Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sixth Day of Christmas Tradition

my true love gave to me ~ Books to read before sleeping.

Got your advent calendars ready for tomorrow? So exciting isn't it?

When asked what their favourite christmas traditions were this one came up as the girls most favourite.

Our 'read a Christmas Book every night in December' tradition.

Each year I buy one or two new Christmas books that we then wrap in newspaper and leave in a basket next to the Tree. The girls take turns choosing one each night. Over the years we have started to amass quite a few. I also borrow some from the library to shake things up a bit - so we don't get sick of the same ones. That said they have their favourites... some which get read multiple times!

So not only do we have advent we have books to read to help us count down the days. One day I will number the books at exactly 25 with tags and it will be another true advent.
Happy First day of December for tomorrow.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Love at Home

Monday Night " Fancy Dinner Restaurant Night" is still going great.

Tonight I think we are pretty much having thanksgiving

K asked for Roast Chicken surrounded by peas, hot rolls, gravy and veges.

And Chocolate Fondue with fruits to dip for dessert.

I aim to please so that's what we're having.

The cutest thing? We hold hands while singing Love at Home

At first it made me giggle each time. It felt like the MOST Cheesiest thing EVER!

Why does holding hands together in a circle feel so stupid?

So I keep it up just for that. So it won't feel cheesy or silly.

It'll be what love feels like.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fifth Day of Christmas Tradition/Foody Friday

my true love gave to me ~ A gingerbread house to eat

Strike those gingerbread houses off the list!

Well not really. We'll probably make more. Especially now I've done it the cheats way.

But I've fulfilled the "Remember the tradition where we take a gingerbread house to school" tradition

This year though I was lazy.

I've been thinking all year about what type of biscuits would be suitable to use so I don't have to cook the gingerbread. Does that make it not authentic? I'm not sure the kids liked Gingerbread anyway.

I experimented with Nice biscuits, Milk Biscuits and Scotch finger.

I think it worked well.

My icing was a little too runny, so it went everywhere. I'll never win 'neatest gingerbread house award' but at least the roof didnt fall in like last time I like the messy cottage look I've go going on here. Well not really. But there's always next time.

There were no complaints from the kids at school who handed back almost licked clean trays.

The after school care kids actually ran us down to eat the last leftovers as we were leaving school. We had to run from the crowd and jump in the car. Seriously. I thought a riot was gonna start. Those after school ladies were giving me the evil eye.

Yeah I rock I know.

Crushed Candy Canes were my new favourite roofing material :) There were groans from the daughter who had to take the Saltana Buds Cereal rooved house to school. Not happy apparently. Thats what I get for being experimental and not making identical houses!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fourth Day of Christmas Tradition

my true love gave to me ~ An Advent calendar for counting.

I love Advent calendars.

I'm always so torn though (whats new)

I kinda want a family heirloom home made one (made by me) that we use every year like this or this gorgeous one

But I also like mixing it up every year with different throw away home made paper ones too.

I think I'm going to just Have to HAVE TWO!

I was dreaming a few weeks ago of a babushka/matryoshka doll advent calendar. Just a square shaped one but with 24 material bubushka's sewn onto it with their aprons as the pockets for the lollies. I was going to start apliqueing but thought I would never finish on time. Maybe next year?

This year I decided to go with an envelope style. Cheap and Easy.

there are 25 envelopes. They have little numbers on them, you could decorate however you like.

An Envelope should be big enough for an activity, scripture and 3 lollies. Though to be mean and add suspense I'm not putting lollies in every day :P It is just stuck up with Blu Tak. Lets hope it holds up. I should start a blog about Crafting using paper and blu tak. Cause that's about the extent of my art supplies.

We sat down for a Family Home Evening lesson and I asked the girls what activities they would like to do for their Advent Calendar. Here's what we came up with. I got some ideas from The Artful Parent too. She had some nice easy ones (which is a must as sometimes I have to be sneaky and change the activity in the pocket depending on what I think I can handle the coming day!!!)

