Friday, December 31

New look for the New Year


Rather than sloth around procrastinating and writing a list of new years resolutions, my only resolution is to ACT. It is not even the new year yet and I have already taken action. The blog is looking a little tidier and I am loving my new header. This image was a gift from my brother who cleverly adapted it for here. I have the original which isn't red, waiting for the right frame.
I have also started another little blog which is simply a resting place for all of those great ideas I see and want to file away somewhere for another day. It is my inspiration files and you may get a little something from it too.
So now as the countdown is on - I will get in early and wish you all a happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 29

Slip and Slide




A christmas gift that has so far brought 2 days full of fun - running and sliding and no fighting. Is there any better kind of present?

Monday, December 27

Pre-Christmas Sewing

I know I left my run a bit late, but by Christmas eve I needed to have a lot done. I had these things in mind, just handn't got the time to sit at the machine. The big squirrel kindly took the kids out leaving me some precious moments alone with scissors, pins and the machine.
First on the list was mum's outfit. Mr P and I always make her an outfit that she ca
n wear on christmas day - shoes and necklaces done, but no clothes. I had a few meters of this knit I knew she liked. The first was dress, with deep v neck, empire line and I added a little cap sleeve. (The one on the right) I used an old discontinued McCalls pattern.
With still a lot of fabric left over I got a bit creative. Mum is often better in separates that look like a dress. I pulled out a knit skirt I have with an asymetrical hem. It is a simple shape with an elastic waist but looks good on and shows off the fabric. The top is magar sleeve based on the same McCalls pattern, but there wasn't enough fabric, so it has a bit of a made up peplum. I was please how it looked, but even more pleased how it looked on her. She wore the dress on Christmas Day which fitted like it was made for her! We hit the shops today (a few more birthdays coming up!) and she had the top on with black pants and a black cardi and rocked that look too!

Now to Miss G. I had so much fun making things for her. Young, pretty and skinny, may be hard to go wrong, but it also has to fit with her personal style. I made these two pieces from the same Newlook Pattern (6873). The little skirt is a printed linen that I got from Spotlight. I have had the ric-rac for years and it was just the right touch to give ti a retro touch as opposed to old lady.

The shorts, which now have two buttons on the waist band came up well. My only issue is the weight of the linen is difficult to hold a press and I was planning a slightly puffier look. Having said that, she had them on the other day styled with tights and a long sleeve knit (I know where is summer??) and they looked really good.
The dress I made late the night before. The next morning I made the skirt and top. Then Miss G's skirt - then she visitied and then Mum visited and then I made the shorts. It was only after this did the kids get in the bath on Christmas eve and I had to do their PJ's. There's my years sewing in one day!!!!!!!!!!!

Just one more little thing to show you. This top- you can see from the massive print label I didn't make it. I made the decoration, but I did this a couple of days earlier - you know best to be prepared. I saw it in a window of a shop on Chapel Street called Gorman and I figured I could do that. With scraps of cotton I made yo-yos. I had to look up how to because I had never done them before but Heather Bailey's instructions they were simple.

With yo-yos complete a few vintage and other buttons and a touch of ribbon, a copy is complete and sew is my Christmas sewing. AHHHHHhhhhhhhhh.

Sunday, December 26

Boxing Day

Off at our cousins farm to celebrate some more.

Saturday, December 25

Friday, December 24

Christmas Eve- Spread out Reindeer Food

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

NOT!

Well, at least not in our house. Mother was crouched over the machine which was buzzing up a storm and the only mouse was the Mickey kind that was for that overlooked tradition of new PJ's for Christmas. Yep, the kids were in the bath and I was sewing up a sweat whipping up three pairs of PJs with the dull hum of Carols By Candlelight on in the background. They didn't even get pruney and I managed to find elastic. They are not my finest work but they are done in time to spread out the reindeer food.
I had intended plain t-shirts, the little piece of applique was their idea.

Thursday, December 23

Day 23 - Bake Santa's Cookies

Alexander got this wonderful gift from Naomi for Christmas and today was a perfect opportunity to bake.
He was so excited to don the entire outfit- although someone else did appropriate the hat!
He mixed and rolled and baked and the result....
Delicious cookies for Santa.


Wednesday, December 22

A dirty Party!

Not that this was the intended theme of the party, but the boys certainly drove it there and had a great time doing it. We were celebrating Archie's birthday in a park withour bikes and scooters. Such a boy thing to do. It was a lovely warm day and all the boys had a great time around the track - until they found the mud- then it was better than great!
This is the birthday boy blowing out his candles - and can I say these boys did actually manage to get muddier. I am sure mum had fun hosing them off in the driveway.And my little angels...Yes, they actually stayed away from the mud- probably for fear of my wrath/ After a few days of solo parenting, and with my white jeans on, it was certainly a wise choice.

