was another birthday party as well but this one was a smaller group and I actually had a good time catching up with two mothers from school which I never get a chance to chat to during the school period.


We had a bit of crafting happening too. See above. Those are Christmas cards we recieved from school friends. I decided to cut them up and use them as lanterns to replace the broken ones. My son said to his sister " Come and see. Something amazing has happened in our bedroom" How cute.

On another good note, during today's shopping session, the toddler went crazy again during his tired time and I got those looks from shoppers but I went into Coles and one of the mothers from the Playgroup I knew patted me on the shoulder and said "You're doing a great job" I welled up a bit and said "Yeah, he's just tired." and smiled back at her. It's really nice to have someone else voice their support for you.

I'll be back soon with a skirt tutorial I think. I'll try to get a ruffle skirt out for you guys. But as for tonight, we'll be out there singing some Carols.

See you later, I hope!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Book Giveaway!

** Giveaway closed **

EDIT: I've linked this up to the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!! Giveaway ends Friday December 13th!

When I recieve this box from Scholastic it IS like Christmas Day over and over again! I get so much enjoyment knowing that I'll be recieving quality books that will change my life and my children's lives. I truly believe in their motto: Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life. So true.

That's why I've decided to have a book giveaway because they have sent me quite a few and I have to, need to, share the book love. Above is My Merry Christmas by Rosie Smith and Bruce Whatley (sorry if it's blurry). It has lovely illustrations inside and tells a story about what the animals are getting up to during Christmas time.
 Here is the book Blossum Possum and the Christmas Quacker by Gina Newton and beautifully illustrated by Christina Booth. Blossum and her friends are desperately trying to wake up Koala Claus and it's a lovely journey that takes you through the bushland of Australia. I think the kids really enjoy stories that rhyme. I often stop before the last word to see if the kids can finish off the sentences.

You can't miss the classic Little Red Riding Hood by Alison Jay with cute illustrations. Your children will adore this book. The ending is changed a little so that your little ones won't be so scared. The huntsman ties up the wolf and he finds grandma and Little Red Riding Hood in the wardrobe! Ahh bliss.

Here is Jacquie with Kiss, Kiss, Good Night and below with My Christmas Crackers which I thought was a story book at first but it's actually Christmas jokes! They are very cute.

She had a day care Christmas Party and I took all the kids this time without any incidents. We bought some raffle tickets and they had a little animal farm. Check out this lama! The youngest boy was cornered by the lambs which was rather funny. He thought they were going to eat him. Funny. 
They kids had a bit of a dance. Did the YMCA (remember that?) Then they drew out the raffle prizes. There was one last ticket name after 5 or so winners. I kinda prayed that if we were deserving of a prize could we win and then they called my name out! Hurrah. That was funny too and we got a bag with a reed perfume diffuser inside. Nice.

The youngest boy loves Dinosaur Farm. At first it looks a bit wierd but it is so differently cool. I really enjoy reading this to them. We always read in bed and I am so thankful that Scholastic are printing some quality reads out there. Don't be shy and judge a book by it's cover though. It's the story that counts.


This is him reading Rawr by Todd. H Doodler which is another dinosaur book. Can you tell he is a typical boy who loves all things dinosaur? He melts my heart. I love this book. It's cute and friendly.

So, without further boring you, I would love to giveaway the first three books to one lucky reader. Please leave a comment. All entries welcome from around the world. I will announce the winner on Friday, 13th December and will post it out on Monday!

Thankyou everyone. You can get back to your Christmas plans now.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Positives

 
Thankyou everyone for your kind words of support and comments. You will be happy to know that after a few talks with hubby I am on the mend; mentally, emotionally, physically. I know it won't happen over night but with a few adjustments here and there I'll be ok soon enough. To start off the past few weeks have been full of positive things. Lots of birthdays. LOTS. Wow.  My sister made these beautiful and delicious red velvet rose cream cupcakes for her daughter's birthday.


They tasted really nice and fluffy. Although there were red crumbs everywhere when we went bowling. She said to make the two-toned cream you stuff the wall of the piping bag with one colour and then fill the rest with another colour and you have to use a 1" nozzle of some sort which she got from the cake store. Whatever, they tasted lovely.

 We've got a bit of self-love happening around here. Found this great top from TEMT. It was only $10 so a bit of a bargain if I say so myself. The photo bomber approves.
I like the simplicity of the shape and the material even though it can show dirt and food stuffs if I am not careful. Do not touch children who are eating red velvet cupcakes whilst wearing this shirt. It does look really good on paired with jeans and slightly wavy long hair. See below.


It was a good day had by all.
We went to a restaurant later on and had this birthday cake afterwards.
 
I only realised later on that night that the birthday cake was in the shape of an 8. D'uh. She scwiftly blew out ALL the candles in one blow!!! Yay. It was spongy with cream in between and nice to eat. The next birthday is coming up this Saturday. More cake! Oh no, more gym lol.
 