Set up Nativity
Watch Christmas Movies
Put up Tree
Make Candy Cane/Cinnamon Playdough
Paint nails with glitter nailpolish
Dance to Christmas music
Sleep under the Tree
Make popcorn/Fruitloop strings for the tree
Decorate Biscuits
Make marshmallow Snowmen
Make Lanterns
Go on Lantern walk at night
Make Cinnamon applesauce ornaments
Go see the Myer windows and City Tree
Go carolling
Make cards
Visit Cousins
Decorate Gingerbread house
Make Cardboard trees and decorate with stickers
See Christmas Lights
Visit the Nativity at the Temple
Decorate our own wrapping paper

I dearly would love to make this Advent Tree one year. Isn't it amazing?!
Or this easy Paper Chain ~ Hidden Activity one
I really like this paper birdy one
This Music Sheet Cardboard roll Advent looks great too.

Lucky Christmas comes every year! Hopefully I'll be able to make a few over the years.

What's your advent calendar like?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Climbing up and away yet stay in my heart

From this:

To this:

My baby is growing up. Growing into a climber like her sister. (sigh)

I spend half my day removing her from the kitchen table, off the top of the organ (sometimes standing up!) the outdoor table, Chairs etc.

The other day she yelled out MmmmUuuuuuuMmmmmmmm in that annoying way her sisters do.

I actually thought it was G yelling out to me.

When I found out it was N I think my heart broke a little.

No you aren't allowed to grow up.

No you aren't allowed to call my name out in that annoying way.

Stay sweet baby.

I love you so much.
How much longer am I allowed to nibble on her and kiss her constantly?
She's swept up in my arms a hundred times a day
doesn't she know she sweeps me up in my heart.
It's all a little unfair really.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Third day of Christmas Tradition

My true love gave to me ~ Advent celebrated as a family.

Advent is celebrated each Sunday for four Sundays leading up to Christmas.

So that means it starts THIS SUNDAY COMING.

Now I'm not Catholic, so don't rib on me if this is incorrect. We kinda do a modified version.

I use my trusty candle ring my dad made (thanks dad!) decorate the ring for Christmas (as seen here ) and have four candles.

Each week you light an extra candle till all four are lit. On Christmas you can light a 5th one in the middle. (Because we are pyro's we sometimes forget and get eager and light all the candles accidentally)

Here are some places with advent ideas and programs to follow if your interested:

Since I don't follow a traditional advent layout we use the time to :

Share a scripture
Share a story
Have some quiet reflection
Gather around the dinner table
Sing a carol
Have a family devotional

I also really like this Homemade Advent in the shape of a spiral. Even though it is a solstice advent I love her idea about using the spiral to 'reflect inwards' at this time of year. Nothing like the end of a year/new year for some internal reflection. Or even as someone in the comments said they would count from in to outwards as this time of year people often 'think of others'

Sometimes we get so busy we might forget Advent on one of the weeks, But that's ok. It's the desire that matters. I really like this tradition in taking time to slow down, enjoy some candle light and discuss the more important matters of the season.

And as my girls would agree..... any activity is better when fire is involved. (controlled of course ;)

Monday, November 22, 2010

When Daddy Comes Home

I love me holding N. And the plastic bag The Mr's holding? - His lunch :)
And our new TV is prominant in this picture. Oh oh.

I found this drawing in a pile of K's school stuff.

So cute my heart melted.

Shame it isnt 100% true.

Daddy doesn't come home to a welcome like this everyday.

But he should.

It reminded me of some photos we took while The Mr was away last month. Our family, but with Daddy's head via the computer. He was so lonely he bought us a camera and set up video teleconferencing for his second week away.

Family Home Evening was so fun via webcam

He even had to eat the treat via the camera. The girls placed the treat up close he had to pretend chomp on it for them. It was chaos and I spent the whole time laughing.

But I loved that they love to see their Dad so much.

On saturday The Mr decided to clear out his wardrobe. He threw most of it away (thank you)

*fingers crossed he now goes shopping to buy cooler replacements pretty please*

Then he decided to ask the girls if they wanted any of his old tshirts to use as PJ's.

so thankyouverymuch I've now had my girls getting around wearing dads oversized tshirts down to their ankles. G repeatedly asked where hers was. I had to pry it off to wash it.

Cute. Kinda. They do look like homeless street urchins.

But nothing's better than wearing your dads shirts.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Foody Friday

I've been looking around for desserts I might want to have at our Annual Grandparents Christmas Party.

A friend makes this pavlova roll and I really like it, so I've made it twice in the last few weeks.

First attempt was I would say a fail. But second attempt was cha ching... sweet success.

I used This Recipe from Best Recipes. I followed it exactly the first time.

