Sunday, September 9, 2012

Italian Beef Hotpot

I have been using my slow cooker a bit lately. With everything else that's been going on here (a deluge of paper from work, colds and flu, just the general busy-ness that comes with having three children), easy, cheap and food that's ready when I get home has been more than appealing!

Italian Beef Hotpot (serves 4... at least)

500g diced steak
6 mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
2 potatoes
1.5 cups stock
1 tin tomatoes
1 cup red wine
3 tablespoons tapioca
Salt/Pepper to taste
Herbs to taste (eg mixed Italian herbs)

Put all ingredients into a slow cooker
Cook on low for 8 hours
Serve with mash/bread/fettucine

Some optional extras:
Add risoni after 6/7 hours for a thicker stew
Add additional veges as required
Add cream before serving
(my favourite) add a half teaspoon of curry powder for additional flavour

I love it! Such a lovely pick me up after a long day.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Terrible mother?

I'm not very good at reminding the tooth fairy to leave money, so we've come to an agreement that he*/she will only visit once my children have left a little note. That guarantees I've got at least 48 hours to get my act together!!!

Last week, Miss Piggy's front teeth fell out. Hubby and I were up late trying to work out how to... ahem.. contact the tooth fairy when we realised that in all the haste of writing a letter, our little princess had inadvertently literally lost her teeth!

We searched high and low through her bed, under pillows and stuffed animals, under the bed amongst all the weird and wonderful things that lurk there. Under all the clothing on her floor. Under the mess of hair stuff on her desk.

No joy.

And the realisation that our little princess is as untidy as her mother. Well... I guess we don't call her Miss Piggy for nothing.

So here's what the tooth fairy ended up leaving her:

The following morning in my classroom, when the tale was told (joyously, I might add, by Mr Z) I copped a lot of scathing looks from my students who obviously think the tooth fairy is a little bit of a bitch harsh. Harsh but fair, I prefer to think.

I certainly got lots of messages of congratulation support from FB friends! And a few denouncing the fairy as a 'meanie'.

Hmmm... I'm conflicted. Pure genius..? or pure evil..?!


* Having seen The Rock in Disney's The Tooth Fairy, my children are absolutely convinced that Dwayne has our house on his route. They've asked for him by name in their notes!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tip: colouring fondant red

I love working with fondant when it comes to making my kids' cakes. It's kind of like year nine art class all over again, and despite my reluctance to start a new project, I always come away feeling ok about my efforts as a mummy who decorates!

Red fondant is a tricky one, though. Where we live it has to be ordered and sent and as I am a last minute kind of girl, who have birth to similarly last minute kind of children (I want a train - Yoda... hang on, I think I want a red ninja cake... or...) I just never get my act together in time to do anything as grown up as ordering ahead. Plus, I am a Scrooge and like to keep things cheap and cheerful where possible.

So... having made both Mater Truck and a Red Power Ranger Samurai cake this year, I thought I'd share my secret to 'el cheapo' red fondant icing.

Paint it.

As in with a paint brush.

Easy, isn't it? I use a watercolour brush and red food colouring and have found that two quick coats gives a beautiful sheen - and limits the amount of red colouring your little munchkins will ingest (not a fan of all those E numbers or hyper kids).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer dress - mini tutorial

I love simple clothes for home. It is just so hot here most of the year, it's nice to feel comfortable.

I found an Espirit quilt cover at Dimmeys a few months ago and just loved the colour combos it had. I also liked that the design was assymetrical - I thought it had potential for an interesting beach dress.

I am not a great sewer and I also know that I get bored if a project takes too long... so this was a make-in-an-afternoon job. Enjoy the pictures!

 I cut a rectangle that had the width I wanted around the legs (nice and open enough to walk comfortably, approx. double my waist measurement)

 Shirred the waist - three rows for comfort

Sew the edges together and turn inside out.

Bias bind the arm holes and neckline.

RESULT: A nice, relaxed shoulder V-neck dress :)

Glad I saved the orange and red parts of the quilt though, while this microfibre weave feels soft on the skin, it is super sweaty to wear!!!