Tuesday, December 21

Day 21- Christmas Decorations

We had dinner to celebrate Christmas with knitting which was a lovely night out, and I was a lucky recipient of one of Jo's fabulous ornaments.
I had spent the day getting some of our own christmas decorations ready. I had picked up (cheap of course) some photo baubles and made a set of the grandkids in them for Grandfather. I made a set for our boys...
And a set for my sister-in-law, whose little baby is celebrating his first christmas.

Saturday, December 18

Day 18 - Celebrate

This year I bought a lot of the Christmas magazines, but the one I love the most was the Delicious. We hosted a christmas dinner and the entire menu was lifted from its pages. Here you can see the spread - herb stuffed turkey breast (the herbs are stuffed into the skin of a turkey breast and then sliced like steak. The glazed ham with the pear and cranberry syrup. The pumpkin and rocket salad and the potato cakes. We even made the Cosmopolitans.
I have never done a complete menu from any book ever before. Usually because there is something I don't like. Well, there was nothing not to like and I am still surprised how well it all combined. Even eating leftovers will be exciting.
The final piece was the icecreams. They were melting before I could get my blog ready image, but you get the idea. These cones are made from icecream with cherries, chocolate and macadamia nuts. They looked and tasted Delicious. Thanks Miss G for your help with these.
While the food was Delicious. the company was great too and we all had a lovely relaxing evening with the kids playing happily in the back yard on the new deck and track. A merry prechristmas.

Wednesday, December 15

Ending

After almost 7 years, we are no longer attend play group. This group of local girls lumped together by council, their only commonality recently having their first baby.I remember being worried about starting this group when Xander was only 2 weeks old. What if I didn't like them, did I have to go...I probably wont like it. Now 7 years on, meeting almost every week for all of that time, I am sorry to see it ending. We have become firm friends, and now have a lot more in common than just our children. Firstly there are more, in fact many more children. Thinking of the core group of 6 mums with 6 little babies - 5 boys and one girl. We have morphed into a family, with 16 kids including 6 girls. With three sets of twins still attending, we regularly meet with 4 mums and 9 kids.
While I wont miss the noise, chaos or sweeping up of the sand(!), I will miss the coffees, chats and camaraderie of the group. In the early years it was a highlight of the week - an outing to look forward to. Then as the twins came along it became a bit of respite. Throughout the years it has been a wonderful opportunity to talk and learn. Our exclusive little group plans to morph from a playgroup to a mothers group and I am sure we will all enjoy the change.
Speaking of change we had our last day at kinder today. The boys participated and it was lovely organised chaos.(funny how my expectations have changed. Alexander was Joseph in the nativy, but I was thrilled for Benji and Spencer to be anything at all and get out the front!) Food is always a calming force and we said our good byes and gave our pressies which were well received.

Day 15 - Visit Christmas Lights


Just a driveby this year and then when it was just dark enough to see the lights. Our usual house seems to no longer be doing their display - which is weird as they were raising money to support a hospital and their garage still looks like santas cave - but who knows. Lights are ticked off the list.

Thursday, December 9

Day 9 - Sing Christmas Carols

We had Alexander's outdoor event for school tonight. All the kids performed and cleverly the performing arts teacher had combined the year levels so there were only 10 items. The grade 6's who are about to leave the school did separate dances. It is really great to see all the kids learning a routine and happy to perform it.
Alexander really got into it this year and managed front row! They boggies and wiggled their hips to Surfing Safari. Benji and Spencer danced along in the aisle.
Then the choirs finished off with some carols. Yes Santa was sneaky tonight. They were singing and dong the actions and having a good time.
What I love about this is not so much the picture but what it represents. Here is a boy who wouldn't get up in front of people and if he did, was a bit unco and didn't really pay attention. Yet here he is this year, in the choir that he joined by choice (!) attended, practiced and learned. He knew the words, knew the movements and you could see that he was having fun. That makes for a proud mum & dad.

Wednesday, December 8

Day 8 Not Christmas but Birthdays

Today we forgot about christmas. Why? Because my babies turned 4. Today we had birthday celebrations. Yes, more than one!

It started with our traditional present opening in bed...
Followed by a party at playgroup....

Then another chorus at kinder...

The previous two parties were punctuated with a visit from Aunt and Uncle

Finishing off the evening with a family dinner and another go at the candles.

While I was thoroughly worn out I have to say putting it all on one day - as opposed to spreading it out was truly worth it. We didn't eat too much nor over cater.