Except my roll was eggy and soft and blergg... I really dont like egg smell so I  wanted to be sick.

Soooo second time I baked it like you would a pavlova. Low Heat Slow Oven. And it was DELISH!

So I cooked it for around 30 mins this time on low heat. It was much crunchier and I thought it wouldn't roll.


I also didnt refridgerate for 24 hours either time. A couple of hours is plenty.

It is so easy to make and fairly cheap as it can feed about 8 people.

Basically Beat 4 egg whites until foamy. Add a cup of sugar slowly and beat until stiff.
Line a big flat cooking tray with baking paper. Spread out mix thin over the tray (rectangle or square shape)
Bake in a low oven (100 degrees celcius) for half hour or so till crunchy.
When cool cover in whipped cream and diced strawberries.
Slowly roll over using the paper if rectangle roll long sides to eachother
Cover in cling wrap to keep shape and refridgerate
Decorate before serving with more cream and berries.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Second day of Christmas Tradition

my true love gave to me ~  an opportunity for serving.

This is kinda a new tradition. It's hard when kids are little to get them to understand the importance of serving others. Whenever I heard them say "I want ____  for Christmas" I would always counter it with "What are you going to GIVE at Christmas?"

We've usually made up a christmas hamper to go to another family, bake cookies for our neighbours, we get them to buy little gifts for each other, small acts of service that their minds can get around. We've sung at Nursing Homes with church and filled those Christmas shoe Boxes that go overseas.

However I'm always on the lookout for opportunities than can take them to to understand the *true* meaning of Christmas. A few years ago I googled and googled things that little children can do to serve others at Christmas. It was hard to find something. Many packing places, or soup kitchens don't allow children.

I've wanted to purchases a pig or a goat or some chickens for a family through Tear.org or Heifer.org for many years. The thought that a family somewhere may be provided for by a small donation from me warms my heart. But I don't have a credit card and keep putting it off.

I thought this was the year I was going to do it. The girls had chosen a $10 fish farm for a family.

However in the end we have ended up purchasing a hygiene kit that will go to the 139 Club at Fortitude valley. It cost 4 times the amount a fish farm cost but hopefully it will make someone feel better about themselves. The 139 club is a place that homeless people can come and wash their clothes, have a shower, have something to eat or a hot drink. They have up to 300 people a day go through.

The ladies at my church are aiming for 100 kits. They include shampoo and conditioner, soap, face washer, toothpaste and brush, bandaids, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, socks, washing powder etc.

So since I was going to be participating anyway I thought I would include the older girls and make this one of their service projects for Christmas. We went on a kinda mummy daughter date to get our hygiene kit.

I gave them the list. They looked over it. We went to the shops and I asked them to choose each product. It was a good learning curve for them to compare prices ( I said don't buy the cheapest brand, but not the most expensive either) and to examine what products they wanted to give.

When choosing bandaids they were very seriously studying them all and came to the conclusion that they had better buy the 'waterproof ones, because homeless people fall in the river often'. I couldn't stop laughing and asked them where they heard that?? (Possibly from a tarp house we used to pass by on the river) So a good discussion about  why many people are homeless for a variety of reasons ensued. They were smart enough to remember a friend of ours whose house burnt down and that in a sense he was homeless. We talked about people having  no family and no where to turn, people whose brains are a bit confused, people who have spent all their money, people whose house burns down, people who run away from bad parents, people on drugs. 

When choosing deodorant it was  a serious business of sniffing them. They declared the winner one that 'smelt like daddy' 'Yes this is  the one we want' they said.  Another debate ensued when I said that the deodorant had to be a roll on one. After many questions of why I told them so it couldn't be used as an inhalent. Another wonderful discussion  on 'DRUGS (or similar) are BAD OKAY!"

As with most types of service often the person giving gets more than the person receiving.

I know this to be true.

Maybe we will make a big difference to someone who receives our toothpaste and shampoo.

Maybe we won't.

But we will have been changed by the opportunity to do so.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

To like my girls.

I had a bad thought once. A stray thought about what if one/all of my kids died.

For a second I thought I wouldn't be that sad.

Isn't that terrible?

I pondered my thought:

Is it because I understand the plan of salvation? I understand I will be with them forever?
Is it because while I may  love them, I don't always like them?
There's physical attachment but how emotionally attached am I to them?
Was it because I was tired and overwraught and would welcome the releaving of my burdens?

