Friday, 29 June 2012

Instafriday


This week on my phone camera.  I'm linking up with Jeanett at Life Rearranged
life rearranged

I have not been out and about much this week.  I should have because we've been child free but I haven't felt like it.  I am really missing them.  It is suppose to get easier when they get older but in all honesty, it doesn't for me.  I LOVE having them here.  They're great company and when they're here my heart is full.  I know it's cliched but it is how I feel.

The kids have had a blast, though.  They have been keeping me up-to-date with their frivolities.  They've visited friends from their school in Sydney, been staying up late, spending time with Nanny and Poppy and Grace even spent the day at work with my Mum.  Tonight they're spending time with my sisters kids and sleeping the night.  Fun!    No doubt they'll have lots more to share with me when they arrive back home.

In the mean time I visited Industrial Revolution in Armadale.  It's a treasure trove full to the brim with fun things for the home.  It always bring a smile to my face.
...and I couldn't leave empty handed and bought these great vases.  
When the kids get back we'll go flower shopping and I'll let them add some colourful fun.
Martin and I are heading away for the weekend. 
 I was in need of a new toiletries bag so I whipped this one up.  
All girls need a pretty toiletries bag.

Today I started a chevron blanket for Gracie.  
Yesterday I went to Lincraft to purchase the wool and to get my 30% off because they had a store wide sale.  Well, as I entered the store I read the fine print and it didn't include yarn...aghhh.  
It cost a bit more than I anticipated but I know she'll love it and I want to work on it over the weekend when we're traveling in the car.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, friends. 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

I have a huge stash of bananas in my freezer.  If I have a banana that is too ripe to eat, I peel it, pop it in a zip lock and straight into the  freezer.  It is so handy having them ready to go.  The kids will eat them frozen but I love having them on tap for baking.  I LOVE banana flavoured cakes, desserts, pies...yum!


Tomorrow we plan to get away so I decided to delve into my banana stash and make a tray of the most delicious muffins that are not only healthy but super easy to make, too.


Banana Oatmeal Muffins


Ingredients
*2 /1/2 cup rolled oats (do not use cooking oats)

*1 cup of plain low fat yogurt

*2 eggs

*3/4 cup sweetener of choice - raw sugar, sugar or 1/3 cup of agave (I used agave)

*1 1/2 tsp baking powder

*1/2 tsp baking soda

*2 bananas (from my freezer stash!)


How to...
1. 
Preheat oven to 180'C. 
2.  Spray a 12 muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray 
3. Place all of the ingredients, including bananas in a blender or food processor, and blend until oats are smooth. 
4. Divide batter in the muffin tin 
5.  Bake for 20-25 minutes

YUMMY...so deliciously good!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Flying Solo



Yesterday the kids flew up to Sydney to spend some time with my parents.  Yes, I know it's good for them but I miss them already!  I have never spent a lot of time away from them.  I had some time away from Patrick when Grace was born, Patrick had his school camp earlier this year and they have had a night here and there with their friends but that is it.  The house is so quiet!
I hope to get a few things done while they've gone.  Today I'm off to look at a new car - yes Juliet's days are numbered.  I'm looking forward to going out for dinner with Martin and possibly getting away for the weekend.  I will also be counting down the days until they come home!

Tick, tock....

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Grandparents Day

Grandparents descended upon Gracie's school today to celebrate Grandparents Day.  The children displayed some of their classroom work and each class did a special performance.  Some classes recited poetry and others sang songs.  Following the classroom visit and performance, the grandparents enjoyed a special morning tea.
Gracie was incredibly lucky because my parents flew down to Melbourne to make her day.  She was so excited to have them here.  She had a grin from ear to ear as she proudly showed them around the school and introduced them to her friends.
Thank you Mum and Dad for making her day! xxx

Thursday, 21 June 2012

WInter Solstice

King winter has been visiting Melbourne lately.  It has been a wet, sloppy and grey kind of week but tonight we'll celebrate the winter Solstice and read  The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer.  It is a beautiful book filled with lovely images and it explains the significance of Solstice.  It even has activities and experiments in it.


In our house, the Solstice means that we can start dreaming and planning for spring...hooray!  We dream and think of the new shoots of green that will be sprouting from the earth, daffodils in bloom and hearing the birds chirp around us.  