Linking up with Flaming Toes Think Pink Sundays :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Baby Shows..? Yay or Nay?

You know how I said here and here that sometimes I regret starting things with my first, knowing I'll have to repeat them twice more with the other kids? Like the one-of-a-kind birthday cakes that represent what they're 'into' at the time... or the full-sized quilts for their beds (still got one to go there)... taping the entire Kindy Christmas concert for posterity...

I am just the kind of person who likes to be even-handed with my kids. I know there are times when they have to accept that life isn't fair, but I need them to know that I love them all the same. I like to think of the special things I do for them as evidence of my love. I admit, I get sentimental and a little bit hung-up on 'stuff'. I think losing a parent early makes you want to leave something behind for your kids. As I tuck them under the blankets that I've made, I tell them that each is a hug that mummy leaves with them when she can't be there. The cakes are to prove that I love them enough to sacrifice time for them in the kitchen (everyone knows how I hate to cook). Even though those things take time (eons of time, three times over) I take great pleasure in knowing that one day they'll look back and think 'my mum did that for me'.

My mum always made stuff for us. My dad was often busy with his own projects, but I remember he once entered me into a Agricultural Showgirl Contest. I felt so happy that he thought I was pretty enough and dignified enough to enter. It was one of the moments of my teenage years where I felt I had pleased my dad just by being me - and that I had earned his acceptance and his praise.

I hasten to add that despite this euphoria I also felt embarrassed and worried that everyone at school would find out... I was downright mortified when a boy in the year ahead of me asked me for some lined paper, "C'mon, it's the least you can do, Miss Mt Barker. Aren't you supposed to help the community?" haha. Sooo not funny at the time.

So the thing I struggled with the most is the whole Baby Show fiasco. I wanted to show my kids I thought they were special and unique and amazing too - but somehow it didn't feel right. Don't get me wrong, these aren't those OTT pageants you see on telly - just kids dressed up in their Sunday best, no make up or performing involved. Just a chat with the nice lady and off you go.

The first show I went to, I was just so excited to show off my gorgeous little guy - he was all chubby cheeked, blue-eyed smiles at the time (he's since grown into a gangly, green-eyed, lightsabre wielding jedi). And guess what. He won! My Z is one of those kids who will win you over with his enthusiasm and he came home with the BIG TROPHY. So exciting!

So the next time I went to one, I dressed my piggy-tailed, blue-eyed princess in my favourite little dress (black and white pinafore, I hadn't given into the monster that was pink at that stage) and took my chubby little two year old along to watch. At the door, the lady was charmed by my little man and convinced me to enter him as well - it WAS for charity after all. Despite the fact he was dressed fairly casually, I caved and handed over my ten bucks. Big mistake. Of course my wide-eyed, enthusiastic little boy came home again with the BIG TROPHY and my little princess came home empty handed. I was devastated but consoled myself with the fact that she couldn't possibly be old enough to understand that she hadn't been picked as the prettiest/best dressed/nicest eyes/blah blah blah...

However... kids are kids. Sigh. Mr Z *loved* playing with his trophies and soon enough Miss Piggy started to get upset that she didn't have one. So last year, we made a last-ditch effort to win her a trophy. I dressed her in a gorgeous red dress with a white crocheted cardi, combed her lovely wavy hair and put a skinny side-braid across the top of her head. She looked like a fairy princess - very far removed from the girl who usually gets told she looks like she's been pulled through a bush backwards at the end of each day!

And guess what? She got shy. She couldn't speak to the judges, she just stared at all the other pretty girls around her and looked scared. I felt sick. How could I do this to her at such a young age? Make her feel so inferior and worried and wonder if she was cute enough. It was absolutely awful. We went shopping and I bought her ice-cream to make up for the ordeal I had put her through. I told her that she was gorgeous and that she was the nicest girl I knew. I prayed that I hadn't hurt her fragile little ego.

And when we went back to hear the verdict they announced the boys first. This time her blue-eyed, blonde haired LITTLE brother had won the grand champion trophy. Along with three smaller ones.