I don't know what the answer was but I was appalled at my stray thought no matter how fleeting it may have been. But I'm sure I'm not the only person in the world to say they don't like their kids (all the time)

Now don't get me wrong I love my kids and love being a mother *most* of the time.

I was just stretching my boundries of feelings.

How upset would I be if my kids were no longer on this earth without me?

I have spent more time lately trying to get to *know* my children. Get to know them, as they are, opposed to knowing them just as my children.

I *want* to like them. 

As I've blogged before I came to the realisation a few years ago that we will spend most of our lives parenting adults. Adults we might not necessarily like.

but I want to like mine!!

How do you learn to like a person?

Get to know them, talk with them, have bonding experiences, let them lead.

I will admit I think it is working. I am starting to like their personalities more. I'm starting to understand them more, instead of them sometimes just being annoying to me.

I love baby cuddles and cute toddler speak. Sometimes I feel that I know how to relate to my little girls, but I don't know how to relate to my older girls. I am on a steep learning curve with a house full of girls who don't always want to listen to what I say or want my advice. It can hurt sometimes.

 I really think there is something great in seeing grown teenagers and adults together as a family. Families that enjoy eachother. I know some families that just seem like they all get along so well (even with teens in the mix!)

I hope I will get that. I really hope *crosses fingers*

One of my goals for the comming year is to learn to like my children more.

While I think it is true that it's not really my job to be my girls best friends (thats what friends are for, right? To vent about your family to??) However I do really want to be a friend of theirs.

Not a best friend

But a friend.

A FRIEND I LIKE!  (who likes friends they don't like? gah!)

*Of course I would be devasted if one of my children died. It really was an errant thought. To anyone who has lost a child, I obviously really have no idea - the amount of pain would be debilitating.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First Day of Christmas Tradition

We have so many traditions we love to follow at Christmas time. However if a few of them aren't done by Novemeber they have to get scratched off the list. I don't like to do that so the last week in November is always a busy one, organising my calendar and making sure we can fit it all in.

This year instead of new crafts (I've fallen off the craft boat with the kids, need to jump back on!) I'll be doing 12 days of Traditions. A few of the traditions that my kids love to do.

I was reminded that you only have to do something twice for youre kids to think it is A MUST. At the beginning of November K suddenly comes running to me to  say:

"Mum you remember the tradition of taking a Gingerbread house to school to share?
Well when are we going to do it?!"

This tradition was born after I spent days making my first gingerbread house. I couldn't even stand to look at it anymore. To eat it would have made me sick! Plus we had sampled alot while making it. I didn't want my kids to eat it all, so I asked the school teacher if K could take it to school to share with everyone. It was a hit and success that last year I made two - one for each girl to take to school. So apparently THIS year IT'S TRADITION!! ~ oh oh.

My true love gave to me ~ A pillowcase for dreaming.

One of the first traditions we do each year is to go fabric shopping. Each child choose their own fabric on a special shopping trip. We go in November to get plenty of mileage out of that fabric.

Then we make them into Christmas Pillowcases so we can have good christmas dreams.

This year the older girls were almost able to make them without any help. They still need guiding on keeping the fabric straight, but they did really well. G sat on my lap and 'helped' while I made hers. There's just something about sewing with little hands on top of yours while you sew that makes my heart melt. (Sure  it's annoying... but heartmeltingly so)

Finished Product waiting for heads.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Tree Bunting

A friend mentioned on facebook that christmas bunting would be a cheap and easy christmas decoration.

The thought had never occured to me!

So last week I made two kinds.

Regular party size.

And itty bitty size

Well its not that small. I'm actually thinking of going smaller.


Because this bunting is for the christmas tree.

Cute hey?!

We don't put our tree up till the first monday in December, but its hanging on the walls waiting.. waiting...

Go here for my bunting tutorial. I did it the same way. These small ones are about 6cm tall.

I'm in love with this green and white curly tree material from spotlight... adorable!
These are the triangles for the big bunting.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

to engage

It's so sweet to remember ones engagement day.

We are lucky we have Remembrance day to remind us to remember it.

Well one of my engagements. There's the real one. And the official one with ring.
I pick and choose which one I celebrate.

Tonight we were lucky enough to go to our hill.  A pizza picnic with the girls.

A asked where was the exact spot Daddy got down on one knee. So cute.