That will be lovely.  
Soon!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

School Holidays


It's that time of year again...school holidays.  Patrick's school finishes this Friday for a three week break and Grace finishes next Friday for 2 weeks.   It is a tradition in our house to make a holiday *wish* list.  We list everything from things we know we will do to the things we *hope* to do.  It is actually a great motivator for the kids and me.  They love marking things off the boxes.

The lists are hung right next to the kids desk where not only can they reach them but they can easily read the activities and we can plan them together.
...and as a reminder that the holidays are not just about them, we created a list of things to do for others. I hope that it encourages them to think of others before themselves.   I have emphasised to them that each list is just as important as the other.

Now bring on the holiday.  I'm looking forward to being together, enjoying each other's company and having loads of FUN!


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Shawl Weather

We're in for a long stretch of cold and wet weather around these parts.  Rain coats and boots are a permanent feature lately, however we're also enjoying the comfort side of it too - soups, board games, reading and crafting.  But hey, it's also perfect knitting and crocheting weather.

Last week I got some of my favourite shawls out of the cupboard.  They are so cozy, comfy and soft.  The perfect extra layer to keep out the cool (or should I say freezing) breeze.  Of course, they needed a new pin to keep them in place.
Some felt and a kilt pin did the trick nicely.

I love changing the felt colours to match my shawl and the rest of my outfit.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Moving On

When you live away from family, friends play an even more significant part in your life.  Some friends become your home away from home family.  You celebrate milestones with them, you see each other a lot and your children become more like siblings.  We have been fortunate enough to live in some amazing places - Princeton, New Jersey (United States), Sydney, Perth and now Melbourne.  In every single city we have been incredibly lucky to have amazing friends/family.

This past weekend was very bittersweet.  Friends who we have known from many years (prior to our children being born) left Melbourne for a new adventure with their family.  They are heading to Fiji to be missionaries.  Although we are excited for them and the experiences they have ahead of them, we're sad that they've left Melbourne.  I know that's selfish but this family are incredibly special to us and we're going to miss them lots.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Our Nest of Happiness

Last weekend I was de-cluttering our garage when I spotted a nest of tables that I had totally forgotten about.  They were tucked at the back of some boxes and were collecting dust.  On closer inspection I remembered why they were in the garage - they're ugly.  Handy, yes but such an unsightly shade of brown.  I knew that I wanted to refurbish them but I loathe sanding.  I think it is the one thing that has held me back from refurbishing some of our other furniture pieces.  I decided to Google a way of refurbishing without sanding and came across the magical trick - PRIMER!
This stuff worked like magic...hooray!  It cost me $3.50 a can and I purchased two of them.  I actually applied two coats on each table because I wanted to be sure it did the job.  Each coat dried it less than 10 minutes and I was ready to apply the colour.  I decided to use spray paint because I wanted to use an oil paint but didn't want the hassle of using turpentine to clean the brushes.  I applied two coats of colour spray - a total of four coats (2 coats primer and 2 coats colour).  

I really like how they turned out and the pop of colour adds a warmth that our beige filled room needed.


 See the before and after so much better, right?

Thursday, 14 June 2012

A Teacher in the Making

When we moved house I got rid of Grace's blackboard easel.  It was Paddy's when he was young and then Gracie's and it had seen better days.  Well, since the day I left it on the verge for some other little family, I have come to realise that I made a big mistake.  You see, since that day, Grace knew that her blackboard easel had gone and she has asked for it back.  Whenever we pass them in the toy store she points the blackboard easels out and tells me that it will be on the top of her Santa list this year.  I've been feeling a tad guilty about the ease that I got rid of it so I decided to surprise her with a new one, not an easel but a blackboard perfect for a 7 year old.  
I purchased some MDF from Bunning for $3.50 and a tin of blackboard paint for $12 and headed home to create a new spot of fun for my girl.  After three coats of paint and a visit to Spotlight for some little tins for chalk ($5) and a bow to pretty it up - the surprise was ready
...and what a surprise it was.  She was thrilled - nearly as much as Patrick was.  As I type here now the two of them are happily playing teachers and students.  I know this will be a place of many fun games for the two of them and their friends alike.