I felt even sicker. Should I leave? Should I stay? I didn't know WHAT to do.

The girl's trophies were lined up to be announced. She squeezed my hand tight and I could feel her straining to hear her name. It broke my heart.

But... a miracle happened! Nicest eyes... my Miss Piggy! They loved her beautiful round eyes that had changed from a bright blue to a deep green the Summer before. She was so proud as she marched up to the stage to collect her trophy. I've never seen her hold ANYTHING so tight. I prayed a quick thanks before rushing to congratulate her.

And then I vowed never to go to a baby show again.

Don't get me wrong, they are a FANTASTIC fundraiser for all sorts of charities. They are a nice morning out with other mums (usually great cakes too). They are just not for me!

How do you feel about baby shows?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Handmade dolls

I finally caved and bought a great doll-making pattern. I usually enjoy the challenge of working out how to make things on my own - like my mermaid pattern or my babushka dolls but this time I just couldn't get the result that I wanted.

My dear friend Jo and I sat down a couple of afternoons in the holidays and cut and sewed some dolls for our daughters. It was really fun, and the pattern from Dolls and Daydreams was super easy to follow.

This doll was mad for a first birthday with a ladybird theme. I hope she likes it! You can definitely buy a doll a lot cheaper than making one, but I enjoy the process of creating and gifting a one-of-a-kind item to someone special (especially someone who has two older sisters and loads of toys at her disposal).

I can't recommend these patterns enough - even for the beginner sew-er. They are simple, have full colour instructions and they arrive via email very quickly.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner... part 2

When 'daddy' works late, I often stick to simple cooking. I know it sounds awful, but if I have no adult audience I lower the bar a little bit. Is that awful?

Anyway, because I pride myself on serving my children nutritious (if sometimes unconventional) meals, this meal has become a favourite of mine - and Mr Z's!

Cheap, easy and nutritious, straight from the Lazy Mother's Handbook! (That's the term I use to refer to my shortcuts)

Special Scrambled Eggs

Ingredients: eggs, 1/2 cup of diced/grated vegetables per egg.

(this recipe is just an example of what you can use and serves 3, you can use whatever you have in your fridge)

6 eggs
1 large carrot, grated
1 medium onion, fine diced
2 mushrooms, fine diced
1/2 tomato, diced (or handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half)
handful of frozen corn
2 rashers of bacon diced
1/4 cup of grated cheese
olive oil

1. Fry onion and carrot until softened in a small amount of oil.
2. Remove from pan, fry bacon bits
3. Add onion and carrot back to pan, add other vegetables and stir until they are warmed through.
4. Crack eggs into the pan, keep stirring until eggs are cooked
5. Add cheese and remove from heat
6. Serve

If you need to bulk it up a bit, you can add precooked rice to the mix.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Simple summer dress

Miss Piggy said she wanted to sew a dress together over the holidays. Against my better judgement, I agreed...

What really happened was she occasionally pushed the pedal on the machine, played with the tape measure and whinged about how it wasn't long enough, puffy enough, flat enough, was taking too long... I could go on and on... All I can say is now I remember why I prefer to sew in the wee hours of the morning!!!

We took a piece of material that was 1.5 x her chest measurement, put some lines of shirring in, then sewed it up. A couple of pieces of ribbon and we were done.

The seams weren't all that straight, but she was happy with her pink maxi dress (like mummy's) and that's all that matters ;) It cost me just over a dollar to make and I will let her wear it for wrestling in the garden with her brothers, washing the car and any other crazy, dirty activity I usually veto the wearing of dresses for!!!

Grateful for endings... and beginnings

This week was my first week working part-time in over a year. I've dropped from a five day week to four.

A year ago, we sat down as a couple (and as parents to our three young children) and tried to work out what was best for our family. After an unexpected addition to our family, our best laid plans had come unstuck and we had to replan our future. We decided to try something different - fulltime work for me to help build my career and hopefully allow hubby to find some balance between work and family.