Then they spent the rest of the time running fast down the steep hill.

My dear sweet Mr who I stole with my wiley ways as a young 19 year old girl.

He didn't stand a chance xx

We lay in bed late last night reminiscing ye old days. I teased him for asking to marry me so soon. (2weeks) Teased him for being so impulsive. But then I said that is you. In life he spends so much time researching, when he finds what he wants he gets it immediately. He likes to tell me that he spent a year waiting around for me to be rid of other boyfriends, biding his time. Then once he got me he was never letting go.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Emotions are for sharing.

I'm grateful my children haven't learned how to hold back their tears when they're sad, laughter when their happy, or screams when they are frightened. They constantly remind me that emotions are for sharing.  ~ Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard

Some of the most common words used by me are:

Turn that down, turn that off, be quiet, ssshhh,
calm down, stop making that noise!!

The Mr and I don't do well with annoying noises.
Which is unfortunate because Kids are pretty much annoying noise (seen despicable me??)
I have no idea how we ended up with noisy kids that can't sit still. (none at all ;)

There is one noise that I hate above all. I call it giggle fighting. K has that noise down pat. It's an annoying hehheh  hehheh hehheh  (breathy annoying giggle yet upset noise) and she can do it for hours while playing with her sister. K and A love to hate each other.  Its the Muuuuuuuuu mmmmm shes annoying me type play. The giggle is the 'shes gettting me/copying me/annoying me' type. She wants to tell me that she has had enough yet really wants her sister to keep doing it at the same time. Gah! It drives me barmy.

However sometimes I try to tell myself if it isn't angry yelling, then I should let it go. Let them play it out, let them laugh, giggle, bang toys, destroy their beds, run (stompingly like) through our echoey wooden house ...

(and let it reverberate around my brain!!) oh help me please.

*runs off to buy some expensive noise reduction headphones :)*

But as the quote says no one knows emotions like children. They can go from manic laughter to tears to fights to hugs to stomping off to crawling into your bed after scary dreams or for just being awake in the dark.

They've taught me I need to share more hugs, more kisses, more laughter, more joyous praise.

And a lot less of the endless directing (which I think they ignore anyway)

Sit and Be. And laugh.

or should that be run around in circles like a crazy chicken, laughing manically and find the joy in life that children do.

Monday, November 8, 2010


If there were one American holiday I'd like to follow it would be Thanksgiving. Who doesn't love Turkey, lots of food and hanging out with family and friends? mmmm I can make a good pumpkin pie too.

I came across this article by Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard in an old Lds Living Magazine. Oh how almost everything spoke to me! Yes, Yes and more yes!

So using this article as a base, this week will be a week of posts devoted to being thankful.

Thankful for those little terrorists I call my kids.

I'm grateful my children always need new shoes, piano books, prescriptions, haircuts, fieldtrips, tuition and food. That way I don't have to waste my time thinking about a new sofa. It's difficult to get wealthy and think about luxuries when you have to buy toilet paper and milk by the truckload each week.  ~ Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard

This quote help put into perspective something I have felt for a long time. I want pretty things, we all do. REALLY I DO! But my lack of pretty things shows that deep down it mustn't really be (that much) a priority for me. Or I have a huge guilt complex (possibly). This year I have been attempting to fight my sink into 'denying oneself.'  (As I'm sure if a mother denies herself too much she will surely explode one day). I have done fairly well. Well not really, but have made a effort to be prettier, spend more money on me,  organise my home, Sew nice things etc.

However. When I think about what might this time be teaching me, it is infact teaching me alot. Having a bunch of children at (the worlds definition) a young age brings responsibility. Being a stay at home mum brings frugality. Sometimes I might feel that I am dying from Baby Brain but in actuality I am learning a lot of things.

The needs of children teach us to deny selfishness. To learn to put another before ourselves. The constant whining, the sleepless nights, the questions asked, the demands made hopefully all have a teaching component. The ability to teach and disipline children is infact some of the best learning one can do. You can see your successes and your failings. Before your very eyes.  They are the ultimate Product.

Each day I must ask myself. What is this teaching me?

We must always remember to fill our own cup so we can share to others, so it is important for time out (Oh can someone put me in time out?? please please *raises hand*) and little pleasures and cleansing breaths.  I've already chosen my "word' for next year and I'm already excited about it and excited about the changes I'll be making. Learning to look after me, without 'spoiling' me is a fine line I am trying to walk.

