Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Handmade Christmas Creations

It's no secret that I love things that are handmade. However, the busyness of life with 3 little ones seems to have stolen some of my creative flair, let alone any time I may have for creativity... personal space is enough to ask for some days!

However, it's Christmas! And Christmas calls for some handmade fun. My girls really enjoy making crafty creations and have been busily creating cards, banners, posters and other cute Christmas things the past few days.

Well, it wouldn't be fair if I didn't get busy and create something myself, so here's what I've put on the to do list for these days leading up to Christmas.
I love that having a few crafty pursuits on my agenda helps me stay away from the distractions that technology and social media offer and just get busy with my hands!

1:: I think that this gorgeous Stable Where It All Began will make a cute gift for the children's 3 great grandmothers this year. My girls will happily help with a few stitches or some cutting/positioning of these simple shapes and I'll enjoy stitching the rest of it together.

Nativity Ornament

2:: All little people LOVE little finger puppets! Their fingers are just itching to bring them to life!

And these cute Nativity Finger Puppets are no exception! I'm hoping to get a set of these done for our family.. and if I am up to mass production perhaps for my nieces/nephews too!

They'd make such a lovely tradition to get out each Christmas and retell the story of the First Christmas.


3:: These Felt Star Ornaments are super cute! Waldorf crafts always suck me in for their simplicity and their whimsical beauty. These are not letting me down in either of those departments, I was pleased to find these pictures that give me a clear idea how to make these. I think we'll add in a dob of glue on each bead from the glue gun and we'll be happy!


Are you crafting anything special this Christmas?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Recipe:: Roast Vegetable Frittata with Shortcrust Pastry



We were given two dozen fresh farm eggs today! So we're bound to be eating lots of eggy goodness... and this is always top of my list.

These days we tend to add some of my homemade shortcrust pastry. (Follow the instructions for blind baking if you do this!)

Baby Spinach & Roast Vegetable Frittata

Ingredients
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
4 small potatoes, quartered
2 zucchinis, cut into eighths
1 red capsicum, cut into eighths
olive oil
salt
10 eggs
1 cup milk (or cream)
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2Tbs flour
2 Tbs fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 handfuls of loose baby spinach, roughly chopped

Instructions
Place your chopped vegetables into a lined roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt.
Roast at 200'C, approximately 30-40 minutes, turning once.

Whisk egg, milk, flour and cheese in a large bowl. Set aside.
Once roasted, spread your vegetables evenly between two pie dishes. Top with chopped basil and baby spinach. 

Pour your egg mixture evenly between the two dishes to cover your vegetables. (You have to be careful all the cheese doesn't just pop out at the end!)

Bake in a 180'C oven for 30-40 minutes or until brown on top. 

Can be enjoyed straight from oven or eaten cool. We enjoyed ours with a balsamic dressed salad!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bread and other such tales

Some of my favourite bloggers are Waldorf bloggers.. they have such beautiful blogs that document their amazing everyday... full of wooden toys, rainbows and smiles! One such favourite is Kelly from Happy Whimsical Hearts. I have read her blog for around 5 years now and I still can't get enough of following along with their lives... and one of the beautiful traditions they follow is the baking of bread.

Last week I couldn't resist the urge to bake bread with my girls. They both love ANY cooking, add in the job of kneading and they're even more pleased.. and of course, bread is something yummy that we all love to eat!


We adapted this recipe and made our bread something like this...

Ingredients
2 Tbs dried yeast
3 cups warm water
1 Tbs honey
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
3 tsp salt
6 cups plain flour
2 cups quick oats

Method
---Preheat oven to 90'C---
1. Mix yeast, water and 1 Tbs honey together until frothy.
2. Add oil, salt, honey and combine well
3. Add the oats, followed by the flour until the liquid is absorbed and it forms a dough
4. Dust bench with flour and knead dough. I separate so the girls have 1/4 each and I have 1/2 the dough. It's a little sticky as you separate it so keep dusting with flour as you need to.
5. I shaped mine into rolls. The girls made fairies!
6. Place on a lined tray and pop in oven for 15 minutes to rise.
7. Turn up to 150'C and bake for 15-20 minutes until done!


Bread is really forgiving... you can't really screw it up too badly because once you slather on some butter, syrup, honey and other spreads.. it's amazing!!

We got all the spreads out on the table and the girls enjoyed trying all of them on their hot bread rolls, I mean, fairies!