I'll be having a book giveaway next so stay tuned for more!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wheels fell off

(Image sourced from : http://amazingasset.com/2012/08/13/my-experience-with-depression/)

I've been umming and arrhing about this post for a while but decided it's better to get it out in the open and face reality with you, ... the rest of reality. I wrote this post because I know I'm not the only one who feels like this. So here goes:
It began last week when I took all the kids by myself to the shopping centre. All was well and we even had a free Santa photo and a few hours later I should have just gone home.
Instead, I decided to take a quick duck into Aldi and that's when the stares happened.
My eldest son (5.5yrs) started to whinge and cry. He was loud(ish) and people started to look.
This nice lady carrying a load of blown up balloons from Jetts thought it might be nice if they all got to carry a balloon so each got one. If only it worked.

People stared at him. At me. One of them even swore. Out Loud no less. She cursed our Lord. I wanted to tell her to shut up.

Then while we lined up at the check out he kept going and I told him to stop but of course he didn't.
The lady at the front stared at him in disbelief. She kept staring most of the time. Probably wondering why my insistently pleads for him to stop crying weren't working on my tired little boy. The youngest boy in the pram was smacking the customer in the front with the stick that holds those big balloons. The balloon had fallen off and I couldn't take the stick away from him. That would have started his crying and everyone would have to put up with both my boys.

This nice old man asked my boy what was wrong. He said he was just tired and no-one was listening to him. I managed a smile and perhaps even that lady smiled a little. But the straw on my back was broken. I went home feeling like something was wrong.

On Sunday I had my final meltdown. My depression had hit me and I had to face the facts that life is not so dandy afterall. Luckily hubby is very cluey on these things and asked me about it. The tears fell and I managed to open up about it. Depression is different to being just sad. It's because you've hid a lot of your emotions for so long that you can no longer hold it together. You feel like you've failed and you wonder how you will enjoy the things you use to enjoy doing and get on with life again. You feel a bit afraid to open up, maybe you feel ashamed or confused or guilty. Or all of the above. It's ok to feel that way.
Did you know that 1 in 5 women in Australia will experience depression and 1 in 3 women will experience anxiety in their lifetime! - Source Beyond Blue website.
But there's help. You are not alone and for me I will be praying a lot more for help. I like the Beyond Blue web site. It's a good place to start.

So there. I said it and I know it's going to get better. I trust that it will. For starters, there's chocolate in my handbag and I'm going to start with that!!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Home Fun : Scholastic Books

Well, we've been continuing our book journey together. Thanks to Scholastic the kids enjoy the books over and over again. They pretty much love the ones they can sing to or do fun activities.

The boys really like 10 Hooting Owls by Simon Williams. They sing every page and they like to find the number on each page. It's good learning for the younger ones and the Owls are cute. We have another one: Where's Santa - Around the World by Louis Shea (below). Even Daddy got involved with them it was so much fun (below).


Here they are looking at We Wish You A Ripper Christmas by Colin Buchanan and Illustrations by Roland Harvey. This one came with a cd and the guy sings the words. It might be a tad bit too 'Outback' for us. I might like to see something that isn't too stereotype about Australia. I mean, for most of us, we're not surrounded by Koalas, Kangaroos and Emu's. But it's a nice one as Christmas is just around the corner. We still prefer The Bear Went Over the Mountain. Jay Lagaia sings the whole thing and the kids dance throughout the whole thing as the music is very good.



Below are my younger ones (my 4 and 2.5yr old) favourites for bed-time reading and these get read almost every night as a bed-time routine. 

I actually really like the Big Beet by Lynn Ward. It's like an Aussie version of the the Big Turnip. Remember that one? Where lots of people and animals get involved to pull out a big turnip? Well this one you'll like the characters like Shazza and Daz and the School girls who all get involved in trying to pull out this ginormous beet. The kids love it. The illustrations are very good too. 
My 4 yr old enjoys My First Book of Jokes alot! I try to get her to memorise the jokes as she also needs to practise her speech. It's a fun way to do it so she learns to speak more clearly. She's been doing some speech therapy and we have her in the local Community Health Centre Speech therapist once fortnightly. But I digress, this book has cute animals and cute jokes.

We have our normal Scholastic book pamphletts from school so you may recognise some of these books and give them a go. I've got my eye on The Terrible Suitcase so I'll be reviewing that for you next time. So get in your orders this week before it's too late!!! Do you have any good books from Scholastic lately???

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kids shorts - MADE

It's Spring down here in Australia but it feels like summer. The weather can be quite hot one day, cooler at night, and mild the next day. You just can't tell. I think I can put away the winter jackets though. Normally with a change in the seasons I pack away clothes that will not be worn often and are just taking up valuable space in the cupboards. I also discover  what is missing for the kids. It turns out that my eldest girl has hardly any shorts or skirts for the warm weather.