The year has been great for our kids, we've managed to get them everywhere they need to go and with a mix of hubby working onsite/from home, we've only needed to have our small boy cared for outside the home three days per week.

It worked pretty well - except for one thing.. me! I didn't cope very well with fulltime work in conjunction with being a well-rounded person. I also didn't feel I was being a very good parent, particularly given that I have a two year old son who is yet to call me 'mum' (or say much at all for that matter). I was tired, cranky, guilt-ridden and unhappy.

So this week I'm grateful that we are in a position to let me drop back to four days.

The extra day at home means I can take my small boy to music, have some one-on-one time with him (when I returned to work, he wasn't even walking so this is a pretty big deal) and work through a speech program with him. It made my week feel so much shorter and I feel happier and more balanced already.

I'm grateful for time, for patience - for knowing when to say 'enough' and for set ups that allow a compromise (I know not everyone is as lucky as me).

I'm also grateful that I'm here - as a 'replacement' baby conceived after my parents lost their eldest daughter, I know that things always happen for a reason - even awful things. I think that has helped me deal with some of the tragedies that have happened to me over the years - knowing that the awful thing happening to me means that something good will eventually arise out of it for someone.

I always take time to reflect on how lucky I am to be living the life I have on the anniversary of her birth and death. And I hug my own precious children (none of whom turned up when we planned for them) and celebrate how surprising and wonderful life can be. Back in the days when I was lamenting the fact I didn't think I would ever have a baby, I could never have known that it was all in God's perfect timing, that I had to wait for these *particular* three beautiful people to make their way into my life... and I wonder if my parents thought the same of me and my younger siblings.

Soppy, aren't I?

Joining in with 52 Weeks of Grateful over at Kidspot.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dinner for Breakfast - part 1

Sometimes I just feel like dinner is beyond my realms of capability. When it's been a long day at work, a big day out with the kids (or I just haven't been to the shops in a while) I really struggle making dinner. Well, truth be told, I struggle to make dinner every night! I HATE to cook, but since I LOVE to eat, it's just one of those things I've learned to do.

When we were first starting out (and I was new at kitchen things) we used to eat pancakes for dinner quite a lot. Not the fluffy round ones the Americans make, but thin crepe-like pancakes we enjoyed as kids. The sort my mum used to roll up with lemon and sugar as a treat.

We learned that all sorts of leftovers made tasty pancake fillings - ham, roast chicken, avocado, cheese, turkey and cranberry, even salads.

We often added a bit of cheese, onion or garlic to the batter before frying to give it a bit of extra flavour.

Tonight we made them for our kids and they were a hit! We put cheese, ham and shallots into the 'dinner' version, and nutella in the 'dessert' version.


Basic pancake recipe

3/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 cup milk (or 1/2 milk, 1/2 water)

1/4 cup of cheese
Handful of chopped shallots/onion

1. Combine all ingredients with electric mixer
2. Fry as per crepes on a flat pan
3. Add desired filling, roll and serve

Cheap and cheerful :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Grateful for

Today I'm grateful for:

1.Sunshine! I love Winter but my kiddliwinks really need their outdoor time. The cold and damp had us all coughing and sneezing and we were just sick of being cooped up.
2. Holidays! So nice to spend time with my babies... Lots of cuddles and giggles. Lots of time to answer strange questions and tell stories. Looking forward to my four day weeks next term.
3.Nights out! A lot of landmark birthdays in our group this year... So nice to leave our responsibilities to one side for a night of fun with friends. We might be sporting a lot of grey hair, but we still remember how to make each other laugh. So much fun :)

Linking up to Maxabella Loves grateful list at Kidspot :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Verona artwork

We had such a happy, relaxing time in Verona earlier this year and I wanted to make something as a personal reminder. Something small, but something I could look at and smile while I remembered what a beautiful few days were spent with my little family.

My house is a little bit old fashioned on the inside - we have a country style kitchen with small blue tiles on the tops and up the walls, stained glass in our cabinets and blue trimming sneaking out around our house with the lower half of our walls painted eggshell blue (it's ok, it's not as weird as it sounds). I wanted something classic and blue, I thought kind of like a Willow dinnerplate but with a difference.