Here's some other yummy bread that we've made in the past...

No knead bread
One hour bread
More one hour bread
Fastest pizza dough
4 ingredient scrolls

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Our Lion Cub turns ONE

It seems only yesterday that I blogged about the first birthdays of Miss Daisy and Little Peppa... and now here we are and it's our little Lion Cub's turn! How time just flies doesn't it!?

Last month we celebrated his first birthday with our most special family and friends! Almost 80 of them! And we were ever so fortunate that the predicted rain held off all day and we were able to enjoy the day of celebrations outside!

Our cheeky boy loves the book Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox so I decided to make that the theme for the cake! It worked out perfectly!
We had some traditional games like pass the parcel and eating donuts from hanging string which was quite fun! And my dad set up a chocolate Freddo treasure hunt for the kids which was fun too!

 




The cake was super easy despite perhaps looking more complex than it is!
I made three cakes, one chocolate and two vanilla the morning before the party. These were layered with some buttercream in between. I then covered the whole cake in light green buttercream... yum!

I added a little extra green colouring and a little extra icing sugar (confectioners sugar) to the icing to make it a little thicker then used a piping bag and nozzle to pipe the bush, little bushes and the grass around the base of the cake too! I added M&M's for the flowers to make the scene look similar to that on the final page of the book where the green sheep is found, fast asleep!

And the green sheep itself... I moulded him out of fondant type icing. It's actually just the 'white icing' from Coles supermarket and I coloured it green then shaped it into this darling little sheep! I used a drinking straw to get the texture of his wool and also to put his eyes/nose onto the head! Easy peasy I tell you!


We had a wonderful day celebrating our precious little lion cub. He is growing into such a special little soul and we can't wait for many more blessed years with him!

And of course, little boys who smile and play all day end up falling asleep safely in the arms of people they love! This little guy had a simply marvelous day!

I'm so thankful to all of our amazing family and friends who brought along food, served food, cleaned up, washed dishes and made it a very easy job for me to de-party at the end of the day!


_______________________________________________________________________________
If you'd like to see some of the other parties we've enjoyed you might like:

Miss Daisy's first birthday Rainbow Party

   

Peppa Pig Cake DIY                                Tangled Party and Cake

Peppa Pig Birthday Cake - Just For Daisy
Tangled Party : Just For Daisy



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Art of Deception



Monday had it's ups and downs. Just like most days here.
We watched TV, fought over toys, wouldn't get dress, dawdled, stole a pack of chocolate biscuits fromt he pantry... and so on and so on! By we, I mean those two cuties in pink!

Do you see all of that in this picture? No?
Let me give you a little more background...

The girls are dressed the same... all cutesy! Grandma made these dresses and gave them to us on Sunday... so everyone was excited to wear them on Monday... when it all became too much at around 11:30 when our little lion cub decided that his nap should be well under an hour and his sisters weren't even distracted by the television anymore I declared that we were going out!
The girls were dressed in their new dresses (yes, pj's only came off at 11:30), lion cub a little more casual in trakkies and a hoodie... and then, we never made it out the door. While I dressed the baby the girls started playing a beautiful game of Barbies and were totally occupied... I threw little cub in the room with them while I got dressed and he stayed, he played, happily! So I changed my mind. We'd stay home after all.

That brings us to two matchy matchy girls baking cookies. Looks like a magazine shoot - when really it is just the way our day panned out!

Later as we made lunch together, Little Peppa decided she'd like to make cookies. So we did. And I couldn't resist this photo. I figured by sharing it on facebook it might fetch a few likes as people checked it out and perhaps a comment from Nanna... but it got more, lots of comments on the cute kids (fo sure!) and then also about our kitchen... which is new... and shiny... and cool. But it got me thinking...

The intentions behind the photos we post cannot be read through the image.
The totality of our day cannot be read through the image.
The photo is a chosen snapshot. A snippet. A tale we create.

Don't forget to share the nitty gritty details. The downs as well as the ups.
Let's not fool each other into thinking the grass is greener... it's most definitely not.

We had a wonderful, wonderful day.
Clothes matched. So did the cookie dough smears that they were covered in.
Babies cried. And cried.
And we had a wonderful wonderful day! All of it! :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Snow Day


We found snow! Last Friday I woke up to see one of hubby's students had put a picture of her snowy backyard on Instagram!!! I hurriedly nursed the baby anticipating the moment where I would open the curtains to see a Winter Wonderland in our yard. But it was not to be. It had rained all night (ask me how I know!) and though higher in altitude and only 20 minutes away. No snow. 