But I am grateful that I don't have to waste my time thinking about a new sofa.

I'm just thinking daily about getting the dry clean guy to come and clean it though!!

It's truly disgusting.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Homecoming and Foody Friday.

While Daddy's away.  We shall play.  Shhh dont tell.

We eat cheerios for dinner

and pancakes

and croissants

and hot chips

and sometimes we even watch movies in bed. On weekdays!

Oh the rule breaking.

Today is our last day of freedom! 

Can't wait to see you tonight Mr xx


Now on to Foody Friday.

Over the last week I did make something!

Mango and Watermelon Granita.

It was meant to be sorbet but I couldn't bother with the egg white thing and constant beating, so it turned out a little icy. Granita is like Sorbets poor brother.

I had 5 mangoes that looked a little squishy.  I also had the entire insides of a watermelon that we carved.

Bring a cup of sugar and a cup of water to boil and let simmer. Add some lemon or lime juice. Allow to cool. Place chopped up fruit in freezer to chill.

Mix syrup and fruit together. Blend.

Place in freezer and blend again before it freezes. Freeze again overnight.


Mango was voted favourite. Just so you know.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I would walk 500 miles..

Maybe because my neighbour is always taking my kids for walks (more guilt), or another one of those things that I *wished* we did but never do, but I'm trying to make it a goal to go on more meaningless meanders.

The Mr walks to work and church but he has never been *lets go for a walk for no particular reason* type of guy! He needs a destination with a reason! I however have no problem with it, but being the clingy, needy, annoying person I am I want him to come with us! I want us to go as a family (and ENJOY IT dang it!)

When I complain about bedtime woes to my mother she always tells me that when I was a baby they took me for a nightly walk. That's *just what you did* in those days. A nice 'getting ready for bed' stroll around the block in the evening pushing the pram. Maybe because there is a 4 year gap between me and my next sibling it was easier then or maybe people worked less in those days and life was less busy, because THAT just sounds like *another* exhausting thing to add to my list.

However it is something that the other family of us living in an alternate universe would do. You know there's me and my family here, and then there's my dream family somewhere else doing all the things I *want* to do but never do.

So this week we went on two twilight walks. I said "Let's go for a twilight walk" and A was like "ummm what's a twilight walk??"  "Walking at dusk" I say. "We'll come home in the dark." First night they were excited, the second time they needed a little push (ie I had to wait for their 'favourite cartoon' to be finished) before we went. But it didn't take too much prodding to get them out.

And ya know what? It's been great. We've had so much fun and they have gone to bed *reasonably* well. Only bad part was the dishes and messy kitchen were still waiting for me. Where are those cleaning fairies? Don't they know it should all be sparkling clean by the time I get back from our walk?

What did I love?

The older kids pushing the pram. Seeing my 4 little ones walking in a row.
Meeting lots of other people around the neighbourhood
Playing at the park in the dark
Smelling wonderful BBQ's cooking. (ok so it made me sooo hungry and jealous)
Collecting Pinecones (for christmas crafts coming up)
Watching the girls play 'Secret Agents' on the way home
Spotting an owl fly above us and land. We observed him for a while.
Enjoying the last fragments of the sunset
Getting out of my house and partaking in nature
The opportunity to chat and giggle with the girls.
Watching the hundreds of bats that fly right over where we live at dusk.
Chasing N around in circles.
Making Shadows on walls.

Secret Agents is a hilarious game my girls play. They usually do this in the day, but night is much better. They tiptoe along and about every 10 metres they duck behind a bin, wall, car, fence, telephone box. They are *really* good at it and sometimes they even scare me as I can't tell where they are. Sneaky little things they are. It makes me laugh every time they play it.

So that should be enough reasons as to why I should force myself to go on a nightly walk.

Maybe my mother was right. Fancy that!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hooded Cape - Tutorial

Ever since seeing this cloak over at The Artful Parent I have wanted one for my girls. As usual though, I never have the materials needed for projects I see around the place. Such is my life!

Last week  this cape over at Imagine Childhood really caught my eye and I knew I had to make one immediately. I had some larger material and a flannette sheet (thanks to my mother in law) and got to work straight away. Seriously. I saw it and 5 mins later I was trying to make it.

