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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Simplicity Update





Can you believe its the end of the month again already?!

I swear I only blogged about this like last week.

Well it's that time again to hold myself accountable for what I did towards my goal of simplicity.

NOT MUCH YET AGAIN!

However as I type this I am utterly exhausted and my back is killing me.

Why? Because I cleansed out several cupboards today and rearranged the girls bedroom.

The mess under their pushed together beds was horrendous.

Why in the process of cleaning is such a mess made? I swear my entire house was covered with stuff today. There was not a clean room, floor or surface. Those small cupboards are deceiving. Deep cleaning makes such a mess for you to clean up after yourself. I've been going all day and it's still not all done (no time for the regular chores)

But 3 bags of stuff to be donated and two boxes of rubbish later things feel so much better. And might make it possible for us to start hosting international students again. It just means everything in the Study/Nursery/craft room must find another place to live. A big task for this small house.

But it is definately a way to simplify this house!


About the only other goal I accomplished this month was the one of working on making our own bread by scratch, by hand.

And how did I accomplish that? Got the Mr to do it of course!

He's made several loaves this month with the girls. YUMMY!

We've been using these step by step instructions  at Down to Earth and found them quite helpful.

I did resource the instructions and ingredients and did help out a little, so I'm totally claiming it.

But thanks to The Mr for his desire to help provide homemade bread.


And I thought I would link to this post on Simplicity over at The Mr's Blog.
Very Insightful response to my goal for the year. Who knew he could write so well?

I must remember 'the pause'

Friday, April 29, 2011

Princess Party


A last minute thrown together Princess High Tea party.

While watching the royal wedding shenanigans we shall be dining on

pink cupcakes
triple tier sandwiches
scones
camembert
gerkins (yes my kids are weird and love them)
brownie bites
caramel slice bites

The girls have been making crowns. (Even though one or more of them have no interest in the wedding (the eldest) or even know who wills and kate are (the youngest ones) There is such a buzz going on here. I'm glad I threw this all together in a couple of hours (read exhaustion from camping, a last minute school athletics carnival to decorate bodies for that we thought had been on while we were camping and grocery shopping all came first). I wasn't even gonna watch the wedding to tell the truth. I don't really care all that much. But hey it only happens once every 30 years or so.

One  early marriage memories I have of The Mr is him gingerly bringing a pillowcase out of hiding from a cupboard. Precious Contents inside. I wondered what it could be. Royal Memorabilla. Women's Weekly Royal Editions. Old.

My husband is a closet royalist?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ummm Okay..

(He swears he didn't purchase them ;) They were gifted him from his Grandmother.

Whilst he doesnt care for royal gossip and the like and doesn't follow closely, royal lines, historical and military sides of it does interest him. He has taught me over the years to have a greater respect for ceremony and honoring those types of things. I have a very interesting husband that is for sure.

This Reminds me of our visit to the Ekka last year. We were there for the opening ceremony (second night) and had to sit through army salutes/march and a speech by our states Governor General. Someone who was with us (who shall not be named ;) did not want to stand in  respect to the Govenor as they said 'she isnt from here and has lived all over the world and has just turned up to be the Governor and is not a nice person etc and doesn't deserve our respects. The Mr said its important for the children to respect and to understand who these people are that serve us. We are a part of this ceremony and we are lucky to be so.


I personally am more interested in the 'behind the scenes' like that show  'A Year with the Royals.' Where we get to see the royal fireplace taker carer and the royal clock guy who job it is just to look after the thousands of clocks the palace has. I was never really interested in the royals till I saw that show. All very facsinating. I also had no interest/like for Prince Charles until I read a National Geographic magazine about all the work he does. That man works hard for serveral places and for his own envirnomental ideas/company. I always thought they sat around spending state money. They really do work incredibly hard.

I also remember watching a show called Australian Princess. It was a reality show that I loved. One day the girls were complaining about why they needed to know all these social rules, how to make tea a special way, rules, rules and more rules. (and I agreed with them - its status snobbery!) but the lady explained how important these things were for society. That they were protected in some way. That they continued on. That they once did have purpose. It was all very genteel but it spoke to me in a way. Yes I might be very removed from that life, but it doesn't mean it is wrong. It is just special and different.

So here we are. Sitting. Waiting. A royal ceremony to be had.

A bit of respect for the royals from us.


***Updated

 The eldest daughter who told me she wasn't interested in watching has watched in rapted attention nearly the whole time giving us running commentary!!

I've been thinking that EVERYONE was wearing modest clothes. How wonderful. If it's good enough for the Royals people, it should be good enough for us too!! Was very refreshing to have a 'big do' not be a flesh fest.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Weekend Roundup


Last friday the girls were saying 'It's four days till Easter!!'