Luckily for us we have a 4x4 and had a dentist appointment in town. And with chilly temps there was still plenty of snow to explore! It was strange seeing familiar roads and paddocks completely transformed into snowy white. 

The girls excitement waned at times. Hehe! Do you ever have to remind yourself that sometimes kids don't understand how exciting or rare something is. They are really just in the here and now. I think above the here and now was 'my hands are cold and I want to run over there!'


We all quickly forgot about our cold hands again once the snowballs started flying!



It was nice seeing other people enjoying the same things we were. Not the usual for any of us as snow here is a once or twice a year thing. But a shared excitement and calm was in the air. Cars drove slower, more smiles, more waves, more chit chat. Why can't that be the norm?


And to the wonderful lady who ventured across the icy stream of water (and mud) to take the photo of my 3 beautiful kiddies and I at the top of this post. You are wonderful. I love it. I'm so glad to be in it. Thank you. 




Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Book Review: Sew Together Grow Together


I was recently sent the book Sew Together Grow Together by Trixi Symonds of Coloured Buttons. Sew Together Grow Together is a fantastic child focused project book filled with great sewing projects that kids can make and use!
Trixi has been teaching sewing for over two decades and her love and talent for sewing with children spills over in this book!

The book's page layout is consistent and familiar throughout, so as children browse through to choose their next project they are met with an easy to navigate book that is inviting and well planned.
Miss Daisy really liked the look of a few of the more complex patterns at first glance and this put a halt on our creativity as I was preoccupied with the little ones, unable to buy accessories from the store or didn't want to get the fabric boxes out of storage. We have put these projects on our to do ASAP list!



Finally a week ago we looked through the book again and decided to do one of the many delightful felt projects instead. We have a box of felt inside the house and we were able to do these easily without having to collect or purchase any extra supplies. Most of the projects in the book are adaptable in that you could change the colours, fabric or even make some of them a 'no sew' project if you desired - yes, they're that simple!

We settled on the Hippy Bag as our first project and Miss Daisy (5yo) (who's already familiar with hand sewing) set out positioning and pinning the felt pieces of her flowers. She was then able to stitch each of the flowers and stems onto the main piece of the bag, even using some of the more detailed stitches for the centre of the flower. We've previously used a blunt darning needle and sewed with embroidery thread on hessian - so the sharp needle (needed to pierce the felt layers) did make her say ouch a couple of times!


We completed the bag in two sittings and decided on a shorter handle than in the book. Miss Daisy was really proud of her handiwork and I loved that the results were so quick to achieve, meaning that she enjoyed it even more!

Have you done any sewing with your children? What age did you start handwork with them?



To purchase this lovely book head over here for a great price and to see other lovely crafts from Trixi visit her on facebook or her blog Coloured Buttons


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of Sew Together Grow Together for review but as always all opinions are my own! :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Giveaway: See Aladdin on stage in Sydney!

This is a sponsored post.

This Friday, 3rd July the stage show Aladdin and his Wondrous Lamp begins at the State Theatre in Sydney. When I received the media release I had to read and then re read the cast! What a show it looks set to be with The Footy Show's Beau Ryan as the genie of the lamp, Jessica Rowe as the Empress and Ian 'Dicko' Dickson playing one of the women who hangs from the window singing! I love it!



Would you like to go? I'd love to send you! Keep reading for your chance to win 4 tickets to the Opening Night of Aladdin and his Wondrous Lamp!

Let me tell you a little about more the show and it's director taken from the media release for this fabulous family friendly show: 

"Well known for her creativity and involvement in global television hits “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,”” Bonnie Lythgoe is dedicated to bringing affordable theatre to families across Australia through fun, musical theatre the whole family can enjoy. 
Lythgoe will take the familiar traditional tale and inject contemporary chart topping songs as well as presenting a star studded cast including Footy Show larrikin, Beau Ryan who will be the final piece to complete the Aladdin casting puzzle. Lythgoe says of her chosen genie, what a talented man he is and now I cannot wait to take him on a “Magical Journey” where wishes come true and “Goodness” wins through in the end.”