I like this cloak because it is *basically* a rectangle. I only gets tricky if you're making it reversible with differing fabrics, but even then its pretty easy. The first one took about an hour because I made a mistake, but the other two were done in 1/2 hour - 20 mins. If you are a good sewer you could seriously make it in like 10 mins!

First off you need 2 squares of fabric. For a small child 1 metre of each is plenty.
I didn't even measure mine.

Fold each piece in half and sew along ONE short edge (on each)

Now place the two pieces inside eachother. The tricky bit is that the material you want on the INSIDE of the cloak should be on the OUTSIDE with seam facing UPWARDS. The material you want to be the OUTSIDE of the cloak should be on the INSIDE with the seam facing DOWNWARDS.  (Like this)

Now put the rectangles flush inside eachother so the edges are meeting. Now you sew AROUND the two sides. This will enclose it all except for the bottom. It is like sewing a upside down U shape.  Dont sew the edges together, you are sewing around the front. So it will be double the height of the cape. (Like so)

Now flip the thing inside out and all your seams will be inside the layers.
You should have neat seams now.

Now lay it flat again so it is like a rectangle. Using some chalk or pencil draw two lines about 2cm apart around each side. You can use your kids head for a guide for how far down from the top this line should be but about 20-30 cm is good.

Sew around these two lines. DONT SEW THE RECTANGLE together, make sure you go around - across the entire length.

Unpick the space between the two lines at the front of each side. This will create a little hole for you to thread through some ribbon, string etc using a safety pin to help you thread it right around (this is the most time consuming bit). Once ribbon is in PULL TIGHT and now you have a HOOD!

Hem the bottom edge by turning the edge over twice and sewing closed.

voila your cape is done!

and you'll look like a "Little Blueberry Riding Hood"

And of course your sisters will come home and be all jealous so then you will have to run to the fabric store to get more material to make more capes. Because EVERYONE LOVES  A CAPE!!

A  "Harry Potter" inspired one. (stars on the inside)

And she just 'wanted a purple one' Its spotty on the reverse side.

Then you go walk the streets to your friends house looking like druids ( or babushka's)

Maybe I did do a Halloween Craft afterall ;)

Except these will be used all year round in the craft box!

I hope my instructions were clear? Tell me if you make one!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dollhouse Treehouse

I've been so busy creating this last week. Don't know what's gotten into me. Sometimes you just find a creative groove I suppose. I constantly fall off and jump on that wagon. There's gonna be a few tutorials this week! So first I'll introduce the most hideous kids toy treehouse you've ever seen.

I've wanted a toy like this for ages. But alas I have never purchased anything via the net (I'm like Archaic no?) and haven't seen anything like it in the shops I frequent (ha ha ha) When a neighbour had his huge tree cut down (like a towering tree  a metre from his front door)  we stole his wood. (It's ok he wanted us to) I went through the big wood pile looking for pieces with a fork. So armed with a few I got the saw out.

Oh my aching arms. I only had to do about 5 cuts but boy did I work up a sweat. Talk about out of shape. When the world ends and electricity is off and our labour saving devices are gone, I'll have to curl up in a ball and die.

As soon as I got all the pieces ready I realised something... oh oh
- I HAVE LIKE NO BUILDING SKILLS..... small problem.

Then I realised I didn't have any strong wood glue or the right type of nails. Hammering into curved branches is like impossible. (with the huge nails I had anyway) The Mr was away, so I couldn't use his expertise. I was failing pretty bad, but the girls were adamant it was going to work out. Somehow I ended up surrounding the branches with big nails. These kept the branches upright. We then wrapped string around the nails and it kept everything tight and snug.

Nail around the branches into the base. I used four nails on each to keep them standing.
These were big fat nails - All I had in the shed.

Here's a kinda close up of the string keeping it all in place. And our homemade 'ladder'

Once we had secured all the pieces onto a flat bigger piece, it was ready for the toys. We then made platforms out of paddlepop sticks, a swing, hammock, and even added a loo on one branch. The girls also made a tarzan swinging rope for it.