The moral of the story...never get rid of toys before their playing days are up.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Hello Monday

Hello to a gorgeous LONG weekend!

We spent today with our neighbours and then headed to Williamstown to watch the sunset.  
It was cold but so, so pretty.  
I left my phone and camera at home so I didn't get any photos...boo!

Hello to celebrating a special little girls 4th birthday.  
We are so lucky to have wonderful friends move from Sydney to Melbourne.  Our children attended the same school in Sydney and now our kids are back together at the same schools in Melbourne and even better they are just a short stroll down the hill from us.  We LOVE it!  
We have an instant Melbourne family...hooray!
Honestly, how lucky can we be?  
Look at the fun our kids (and us) have together.
Hello to biscuit decorating at the birthday party,


Hello to one of the most beautiful chocolate designs I have ever seen.     
It's far too pretty to eat.
Hello to rugged up park visits.  
It's been cold here lately but that doesn't stop us getting out and about.

Hello cafe time!  
We went with another group of friends from Sydney.
They have lived in Melbourne for 5 months 
but we are all so sad that this is their last week here.  
We will be with them next weekend before they head back north to Sydney.  
We are sad...really sad (for us) but happy for them because 
they have many fun adventures ahead of them.  

Hello to a delicious breakfast organised and cooked by Gracie.  
She made a menu and took our orders on her little heart 
notepad and then headed to the kitchen to get cooking.  
She did a great job.  
I kept peaking into the kitchen just to check 
but she had everything under control.
Thanks, Gracie!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Queen's Birthday Weekend!

Happy LONG weekend to my Australian peeps.


Proud Mummy Moment

Since he was 7 years of age Paddy has played the trumpet and in my opinion played it well and picked it up quite quickly.  This year when he started at his new school he had plans to continue the trumpet but the Music Master had other ideas.  Apparently at the start of the school year, all students sit a number of tests to work out which instrument suits them best.  I was quite taken back when the music master rang me to say that Patrick had achieved a perfect score -  for the oboe.  What?  The oboe?  I headed to Google to clarify the sound of the oboe.  I knew what one looked like but what did it sound like?
Well, since March, Paddy has had one oboe lesson a week (30 minutes) and one band session (25 minutes).  He practises most days but in all honesty, I cannot help him out - not only am I not musical, I have no idea how too.

Today Patrick had his class concert and played his oboe.


I was amazed at how confident he was and how he played every single note clearly and distinctly. I'm so proud of my boy!  Well done, Paddy. x

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Knitted Dishcloth ~ Pattern


When I was young my maternal grandma (my Mama) always used crocheted washcloths and dishcloths.  At that time I just didn't get it.  Yes, I thought they were beautiful but I couldn't work out why she would make something so pretty to clean the dishes or to wash her face.  It seemed like such a waste.

However, now that I crochet and knit my own I totally get it.  These cloths are so beautifully.  They looks pretty in the kitchen (or bathroom) and are such a quick and easy knit.  In fact, I think they are a perfect way for beginners to learn new stitches and improve their knitting skills without the worry of expensive yarn. Plus they are quick to finish.  It is so satisfying finishing something in a short period of time.

I also think they make for a lovely gift wrapped up with some handmade soap.

Personally, I prefer my dishcloths to be on the smallish side and I like them to be textured.  The pattern below can be altered to create your own cloth size.

Yarn - 1 ball of cotton yarn (I used Moda Vera bamboo/cotton ~ purchased at Spotlight $3.50 a ball)
Needles - 4mm 

  • Cast on 35 stitches
  • Knit 8 rows
  • Row 9 - knit
  • Row 10 -K4 *K1, P1 repeat from *knit last 4 stitches
  • Row 11- knit
  • Row 12 -K4 *P1,K1 repeat from *knit last 4 stitches
  • Repeat rows 9-12, 9 more times
  • Knit 8 rows
  • Cast off and weave in ends


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Something that Drives me MAD!!