I just have to mention cakes. This is always an issue for me with the twins as I think they should each have their own cake - but I don't always want 2 cakes hanging around begging to be eaten. In a moment of clarity I thought about cupcakes - these are egg free and dairy free ones. I had the stand and decorated half green with Buzz toppers and the other half blue with woody toppers. The toppers are made using a circle punch on some wrapping paper I picked up for their birthday. So for the pics I set it up that each had their own 'cake'. It ticked my box and fitted the toy story theme.
The kinder cakes were again an allergy issue and we could only have honeyjoys. Decision made - different coloured patty pans and a blob of playdo to hold the candle. Another job done.
By the evening I was caed out! We simply used a left over cupcake and topped it with different candles. I couldn't face anymore cake so we had hot apple crumble with icecream and two happy little 4 year olds fell into bed. Mum however will take a bit longer to get over it!!

Sunday, December 5

Day 5 - Make Teacher presents

A Sunday and with the big Squirrel around (rare in the lead up to christmas) we had a lovely day and time together. We headed out for breakfast at our usual which is always so nice. When 'our' waitress, now friend comes puts the coffees on the table, fruit for the kids and asks if we want the usual, it really does make it easy. Predictable, but easier.

We headed into town for a bit of inspiration and checked out the makers market in fed square. Then with our heads full of ideas we came home to play with fimo to make presents for some teachers. This one is a brooch for the kinder teacher. Hope she likes it.

Day 4 - Make Christmas Wreath


Last year we did multi coloured jubes. This year, it is all red, but jelly frogs. Same concept as before, a foam ring, lots of lollies and broken toothpicks. For the frogs I stuck the toothpick in on an angle into both the lolly and the foam and I think that should help them stay in until christmas. I have also hung it much higher than last year which should eliminate 3 people grabbing frogs....

Saturday, December 4

The boy who lives under the stairs

A while back Alexander and I made a deal. If he could read a certain set of books then he could have a Harry Potter book.
Harry Potter is a little bit of an unknown quantity around here. I have never read the books nor seen a movie. (I know, it is really hard and there is a whole other world out there!) I thought it would be a nice thing to share with my children - low and behold who are all boys!
There are lots of kids at school who talk about Harry but until now Xander has just had to go along with whatever they are saying. I also kept the stories away from him because I want him to be old enough to understand them. The problem that I face is that I don't have Ms JK pacing the books over the years for me. They are all written and all out there - movies etc. We could launch in and do the whole lot back to back, but from what I understand - the kids grow up and the stories grow up with them?? I don't know if book 6 would be suitable for a 6 year old....
Anyway, what I do know is that Harry is 10 in the first book, and that it was really written for children in the first instance so I was prepared to go with this as a starting point and worry about the rest later.
The other night Xander came out and read a book to me. He read it really well and easily - he is actually progressed so far past this book, that I asked him why he was reading this book. "To get Harry Potter" was his honest reply. I coudn't refuse and we had made a deal - so we ordered it on line and it arrived within a week to our door.
I am so excited that my little boy is excited about reading. He was pacing, checking the letter box and when the package came - he waited to open it with me - and then hugged me and called me the best mum ever! How awesome is that - over a book.
Now we are reading it - and it is new to both of us. We are stealing time away together to find out what is happening. It is our own secret little club.

Friday, December 3

Day 3 - Write Christmas Letter

I am not even sure what this one meant - I don't think it was a letter to santa- I think it was a letter to everyone to go in the christmas card. I don't normally do this but it has been soooo long since I have actually SENT the christmas cards (I normally write them just don't get them addressed or sent) so I thought I would do one of those catch up letters. Either way, whatever it was it didn't get done!
A quick trip to Darn Cheap Fabric, and then a subsequent re-visit by mum who went to buy extra fabric once I decided that the natutical inspired patchwork story that I had bought would make excellent doona covers for the twins. I lent my camera to Mr P who is competing in some auspicious 48 hour film festival so I can't show you.
The lack of camera is also why I can't show you the fabulous time we had at our kinder christmas party - the real reason no letters got written! It was touch and go with the wet and steamy weather we have been having and the kinder is built on a floodplain, but it was on and it was really great. The P & F organised entertainment in the form of African Drummers.
Just to clarify, African drumming isn't usually my thing. If someone invited me out drumming, I would politely decline, however it was really great.
For starters they came with a heap of drums for the kids. This meant the bigger kids (like Xander) could play drums while the kinder kids could play on the equipment and the parents could sit and relax - having a chat and a drink at the picnic. Bliss.
Then, assuming the parents had had a tipple, the children had to go and get their mums to dance in a circle to the tribal beats. As no one can refuse their child, we were all up dancing, shaking and sweating up a storm and it was really fun. I have been on their website and they do childrens birthday parties, hens parties, corporate functions...
Website if you would like a look: www.africandrumming.com.au
A couple of pics from their website due to our lack of camera
This is Shabba who was our drummer - he did have a top on - it was kinder after all.
Shabba

Thursday, December 2