While we were at Juliet's house (as in Romeo and Juliet, as in the girl who inspired the novella that inspired Shakespeare to write his play) I saw some plate fragments that had been unearthed and pieced together and I knew they might help me in my quest.

I also wanted to incorporate some Italian phrasing I'd seen on a travel show. Apparently, on a bridge to Tiber Island, in Rome, there is grafitti which reads "Ti amo da qui... alla fine del mondo.. di nuovo qui... all'infinito..." which roughly translates as "I love you from here.. to the end of the world.. to here again, on and on forever." It's the sort of way we feel about each other round here!

So here it is: rocks, waves, leaves, love... and since it's done in sharpie, it will last infinito!

And in case you were interested, here are some of the plate pieces from Juliet's house:

Mr Z managed to sneak into this one ;)

and me on Juliet's balcony ;)

and he's done it again!

So... what do you think?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Masterchef... fing..?

We're not sure how or why, but somehow our kids have become experts on Masterchef. Not sure if this shows anywhere but Australia, but it involves amateur chefs battling it out in the kitchen. They prepare amazing dishes using supermarket bought products and then wait on the decision of a panel of foodies to see who will stay and who goes home. Much like a dozen other reality shows, really, but usually it's good, clean, family fun.

The funny thing is, it starts at bedtime, so the kids have rarely seen more than the opening credits as J and I run between cleaning up the kitchen, brushing teeth and getting stories read to our little darlings. It has been running since they were infants, it used to be cute to watch them bobbing up and down to the music while praying they didn't pay too much attention to the smiling, knife-wielding people on-screen!

Despite this limited exposure, Masterchef was very first thing that Miss Piggy added to our school holiday to-do list. Maybe they're playing it in the sandpit at school or something because she had very explicit instructions:

... we'll each have fifteen minutes... we have to make three dishes... there'll be a timer... we'll need a judge... oh, I'll need an apron... mum, you can only go to the fridge once... who will be first to go?

So.... today was 'Masterchef Monday' and J went to work with some trepidation. I think, "I'm afraid to what I might come home to find" were the exact words he used. The girls in this family do not list cleaning up as a strong suit.

Miss Piggy discovered that softdrink does not become jelly, no matter how long you leave it in the fridge.

We feasted on Agrum in a pie dish, bananas with whipped cream eaten from a muffin tray (with plastic spoons at my insistence - didn't want my tray scratched) and chocolate mug cakes (that's what I whipped up as a contestant).

Mr Z played 'judge' and said things like, "Mum has more experience in the kitchen but I like that you made two dishes", "you should have realised that your jelly would not set" and "I'm sorry, but you'll have to leave the Masterchef kitchen".

In all, the morning was considered a grand success, and they've already started begging for a repeat next Monday!

Here's my Chocolate Mug Cake recipe:

4 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp milo
handful of m&ms/choc buttons
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
1.5 tbsp oil
dash of vanilla essence
extra m&ms/buttons to garnish

1. Add ingredients in order, stirring as each is added.
2. Microwave for 3 minutes (1000W microwave)
3. Serve with cream/icecream on a plate or eat straight from the mug.

Easy enough for kids to do independently :) Fun to eat. Ingredients we all have in our cupboards!

School holiday fun

This is the first time we'll be spending more than a week at home in over six months. No school, no work, absolutely nothing to do... hooray!

I have all sorts of things to mend, sort and tidy but we'll also make time for some holiday fun :) Filling two weeks seemed a bit daunting until I asked the kids what to do with sixteen days at home. Here is the list we made:

* newspaper craft - pirate hats and boats (Dunno where she saw this, but I love it cos it's cheap!)
* jewelry making (the plastic bead and elastic type)
* pet rocks
* face painting
* grocery shopping (*Mr Z* came up with this one! Again, cheap and cheerful, who knew they were so easily pleased?)
* sewing a dress (am thinking a pillowcase dress will be simple enough to make together)
* find a new playground to play in
* Sleepover at Nana and Papa's (hooray! We can have some kid-free time)
* treasure hunt in the backyard
* golf (Daddy can take them to the driving range and I might have a nap!)
* open a cafe on our balcony
* get haircuts (it seems I won't even need to bribe them)
* build a city with lego and wooden train tracks
* have a fire in our backyard (if it ever stops raining)
* movie night in our PJs
* Masterchef -ing (more about that later)

Can't wait to start ticking things off the list!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hmmm... Mack? or Mater?