I decided to buy a few shorts but for me the pricing of $20 is rather insane. I decided to buy the Kid Shorts pattern by Dana of MADE. It was a measly $6 which I should have bought ages ago. It's terrific because the sizing starts from 12months to 10 years!!! WOW. I knew I had to do make something nice with this sage coloured polka dot fabric I bought from the local fabric store.

I cut out the size 8 as my daughter needs a bit more room (and I don't have any problems with her eating habit, even if she is a bit fussy!). It did take a while to make the bias binding, next time I shall just buy store bought to save me the hours agonising on inches versus metric measurements in the tutorials. I think I've figured it out by now anyway. It was lots of fun putting this together and REALLY easy. She wears it all the time and I shall be making many more for her! The only thing is that the waistband scrunches into itself but she doesn't mind that. I might add some interfacing next time. I made the flat front finish on it.


and yay, my seedlings are growing.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The cutest labels - Hippo Blue

This is my youngest daughter Jacquie. Jacquie is 3, turning 4 very soon and goes to day care once a week. She also has speech therapy once a week and bad mummy packs her food in plastic bags and old lunch boxes and scribbles her name on paper labels. 

Jacquie is very happy today because she's sporting a brand new lunch box which has her name imprinted on it and it was made by Hippo Blue. Jacquie is in dire need of special name labels and that is where Hippo Blue saved my day and made everything look pretty.
Hippo Blue made up a batch of their Vinyl Label Variety pack and I could not be more pleased. I've had other labels before and these ones are quite impressive. Why? well because there's a lot more variety. I like how there are different sizes so I can plaster her name on all her pieces she needs for day care and school.

Did you see those cute footprint stickers? They're shoe stickers. How cool! We also recieved round dots and new square ones which I've never seen before. Mmmmm. We got Jumbo and Large too; yes, there's a difference! 

Here is the lunch box filled with her water bottle and finally a label on her lunch box using one of the small name labels. She is a little fairy princess after all. The lunch box is very roomy and it should last for when she starts pre-school next year.
 I chose the Pink Bird theme but they have plenty of others to choose from. It's hard to choose just one but it's easy to apply the different themes on their web site to see how it would look. I think it's adorable.
This is the Jumbo name label on her clear folder. I keep all her speech therapy cards and activities in it. I love how nice it looks now and it's a great size. All Hippo Blue's name labels are made from high quality sourced vinyl. They're extra sticky and extra durable which allows them to be dishwasher, waterproof and microwave friendly!!!

If you check out their web site they have really good specials on at the moment. You can get their labels on special now. What can you get in The Vinyl Variety pack?
The vinyl variety pack includes: 

- Pencil/Mini - 52 x 12mm – 32 labels.
- Standard - 52 x 24mm –  16 labels.
- Large - 104 x 24mm –  8 labels.
- Jumbo - 96 x 31mm – 6 labels.
- Shoe - 48 x 35mm – 8 labels + 8 clear overlays (extra protection)
- Circle - 38 x 38mm – 8 labels.
- Square - 42 x 42mm – 8 labels.

TOTAL AMOUNT OF LABELS = 86 Vinyl labels + 8 clear overlays.









That's amazing. I'd totally recommend trying them out. They have many more items on their on-line store. Get in quick before their offers end. You don't want to miss out!

Thanks again to Hippo Blue for being a great Australian company.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Father's Day and a Birthday

Every Father's Day weekend we also celebrate my eldest's child's birthday. In the morning their dad got his gifts from the school's fathers day stall. He was also doing the bbq at his parents for the big get together we always have. The europeans sure love to have a big feast but it makes for lots of fun and smiles.

I digress, Mia turned 7 and I decided to make that cake (from the previous post). She also helped. Most of it came together really nicely except the rocky road filling. We followed the instructions but I didn't think that the warm melted chocolate would also melt the marshmallows. So we ended up with gooey sticky chocolate with pistachio bits. Still we went with it.

I had baked two packets of White Wings Rich Chocolate cake because sometimes speedy is my middle name. Which turned out just as well since we also went to church for a bit in the evening. We came home a bit tired but she still wanted to stay up and help me with her cake. She said "Isn't it wierd that I'm making my own cake?" I laughed and said "Yeah, but it's fun."

It still tasted pretty good. On top there are broken pieces of the Cadbury's Raspberry Clinkers Marshmallows Creations and I didn't make the mashmallows that are suppose to go on top. I cut up some strawberries and bought some decorations for it. The princess bunting was a cake topper packet from Woolworths along with Happy Birthday letter candles I also got a number 7 sparkler for special effects.

The kids had a great time at the in-laws and we were so pooped by the end of the day. I had a shower and cut up some fabric. It was the perfect way to end the day. I hope you all had a great day too.