The 'treehouse' has been shown to all the neighbourhood kids. Several kids stole their own wood to make treehouses too. But they all love ours (cause its better) I've got a few more pieces to make another one. Another Tree Apartment coming up. Just getting up the courage to 'cut wood' again. :S

It has been played with constantly since we made it. I've had people up at the crack of dawn begging me to 'open the front door' so they can play with the tree house (it's out on the front varandah) I'm pretty proud of it and the fact it has no glue keeping it together - though we shall have to see how long it lasts.

 and best of all - It was Free!

hopefully this will appease their weekly asking for a real treehouse. I'm not THAT good.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Why my life is like Halloween - Post Edit

we carved a watermelon on thursday night, so much fun! (while daddy was away! lol)

So you gotta know by now what a mixed up person I am. I mean look at this blog. Is it a craft blog, cooking blog, essays on motherhood blog, what type of blog is it?... It's all a confused mess and so am I  (what DO YOU come here for? Just wondering)

I'm a fence sitting, can't make my mind up about anything, see both sides of most arguments, can argue both sides of most arguments,  can be swayed by a good argument, can rarely choose a side,  in a fuddle gal.

My beliefs on Halloween are like my life:

I am (and was raised) Anti Halloween.

It's not autumn here, It's not harvest. It's not america/england. So its not halloween. (well kinda)

Nearly all meanings behind all halloween activities lie in bad/evil backgrounds.

Growing up I heard of one halloween party and it was at mcdonalds. There's a photo around of my siblings as Zombies. Don't know why I wasn't. Too old and cool for that sort of thing? However Australians love any reason to party and Halloween parties are becoming increasing popular. I had never really been invited to a Halloween Party until the last couple of years. The shops have also just started with having lots of decorations for sale the last couple of years too. We also have LOTS of american and canadian friends. We want to celebrate with them! Do I really have a reason to say NO ? (apart from the darling Mr who will say no, and NOT participate in any halloween activity) Also you can't really trick or treat here, without setting it up with other people. Most people won't have anything to give. Maybe this is why parties are so prevalent.

Where do I stand on this? I ask myself.

A went to her first halloween party last year. A canadian friend from school. The host children were dressed as a butterfly and ballerina. But *every* single australian child came as a witch (with one boy as a werewolf) Before our Harry Potter Craze dressing as a witch was a no no for me.(So it looks like I have changed my stance already! dang that Harry Potter for making witchcraft look so enticing!!) So A dressed as a black cat. This showed to me that peoples thoughts about Halloween in Australia lend to the more darker side (as opposed to americans perhaps) The Mr didn't want her to go to the party ( he is staunch anti halloween) but I said it was just a pinata, search for lollies in the back yard fun type thing.

blogged last year about how I don't think you can be christian and celebrate halloween. I'm still warring with that side of my brain. Seriously people, most Halloween stuff has evil meanings. You can't fight me on that!

However, A BIG HOWEVER, there are just soooo many many crafts to do. . Marshmallow pumpkins to be made,  Spider webs, Skeletons, Themed cupcakes and food, Leaves to stitch. Lollies to be eaten, bats to decorate walls with. Material pumpkins, painted pumpkins. Dressing up.

So I think, why should I feel so passionate about this? It's just halloween. It's just a party. Kids love a little spooky. (I mean surely as LDS we believe in spirits etc) Should I just go with the flow allow them to enjoy etc etc. What will and what won't I allow? Once you let one thing, you end up letting a whole lot of stuff you don't want in. Is there anything wrong with carving a watermelon? Are Spiders and bats are ok because hey they are real animals and kids can learn about/craft  real animals? Where to draw the line? Where, where where?

I'm also stuck cause while our families bought us up with Halloween as  big No no..... why is it fine for all the other LDS in America to celebrate? None of them have guilt complexes over it like I do. It's just a done thing they say. Noone really worries that much about it. It's just about the candy. Its just about the dressing up. Kids plan their outfits half the year. I understand why it would be a favourite holiday. It's all about fun, has little religious significance and a good excuse to party and gives you a reason to dress up.

And I thought my thoughts on Halloween sum up my life perfectly.

Trying to live a good, clean and uplifting life

while wanting a little on the wild side ;)

except I don't think I'll ever convince The Mr.

well Halloween is over for another year, and we didn't participate except for the watermelon. We didn't get any trick or treaters either. I can now work on my arguments for next year now. Which side will win out??? stay tuned.... mwah ha ha ha ha

Post Edit: I'm not judging anyone who celebrates Halloween. I am actually JEALOUS. Jealous that you can celebrate without feeling guilty. I have many guilt complexes and this is just another one of them. Ahhh life and parenting. Always full of tricky choices.
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