Yesterday my small boy turned two. I, being the sentimental mother, cried twice because I no longer have a baby in my house.

It hurts when they turn two. No more shopping in the baby section, no more specially prepared dinners since they seem to be able to hang out until family dinner time. More rules, more nos, less cuddles, more "I do it!" moments. They don't need you so much at two. And really, isn't being needed one of the nicest things about motherhood? Being actually useful, indespensible, the only one who can do your job. You're kind of replaceable in all your other roles in life.

Remember here I said I feel obligated to provide 'repeat experiences' so that all of my kids got the same opportunities in childhood? I will get around to writing about the other silly things I've done one of these days. Well, the home-made and decorated birthday cake is one of those burdens obligations I have handed myself. I try to make them a cake that represents their interests at that moment in time. With Mr Z about to turn 7, I'm wondering when it will all end - age 10? Whoa, that's 30 cakes I have to devise and create. Easier said than done.

Anyway. I set the bar kind of high with my other kids' cakes, so I knew this one had to be special. My little M doesn't really have favourite activities (except stealing my iPhone), he doesn't have a favourite teddy to cuddle, he doesn't have any real obsessions (except yoghurt, and throwing things down the stairs). But he does seem to gravitate toward a certain 'hand-me-down' Mack Truck which transforms into a race track. So I decided to go with that.

I made it the night before after three glasses of wine (we'd been at another party), am concerned it's a little more red Mater than Mack Truck, but the kids seemed to like it. I misjudged the hat size when I cut the cake blocks, I hadn't realised how central Mack's Trucker cap was to the character before I started. Although, that was probably due to the wine, it seems so obvious now!!!

Anyone wanting some tips from a *very* amateur cake maker? I always think it's best to learn from other people's mistakes, don't you?!

  • I laid THREE layers of rolled out white icing over the cake.  
  • I learned (this time around) that rolling the icing on a piece of glad wrap and smoothing over the cake with the glad wrap still on top is the best way to make the outline smooth (again, maybe obvious to most, but I'm no cake-maker!).  
  • I tried dying the white icing with pillar-box red food colouring, but couldn't get past pink. I ended up covering with white icing and painting the whole thing with a watercolour brush and a bowl of the red food colouring. That was one coat of red (because it was midnight and I was exhausted). I think two or three layers would give the best result.
  • The grey pipes at the back are drinking straws I covered in grey dyed icing and then poked into the cake.
  • This time I baked mud cake as sponge cake would have just collapsed under the weight of the icing (again, things I learned the hard way)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

First steps... treasured forever

When it comes to my kids, I'm a pretty sentimental person. I take way more photos than I should, I keep a journal of all the funny little things they do that make me laugh - and sometimes I keep bits and pieces of their history that make absolutely no sense.

I know lots of people who have kept their babies' first shoes as a keepsake. My daughter had a pair of those gorgeous snowy white shoes as a baby, but I didn't have any real connection to them so I gave them away.

The shoes I have a real connection to, the ones I couldn't bear to give/throw away, are the ones they wore aged one - the shoes they learned to walk in.

Everytime I look at those scuffed little remnants of their babyhood, I see first steps followed by smiles, congratulations and clapping. I remember all the trips and falls followed by snuggles in my arms as I kissed their tears away. I see those funny little baby dances they used to do - stamping their little feet proudly in time to the music or just at random, sometimes with frustration but mostly with happiness. I remember them running toward me (or away from me) filled with smiles and giggles. Those shoes are sometimes 'just' clutter in my wardrobe, but usually among my most favourite artefacts of motherhood. I knew I could never let them go.