________________________________________  GIVEAWAY  _______________________________________

I have one prize (4 tickets) to giveaway to the Opening Night performance. If you'd like to see Aladdin and His Wondrous Lamp in Sydney this Friday, 3 July, entry is simple, this is a game of skill and entries will be judged on creativity and originalityTo enter, leave a comment on this post in response to the question below:

If you were given three wishes from a magical genie, what would they be?!

Terms & Conditions: giveaway open to Australian residents only. Must be able to attend the Opening Night on Friday 3 July from 7pm. Tickets cannot be transferred to another show. Good luck!
*Entries close at midnight Wednesday 1 July and the winner will be announced on Thursday 2 July. 


For further ticket information and bookings for Aladdin and his Wondrous Lamp visit ticketmaster.com.au/Aladdin

Monday, June 22, 2015

Saying it out loud - Our family might just be complete

Sponsored post for Gaviscon

I wrote and rewrote that title... and although I think it should, I just could not make it say 'I am not having any more children' or 'our family is complete'. And it should say 'we' in any case. Alas, this is a decision that, as we approach the first birthday of our little man, we find ourselves discussing. I must say there has been no definitive answer yet... but it's all leaning toward our family being complete!

Here's a few reasons why 3 is the finish line for our family:

1. Our house is full... practically speaking we are pretty much full up here! I remember telling hubby when we were first married that I'd love 5 children... he went over to the rickety wardrobe we had at the time and started pulling out drawers and opening cupboard tops and said, "And one will sleep here, and another here" and perhaps they could for a month or so.. but they do require a little more space as they grow!

Cartoon: There Was An Old Woman.... (medium) by Kerina Strevens tagged ink,drawing,boot,footwear,shoe,girls,boys,play,woman,old,kindergarten,rhyme,nursery,child,children

2. Morning sickness... I didn't experience this anywhere near as badly as other women I know. But I did find those early and final weeks exhausting the more children I had to look after during the pregnancy! And that nauseating feeling in those early weeks that just can't be shaken is just plain yucky! So this is one thing that I will not miss.

3. Pregnancy symptoms like indigestion and heartburn... I still have a jumbo pack of antacids in our medicine kit from those pregnancy days where heartburn causes had no rhyme or reason. They just plagued me and added to the uncomfortable state I was in! Even my beloved eucalyptus lollies turned on me in my last pregnancy - probably saved my teeth a little but that darn craving just wanted so badly to be filled. And there are so many other pregnancy quirks too!
antacid


4. Financial reasons always have to play a part in big decisions as grown ups. We are indeed practical people who budget, plan and spend our money wisely (well, we think we do!) But adding more children changes plans for housing, vehicles, education and so much more. So it's definitely a hot topic when it comes to family decisions.

5. Mama would go crazy if there were any other small people joining our crew at this point in time! We've gone with the one child every 2 years (approx) gap and although it's wonderful - it's also been hard work! So I can't particularly imagine being pregnant again in the next half of the year and having another 2 year gap... and I'm not sure we're up for a large gap either. Here's what I think we look like vs what we probably really look like most of the time! Bring on the teenage years! (Or not!) So parental sanity may play a part here too!

 

6. Our hospital of choice is getting further away. Well, that's not true, it hasn't moved and neither have we but it is an hour away and my labours keep getting quicker...  We did the hour trip in labour with Li'l Peppa and she was born 1 hour after reaching the hospital... with our little Lion Cub he was born 1 hour after my first contraction... and I don't much fancy having a baby on the side of the road... unless someone can get me a birthing pool roadside, stat!


7. We're completely and utterly content and feel blessed with the 3 amazing children we've been entrusted with on this earth! This feeling of contentment and being okay with not having another pregancy, another birth and another child is still a growing feeling for me (I think it came instantly for hubby). I'm so happy that I approached my last pregnancy and birth with the idea that it would be my last. Although then it was still a 'just in case' type of afterthought I am glad that moments in that pregnancy were secured even tighter as memories, knowing they may well be the last.

So there's some of my reasons, both serious and not, on why our family might just be complete, but most of all I am truly grateful for the blessing of our three amazing children. I am ever so privileged to be their mummy and to have their daddy by my side for this incredible journey of parenthood.

I am thankful that we fell pregnant quickly with each of them, that those pregnancies and births were straightforward and that we have three beautiful healthy children. By no means is that to be forgotten or overlooked... but I feel like in a way the positivity and absolute wonder attached to pregnancy, birth and motherhood for me is one of the things that makes it even harder for me to fully accept that I am in the season of not only first times but of last times as well.