We said 'It's already Easter!'

They meant four days till their favourite Easter Tradition.

This is the ONE tradition we have as a family that has been going for a LONG time!

About 20 years or so!!

The girls were saying this is N's second time. This is my 10th time. This is your 8th time.
 Like it was some badge of honour.

Well girls, I win!

Every year we have a big breakfast and Egg Hunt by the Dam. The kids LOVE IT.

I love that they love it. And its so easy. They pretty much entertain themselves.


For the first time they 'packed' the plastic easter eggs. It's usually done for them and they don't see them till they are hunting for them. But they really enjoyed this. Might make them 'work for their chocolate' every year!

 




As predicted the pinata broke in the exact place I said it would.  The handle.
This then left us with a five layer tough as glue basket.
This is the kids stabbing it with sticks :D Lord of the flies anyone?


 This is awesome Uncle about to rip it open and send it flying into the air
for all the contents to fly out for effect, since it broke.



and that means it's the end of Easter xx


Some other photos from easter


Saturday Morning Easter Baskets (see the hands about to madly grab them)
We choose Saturday so we can keep Sunday focused on the spiritual.



 Yummy Bunny Cake made by Grandma for our other Easter Party.


The rest of our weekend was very quiet. We stayed home.
And the Mr kindly played a 5 hour game of Monopoly with the girls.
(would.never.ever.happen.with.me.girls.)

It's been a fantastic first week of holidays so far.



Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Week - Hot Cross Buns


So I ate my first Hot Cross Bun of the Season today! 

Which is kinda sad because by Monday they won't be in the stores anymore.

But I'm kinda proud of myself. I usually wait for Easter to eat them. Eggs too (chocolate variety).

People always seem to forget to buy the 'Easter Bunny' some eggs.
Looks like she should start buying her own ;)
But I digress.




For the past few years I've tried to make sure we make Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday.
Most years we succeed.
A good way to remember that Jesus died for us.

Today's were delish and eaten straight out of the oven. They almost tasted like shop ones.

But the one I ate a couple of hours later didn't. Definately heavier and homemade tasting.

Oh well. So if you make some. Best eaten immediately

I used  this recipe from Taste.com


Double Kneaded with love xx


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Week - Pinata


It seems every easter we make a pinata.

See here and here and a carrot one I can't find a pic of.

This year was no different but I wanted something I don't feel bad about hitting.

The egg shape is the easiest pinata to make.

Something like the this one from G's birthday would be PERFECT.

But we didn't do that.



Instead I wrapped some cling wrap around a plastic container and started gluing newspaper strips on.

To get a basket shape. When dry remove from container.

Add handle - which will end up being the weak point of this pinata and break - I will reinforce with sticky tape and try the rope around the basket when its time to hit it?

Fill with goodies  - This time I've put in balloons, glitter, individually wrapped marshmallows and flat toy whistles. I've found many trinkets get broken/smashed in pinata's - best to stick to plastic animals/dinosaurs, bouncy balls etc.

Then add a false top. I achieved that by a circle with slits all around to push into the basket and then stapled, and paper mached over.

Add whatever things you would like to the 'basket' for looks. These are some plastic eggs from last year and pink shredded paper.

Enjoy hitting your pinata.

Sometimes I think my kids don't really care what's inside the pinata. Its just all about the thrill/excitement of the surprise of it all.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Week - Soft Pretzels


About 4 years ago we made pretzels for the first time, for Easter.

Under the guise that pretzels are in the shape  arms folded in prayer (it's true)

They were yum and I thought I should make these more often.

But I haven't

Every year Easter rolls around and we make pretzels for the first time since the year before.

So it seems it has become and Easter tradition.

A very yummy one.

I've used several recipes over the years, but used this one from All Recipes this time.


However much the girls love to make them, yesterdays event was marred by lots of crying.

Someone took offence that someone else said their pretzels looked a bit like Dog Poop. Or a worm. Or worst of all a 'willy'. Oh dear. Lots of crying and fighting. But it was all over when the time came to eat them.

Even if they do look a little like poop (or body parts) they still taste good :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Week - Hot Eggs


I've still got stuff to share, so looks like it'll be another week of Easter Craft!!
(I'm sure you're sooo excited :)

Crayon Covered Dyed Eggs



We've done this method before making Hot Rocks
Over at  The Artful Parent she showed us that it works with eggs too!


Basically you Boil some Eggs.

While still Hot use crayons to make patterns on the egg.



When cooled place in dye.



Allow to dry and admire your pretty eggs.