So... today, I framed them.

Note: She dressed herself today - she was so proud to have found clothes that apparently match!

I framed all those precious memories, encase forever in tired, worn, scuffed shoes.

I sewed cardboard to their soles so I wouldn't have to hot glue the shoes directly to the frame.
I know it's unlikely I'll need to, but I wanted to make sure I could rescue those little shoes
intact, if the need arises.

When I started the project, I realised that I'd bought a framed print rather than an empty frame, so it was lucky I'm handy - I took that frame apart with a screwdriver and then put it back together with hammer and nails. My oldest son was amazed at how quick I am with a hammer - something I learned from growing up with a carpenter for a father!

Look at how much those little feet have grown in only a few years. The third pair of little feet were busy running out of the frame! They say your kids grow up in the blink of an eye, and they're not wrong, I can't believe seven years have passed since I set up that little cot in the spare room.

3M to the rescue, I didn't even have to annoy my husband with asking for a nail in the wall - a complete DIY project that I'm glad to be finished.

Now I have a little keepsake on my wall, to look at every time I put on my shoes at my back door. And I don't have to feel guilty for hoarding such silly things as dirty old shoes ;)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Soooo excited - am currently on my way to a concert with my hubby. The backseat seems a bit too quiet without the kids but we're looking forward to some grown up time... This seems a bit of a silly thing to say when we've been talking about our teen years in between singing loudly to hits like "Tonight" and "Cover Girl".

My friends tease me about my need to make my own merchandising before a concert, but here is my effort for this concert:

Looking forward to buying a t-shirt :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Grateful for...

Today I'm grateful for:

1. Friday! Lots of after work meetings have me feeling a bit disconnected from my little family. So happy to have two whole days to spend with them.

2. Fine weather - looking forward to some time outdoors

3. Children who share my interests. How lovely to watch my daughter paint on the balcony :)

4. A warm bed and cool nights. We get such infrequent 'snuggle' weather here, I'm loving my doona and ugg boots this week :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012


This chocolate is seriously addictive! A little bit more expensive but oh, so worth every cent!!!

The "Cadbury Marvellous Creations" wrapper reminded me of the Wonka packaging and despite my aversion to lumpy bits, I decided to give it a go. My favourite so far is the "Jelly Popping Candy Beanies" (as evidenced by the empty package).

Not good for the diet!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Super Moon

We went on an adventure tonight - we went chasing the moon in our car, looking for a great spot to watch it rise.

Tonight, 6th May, 2012 it was the closest it has been in around 18 years.

Jase and I spent some of our first dates here at this bench, eating chips.
Who'd have thought, nearly fifteen years later, we'd be here with our three kids?!

I looked at my precious babies and the thought they would be grown adults next time this happens almost took my breath away. Sometimes I wish time would stand still for a bit. I need to live in the now a bit more often, soak in every moment - really live each day.

It was a beautiful sight! I'm glad we made the effort to go somewhere special.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Watercolour pencils

I have no time to do anything crafty these days, it seems. My life is full of rushing here and there - packing, driving, working, shopping, feeding, cleaning... I feel just like a hamster in a wheel most days!

The other night I decided I would make an effort to do something just for me. I got out my long neglected pencil case and did a bit of drawing. It was fun!

Before I show you (cos it's not the greatest) let me just say that my five year old daughter says it's unfinished, "Where are all the people, Mum?" I have absolutely no idea if I will finish it, or even where I will put it. It was just nice to revisit one of my most favourite places in the world - even though it was only on paper :)

Here it is - my terrible painting of Pizza Bra, above a terrible print of a photo I took on my visit. I think I was a bit too careful with my shapes and lines, I need more practise so that I can make my drawing seem a bit less forced. Still, you have to start somewhere - and at least it is recognisable.

Can someone tell me how to rotate this image?!
Drawing was something I loved to do as a kid, I still love buying notepads and new pencils so it seems I must still long to do it.

I am going to make more of an effort to find some time for myself this term - even if it is just 20 quick minutes of drawing before bed. Who knows? I might even improve!