Tell me, how did you feel when you realised that your youngest was your last? 

This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Sweetness that is Snail Mail - 10 reasons you should send a letter today!

Lately I have found that my creative pursuits are harder and harder to, well, pursue! Time is taken by 3 delightful cherubs, a house to run and way too many other commitments to keep!

So, I decided to take on a new hobby! Yes, I know it sounds counterproductive but it kind of incorporates all my other crafty pursuits in a more low key version! And it's super pretty and super fun! Making new friends is an added bonus along the way!

What is it? Well, I've fallen in love with SNAIL MAIL! Or perhaps back in love is more appropriate as I've always dabbled in arty envelopes, penpals and thank you notes! Much of this is thanks to the amazing inspiration from my Aunt who has graced me every birthday, anniversary, birth of child and other special occasions with amazingly hand stamped envelopes, wonderful penmanship and usually a sprinkling of sparkles to ensure it's opened with an extra dose of happy! (My girls are holding recent envelopes from my Aunt in this image below!)

Do you Snail Mail? Would you like to? 

Here's 10 things that will leave you inspired and 
ready to send a letter today!

1. Snail Mail can be big or small. This image is from a cute blog called Tiny Things but truly there is no rule of size, weight, contents when it comes to snail mail. There are definitely groups where people have common interests or like to post certain things but it's wonderful to send your first snail mail to people who are already in your life who you know would love to open a colourful envelope or even just to find something in the mailbox with their name on it that is not a bill! We began with my girls posting to their Great Nanna's, something I had done to my own Great Nanna in England when I was around 10 years old. From there I decided I wanted to snail mail again for myself!
I'd love to receive these letters in the mail!

2. A pretty envelope brings a big smile. There are so many amazing snail mailer's out there designing the most beautiful envelopes! This video is a fabulous example of some tips to make something as stunning as this without too much fuss!


3. Stamps can be used over and over again. More environmentally friendly and resourceful than lots of stickers or tapes. Why not try carving some of your own like these ones? My sister in law made me an awesome stamp set by carving them from erasers! She's a bit too clever sometimes! Check out my growing Pinterest board of DIY stamps here


4. In saying that, Washi tape is always a winner. I came across these cute washi tape pencils adorning this envelope on Pinterest and know I have to do this soon! And with places like the dollar store, Kmart and Target now selling decorative washi tapes they're so easy to become addicted to! Speaking of addicted - check out this keyboard!

cute pencil envelopes ༺✿Teresa Restegui http://www.pinterest.com/teretegui/✿༻

5. Origami can make a letter memorable. Or perhaps bring back a high school memory! Try folding your letters like these ones here and you'll be taken back to the days in the classroom passing notes in no time! Why not pick one of your high school girlfriends and send her one of these!

how to fold origami notes for valentines day like you did in junior high and middle school

6. Typography is your friend when it comes to snail mail. It can brighten up a letter so easily and make such a difference to your letter/package! Here's some fabulous ways to address an envelope!
Addressing an Envelope the Fun Way!

7. Cute additions are popular with snail mailers. Think washi tape samplers, restaurant cards/coasters, post it notes and stickers. And so many more things too! Often just a small, simple treasure that demonstrates a little about who you are or where you're from can become a treasured keepsake for your penpal.


8. Ask questions. You want to keep the conversation going, so ask your penpal some questions about themselves, their family, town, country or passions. Here's some fun questions that could be added into your next snail mail letter.


9. Paint it if you can. The wonderful Naomi from Naomi Loves is an avid snail mailer and sends the most delightful packages. I should know - we've been thrilled to receive a couple now and my girls were particularly chuffed to get their own hand painted envelopes this time too! Start simple but using paints on envelopes brings some added uniqueness to your recipients mail box!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

10. Enjoy it! The feeling of receiving a parcel, letter or postcard is truly second to none! My girls are constantly quizzing me over the contents of our mailbox each time I collect the mail. Hoping for something exciting, yet they're also distinctly aware that snail mail is a little give and a little get. And they're super willing to participate and now have a few pen friends across the globe!

I'd love to know what your best snail mail memory is? I'm hoping we've all got one!

And if you would like to receive something from myself and my girls in the post please send me a quick email to justfordaisy11(at)gmail(dot)com and I would LOVE to send you something to make you open your mailbox and SMILE!!! Perhaps it will kick start your own snail mail journey - or reignite an old flame!