Then Eat them for Dinner.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Easter Week - Suprise Eggs


I've been seeing variations of these eggs popping up everywhere. There is so many things you can do with an empty egg shell! Like a secret message contained inside found via Design Mom or a sweet suprise inside found via Say yes to Hoboken

I've decided that  'surprise eggs'  is much easier to say than Carscerones

This would have to be one of my girls most favourite Easter things.

There is just something 'oddly therapeutic' about smashing an egg over someones head.

We've been saving eggs for a few weeks now and I made some surprise eggs up to take photos of.

I asked the girls if they would be willing to smash a few so I could take photos.

OH YES PLEASE. They did not have to be asked twice.

Taking photos of egg smashing confetti - hard.


The hardest thing about these eggs is to REMEMBER to slice the top off the egg when using in cooking instead of 'cracking' the egg. This is the keep the eggshell in a more whole state.

Wash and clean eggs and leave to dry.



Fill eggs with confetti. We just chop magazines up into tiny tiny squares.
But it would look good with REAL confetti inside.



Smear a ring of glue around the edge of the egg. Attach tissue paper over the hole. You might want to do two or so layers. Trim the tissue paper when dry.



Place upside to help with the facade that they are real :)




Smash over friends heads. The best part!





and enjoy your confetti mess (why I do this outside:)


so pretty!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easter Week - Felt Eggs


I loved this idea and I love even more that they only take a few minutes to make.

Basically cut two egg shapes out of felt. Make one a little larger than the other.

On the ONE smaller piece cut a zig zag line in the middle.
(not right across though, you are making a slit/hole)

Sew the two eggs together (Or I am sure hot glue gun would work just as well!)

And you have a little egg ready for a treat.

Or a note.

Or any little treasure you can think of.

I was thinking today these would have made great class treats. But it's the last day of school!

Lucky there are always neighbours, cousins, church friends without a time schedule on them.

                                                                 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easter Week - Sugar Cookies


I've been gifted lots of cookie cutters/playdough cutters over the years.
One was a nifty oval/egg shape that I have been meaning to try out!

I used this sugar cookie recipe but not too sure if I loved it. The biscuit was VERY plain tasting. So make sure you have LOTS of icing, or look for another recipe :)

I filled snap lock bags with coloured pure icing sugar icing. Snip a little hole in one corner.

and squeeze out lines and squiggles.


With lots of concentration like so:


Mine:


The girls:


I just love the pastel colours for easter. Swoon on soft pink, green and blue!

Eat or give away. I managed to save a few to give away to neighbours and ladies I visit teach.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Easter Week - Egg candles


I've been saving egg shells like mad for weeks now. I have a nice little pile going on.

When I saw this idea I knew we could do it too.

Basically get an empty clean egg shell.

Paint with food colouring.

Get old candles and cut up keeping the wick.

Melt in a saucepan

Pour wax into egg shell with a piece of wick in the middle.

Allow to dry.

Use for Easter Dinner or candles for devotionals.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Easter Week - Easter Countdown Calendar



Since school holidays are starting on Friday I thought I would use this week to post all our Easter Ideas. Hopefully some of you find them useful!


Thought I would first start with and Easter Countdown calendar of sorts. This was our previous one  from a few years ago. I have a couple of ideas for some new easy kid made ones.


Firstly for this one we used water colour paint. 
Cut egg shapes out of card and paint, splatter, drip the water paint on.

Set aside to dry.

Now using the sewing machine (!!) sew your eggs together. Sewing through paper is very easy and it always gives me a thrill ?? Don't know why. I'm very strange.

Add as many eggs as you want to count down with. 7 days before Easter? 12 days?

Add a bow to the top .



On the back of the eggs write an Easter Activity for the family to do.


Examples

Dye Eggs
Egg Hunt
Bake Hot Cross Buns
Make an Easter Basket
Watch an Easter Movie
Grow wheat grass
Decorate biscuits (cookies) to look like eggs
Any Egg, Bunny, Chick craft


I plan to make a countdown for the week leading up to easter with some Religious activities to do each day.

Religious Examples.

Palm Sunday :
Make a Palm Cross , reenact Jesus on a donkey and people waving palm fronds.

Monday: (cleansing of the temple)
Talk about how church/temple should be a place of calm and worship and not a house of caos.
Make Soft Pretzels  (shaped like folded arms for prayer)

Tuesday: (teaching at the temple)
Jesus taught what is the greatest law. Love thy neighbour as they self.
Take a gift for your neighbours

Wednesday:
Mary washed Jesus Feet and offered expensive oils/purfume.
Reenact with children and wash their feet (I find this very humbling and moving)

Thursday: Preparing for Passover
Read the story of the passover John 13:1-11 and make a simple passover meal.
Unleavened bread, lamb, horseradish, Haroset, Parsley and salt water  details here

Friday: The day Jesus Died
Make Hot cross buns and discuss Cruxifiction

Saturday: Festival of Light
Make lanterns, candle holders to symbolise those that wait for Jesus resurrection

Sunday: He is Risen
Hold family testimony meeting, attend church.