What did you love doing as a kid? Do you still make time for that special hobby, or have you outgrown it?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Last year I was lucky enough to win one of Shutter/bag's lovely Safari camera bags.

I was so excited to be a winner and to have won such a gorgeous product to boot. When the bag arrived, I was not disappointed.


To begin with it was wrapped with care and when I opened the box, I could see I had a high quality product on my hands. Thick, strong leather with heavy metal findings and strong stitching - I knew this bag was built to last.

I loved that the bag separators were fixed in with velcro, so that I could convert this bag from everyday/nappy/overnight to camera bag with a minimum of fuss.

Here is my gorgeous bag, peeking out the window at the French countryside ;)

The only minus, that it was heavier than other bags I'd owned, was *really* a plus. I felt confident that this bag could protect my camera from almost anything.

For a few months, I put off using this lovely bag - knowing it was the most expensive one I'm ever likely to own and afraid I might tarnish it.

...but three weeks ago, it was time to bite the bullet. We were headed overseas on a bit of an adventure and I wanted something that would take care of my precious camera, be multi-funtion and survive the trip. While I was afraid it would return bruised and scarred from travel, (and budget travel at that) it kept its shape. The stitching stayed put despite last minute additions to the bag, the leather survived unscathed and the metal tags did not lose their sheen.

This is me, carrying my bag. Yes, I realise my kids are pushing the baby away!

Thank you Shutterbag - while I've won lots of competitions over the years (holidays, appliances, money) this is my favourite product. I love it!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

My mermaids are done!

I know it's a bit pathetic to pinterest your *own* creations, but I wanted to add this one to my to-do board so I didn't forget to finish!

I made my niece the redheaded mermaid from my tutorial (click here) but she said she really wanted a blonde mermaid. Fair enough, I guess, being that my niece is blonde! Then of course, Miss Piggy also wanted a blonde one, and demanded I also make one for my other niece who's birthday party was last weekend.

I have two more nieces, what's the bet I'm making two more blonde mermaids before long?! Sigh. At least they are loved. And I feel useful :)

Please leave me a message if you have a go at making your own.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fun times with Green hair

I'm not a swimmer - I have "swum" (and I use the term loosely) in a life jacket many times. When you grow up on a mountain far from the ocean with a town pool that opens seasonally, it's difficult to build up any sort of proficiency.

Well this summer, as part if my general 'more exercise' plan, I have been "swimming" a couple of times a week if not more. With a kick board to help, I've been doing laps, stretching my legs and hopefully working off all those chewy cola bottles I'm so addicted to right now.

Alas, good work never comes without it's own form of built-in punishment, does it?! My hair is slowly turning an awful shade of green. Yikes!

I realised that hardly any of my friends are blonde anymore - I guess we're all using our disposable income buying school shoes instead of visiting the hairdresser - but I did think of one friend who might be able to help. You know, in a hurry. Because sometimes you just need to de-green your hair at 10pm. Particularly if you have to go somewhere with *real* grown-ups the next day.

Luckily she is married to someone she refers to as Mr Hair, the irony being that despite working in the hair industry, he is completely bald.

They recommended washing my hair, then rinsing in a bicarb/vinegar mix, leaning ten mins and then rinsing out.

I dutifully followed directions, trying not to squeal too loudly when the mixture foamed all over my bathroom. I carefully popped a shower cap over the whole chaos and sat back to wait.

I wish I'd been as careful in the removal of said shower cap - water flooded my face, giving me quite an abrasive treatment! Hubby laughed at me, it would only happen to me, apparently.

The next day I had to go out with not only slightly green hair but a red blotchy face to boot. Serves me right for trying to get fit, I guess!

I have to say though, my hair seemed to enjoy it (after another shampoo back to golden and bouncy to boot) and now I've got some moisture back into my face (and it's sort of regained its top layer of skin) it's looking pretty rejuvenated too!

Still, to be on the safe side I think I will invest in some green-removing shampoo for the future ;)
I love reading your comments, thanks for stopping by :)