Something that drives me MAD is lateness.  I don't care if I sound rude or 'old fashioned' for posting this but it drives me NUTS.  My parents, in particular my dad, have instilled in me and my sibling the importance of being on time.  From a young age it was drilled into me that it shows respect, is good mannered and demonstrates consideration.  I just want to know when did it suddenly become okay to be late?  Worse still, when did it become okay to be a serial offender?  Yes, we all know them.


I think my biggest bug bear is when you invite someone to your house and they rock up 30 minutes late.  We've even had people arrive an hour late or later...grrr!  It is RUDE, selfish and inconsiderate!

Everyone's time is precious to them and no one should have the arrogance to think that their time is worth more than yours.  There are of course exceptions to the lateness rule - things way out of anyones control, like traffic or flight delays etc.

I know that some may consider this silly and I should let it go, but really why should I?  If you have a plan, agree on a suitable time, why shouldn't all parties expect to be meeting at that time?

Now, I do not want people to take this the wrong way.  I agree that occasionally I have been late, I am not the perfect time keeper, but if I am late I feel bad and in general I have a good reason for my tardiness.  In fact, I sometimes feel sick in my stomach as I watch the clock tick by and realise that I won't make it one time.

I know that we are all different and we have our own personal expectations and standards, so I suppose I should accept that and move on but there are some people who do it all the time. Like NEVER on time and that is when I get MAD!

That is all I want to say about that!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Sewing Thank You Cards




I am a believer in sending a handwritten note to say thank you.  Sometimes it takes me longer than it should to complete them but I *usually* get my act together and head to the Post Office with envelopes in hand.  Now that we have lived in so many countries and different cities we get quite a lot of mail - cards, gifts and letters.  The kids, Martin and I are always so grateful for friends and families kindness and generosity.  I feel bad when I don't get my act together to send a note back to show my gratitude that I decided to get my act together - I created a stack of cards ready to go.




~What you need~
  • A stack of blank cards (I got mine at Riot Art and Craft)
  • Fabric scraps (I had plenty around here)
  • Lace or ribbon (yet again, I had some scraps around the house)
  • Permanent fabric pen or a Sharpie
Step 1:  Cut your fabric into little flags.  The width that I used was 4.5cm and the length 7cm.


Step 2:  Using your fabric marker write "Thanks" or a special message to reflect your gratitude on the bottom of the flag.


Step 3:  Using the longest stitch on your machine (I used 5) attach the lace (or ribbon) and  fabric flag.
 N.B I did not go back and forth at the end of each card because I was worried that the extra stitches would tear the card.



Step 4:  Match the card to their envelope and store them in a place where you can grab them easily and write your gratitude and thanks to others ASAP.


Monday, 4 June 2012

Yoplait Deliciousness

Product Talk ~ Nuffnang

My kids are huge yogurt fans.  It is a staple in their school lunch boxes and is often a snack they select for afternoon tea.  I am happy with that because not only is it a easy and quick (especially the little individual tubs) but it is packed with nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and protein.  Just what growing little bodies need.

I picked up some of the delicious Yoplait yogurt and thought we'd head to the park with some yogurt, strawberries for dipping, a rug, a frisbee and of course our hats.  Well do you think Melbourne weather would allow me to do that?  Of course not, just as I purchased the yogurt and headed to the car, the rain poured down so it looks like we're in for an indoor picnic.  I don't think my babies will mind at all.

Hello Monday

Linking up with Lisa Leonard and Hello Monday. 
Hello cute little foot.  
We had my mum, sister and niece visit this weekend.  
I think my niece, Annie took this picture herself.  
I miss them already...sigh

Hello basketball.  
Patrick loved having the family visit to see him play basketball.  
Here they are walking into the basketball arena.


Hello sweet, sweet (and sleepy) baby girl.  
We love you and our hearts are so sad that you're back in Sydney.

Hello my pram pushers.  
They both LOVED pushing the pram around the streets of Melbourne.  
Such a novelty for them.

Hello to Patrick singing in the school singing competition.  
It was colour team against colour team.  
Paddy's team came third out of four teams.
The blue team won and they deserved it.
Hello Freaky Faces app.  
The kids LOVE taking photos and adding freakiness to them.  
If it keeps them happy while we're out and about, I'll deal with the crazy photos.

Hello my little SRC.  
Gracie received her badge at the school assembly during the week.

Wishing you a happy week, friends.