Enjoy counting down to Easter!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

MUD


Only my girls.

Out of the other 20 or so kids that were at the park during our time there...

ONLY my girls ventured anywhere NEAR this 1x3 metre mud pit from the rain.

It started out innocently enough with feet only.

But an hour later looked like this.


and lastly like this...


SIGH

I'm a fan of mud being good for kids, and even my kids rarely get to play in it, so I was open to this activity and atleast it wasn't my backyard they were tearing up, but its awfully embarrassing to see strangers with surprised mouths turned into snarls looking at my kids say "OH MY ------- (insert profanity here) look at those kids" I counted about 10 times this happened. I much prefered the people with lighthearted laughs and a shake of their heads.

I warned them about having to be hosed off in cold water when they got home.
Ahhh the revenge was sweet.

I will say that today I fully participated with my kids all day and it was the best day we've had in a while. Fancy that.

Lets hope the mud was good for their skin

or their immune system....

hopefully....

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tuesday Afternoon Outings

Infinity/eternity/cosmos/galaxy box at GOMA


Did I tell you that I picked the girls up early from school to see a movie! A movie! I felt terrible for encouraging wagging. Our Tuesday afternoon outings are going great. (except for this week because the sickies are going through this house) We've been to a few places and had good times!

The girls wanted to see Gnomeo and Juliet. I said I would check the times.

2:25.  Hello. Just great. Encourage skipping school, or upset the kids?

So I said I would pick them up from school early and tell the office they had a family appointment.

Which it was, no?

I get to K's classroom and the teacher yells out in front of everyone..
'I just wanna know which movie you're going to see!!'

Embarrassment. Big Time.

Kids just can not keep a secret can they?

But she was cool with it. She said family excursions are fine, even if they butt into school time occassionally. She said if only all children had a mother like you. (oh how kind)

I made sure I included some literary refences on how the cartoon differed from the real Romeo and Juliet. You know to make up for skipping school and all.


Next time I go I'm gonna ask how they transport these artworks.. this thing was huge.
(Recycled Shopping bags)


Last week we went to the Gallery of Modern Art (Goma) and loved it. There are so many interactive exhibits there at the moment. Which is so fun. But sometimes confuses the little ones on why they were allowed to touch the previous piece but not the next.

This wall of wishes got me thinking. I touched and read through as many as the girls would allow me time for. You were allowed to take one ribbon to keep. According to the brazillian artist (tradition)  if you tie it on and wear it, when it finally breaks and falls off your wish will be granted.


At first I was happy because I wished for none of them. The wishes are based on wishes people around the world have made at the exhibit. You write a wish and put it in the hole where you take another wish from. He then uses those wishes to print more for the next exhibit.

It made me think I have a pretty good life. And that many people out there have sadnesses and longings and desires unmet. That made me sad. I hope by acknowledging these wishes that they were in positions to instigate change in their lives.

Then I thought I must be boring, because I don't even wish for the funny or lighthearted ones. I've got serious issues I tell you! Reminded me of my I don't do favourites post.

I loved that my girls found a lost wish on the ground "I wish for a more loving family" and tried to return it to a gallery worker (they were strictly told only ONE WISH each, and saw some high school students trying to sneak more into their pockets get in trouble) the gallery worker said they could keep it. But they didn't want it. We already have a loving family, why would we wish for that?

And my heart melts.

Cause heaven knows we need more love and less squabbles around here.
(maybe I should have grabbed THAT ONE for my wish??)

What did they wish for?

I wish I could teleport
I wish Dr Who was real

And to their surprise what wishes did they find to choose?

I wish I could make a time portal
I wish I could have a pet
I wish I was a mermaid

I wish I could travel in time and space.
(picked for daddy, which I suppose ended up being my wish as I didn't choose one)

 Phew. Lucky they didn't see this one ;)

Perhaps I should have taken the "I wish for world peace" one. Or the "I wish for a long and healthy life" These were the two that appealed to me most I suppose.

Favourites of the afternoon were

this slide (you had to be 110cm to ride much to G's disappointment) and I never did get to read the artists description of this piece. I think he/she was pushing the limits and just wanted to install an awesome rideable piece in an art gallery to get the stiffs to loosen up ;)



this balloon room which gave us awesome static hair


and the pool room


Any other ideas for our Tuesday afternoon activity?

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