Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shopping for Bargains...

After the post on our Wardrobe tidy up, I had a request for a post on some of my favourite online shopping haunts!!

Well the reason we have a 94L storage tub at the top of our wardrobe that is nearly full, ready and organised for Christmas and birthdays next year, is because I like to purchase things when they are on sale.
Let it be known I am a scrooge. I hardly ever buy something full price, and like to wait until something comes on special or super sale before I buy it! Call it money savvy , call it tight, either way, it has meant that we have been able to cloth our kids in name brand clothes we probably wouldn't have been able to afford normally, have bought some bargains for around the home and all from the comfort of my lounge or bed!! Can't argue with that!

Now I mentioned in the wardrobe post , that I buy a bit from Ozsale!! I really LOVE Ozsale! I love it so much, I don't know whether I should be telling you all about it!
Ozsale is an online, members online shopping site. When you sign up as a member, you are signing up to receive emails everyday , alerting you of new brands and products that have commenced sale that day. The sales quite a few days or so , and over this time, you purchase straight from Ozsale. You can save up to 80% off the RRP of Designer labels. Anything and everything goes, baby and kids clothing, shoes, home wares, linen, Manchester, furniture, electrical goods. You name it.
I have pretty much clothed Angus is all Pure Baby or Max and Tilly for his short little 7 month life, all for a fraction of the cost, off Ozsale and the other subscription sites.
These are Buy Invite, Brands Exclusive, Catch of the Day .

Some other sites I use are Deals Direct- for absolutely everything and anything.
Ezi Buy- for Homewares, Manchester and clothing.

There are also the obvious ones like Ebay, Made it , Etsy etc.

But my biggest advice if you are in for a bargain, and have a love of the good quality, yet high priced brands? Sign up to their mailing lists.
Receive their emails. It might be another few emails in your Inbox (that make you feel totally loved) but if it means you are going to be notified of a sale ahead of everyone else, or given a codeword to use at the check out to redeem your discount, isn't it worth it?

Just lately I have been lucky enough to purchase for myself ( to be put away as a Christmas present of course) a new Oroton leather handbag. This bag is usually $700!! But I scored it for $200!!! Yes, that's still A LOT (or alot depending on how picky you are!) of money. But for a designer leather handbag?! So cheap, and all because I am signed up to their newsletter and was alerted of the sale, if I had not have got the email, perhaps I wouldn't have known about it!

Or I was able to buy a few things from Bambini Pronto because they had a massive sale too!! 40% off!! Whats not to like about buying something at nearly cost price?

I hope I have helped, other than the places I have listed, I just purchase off the websites and baby/kids boutiques that I am subscribed to , and only during a sale.
The thing about living in the country, even though where I live is actually a city, we still don't have much choice in the way of shopping. We have one department store, which is Target and that's it. This means that when we do get a break and head south to Perth, we shop til we drop, and nab some bargains then at Harbour Town etc, but we don't have the liberty to do this all the time, in fact about twice a year!! But sometimes that is just enough to satisfy the shopping bug, yet keep the finances under control!!

Speaking of sales and finances, Kikki K is having 25% off their Blue products until Sunday, using a codeword!! So why wouldn't you want to subscribe?!

If anyone would like invitations to the above companies, please email me or leave a message and I will send one out!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Simplicity Cake

I like to bake. Alot. And my kids and husband like to eat what I bake.  Alot
Favourites around my home are Choc Chip cookies, cupcakes and the good old chocolate cake.

We were lucky enough, when we got married, to receive a hand written Recipe book from my sister , with alot of the recipes to meals and sweets that I have been eating since I was a child.
One of the recipes is this 'Simplicity Cake'
Called Simplicity cake because it is just that, a very simple and easy cake to make, but when this cake pictured, was baked and tasted, my husband assured me it was the best cake he had eaten. Hmmm I think he liked it!!

So you may have lots of cake recipes, especially chocolate cake ones, but for a really nice, simple recipe, try this.

Simplicity Cake

1 cup SR Flour
1 cup Sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tpn Vanilla essence
2 tbsp drinking chocolate
 ( can use cocoa but drinking chocolate gives a MUCH better flavour!)
3 tbsp butter

Melt the butter and mix into the other ingredients.
Beath for 3 mins (I use my Mixer and tend to beat until the mixture turns a lighter colourand fluffy)
Pour into a well greased and lined 20cm cake pan and bake for 25-35mins or until cooked through
Ice with buttercream icing ( butter, icing sugar and dash milk)

For variety, try omitting the drinking chocolate and adding grated orange rind for a noice moist orange cake etc.

It doesn't look the best, but oh was it yummy!! I was trying to take a photo while Max screamed for cake!


Monday, May 28, 2012

A Post of Questions...... and Answers

As mentioned a few days ago, I am a little behind on emails from readers with questions and queries of different things they have seen on the blog, so I thought I would try and address a few all in the one post.
I love being able to help you guys out, answer any questions you have or give as much information as I can, and I just love hearing from you. So please, feel free to email me whenever you like , and I will try and reply as soon as I can.

Some recent questions have been regarding my handmade products, as originally I had started a home based hobby business of sewing children's items, and this is how my blog originated. Unfortunately I don't have the time to sew much anymore and don't take custom orders for anything either.

Where did you get the babushka softie in Stella's room from?
My clever sister hand sews and creates gorgeous items for kids and she has a Facebook business called Bread n Butter Factory ,you can find her HERE.

Could you please let me know the website of where I can get the printables for letters (eg, S for Snake- a picture of a snake shaped as the letter S) that you used for your Theme weeks.
As seen our Educational weeks in these posts HERE and HERE , I like to use printables and one of the best sites I have found is HERE

You did a post on cleaning and it had pictures of your Linen cupboard with little white baskets, I can't seem to find the post anywhere though. I'd like to do a make over similar.
Well HERE you go, I searched and found the post myself. Love those baskets, they are so cheap and handy for anything!

The little print in the laundry, where is that from?
Wash, Dry, Fold, Repeat poster from HERE

Where did you get your big beautiful bookshelves and TV unit from?
That would be our lovely Liatorp unit from IKEA. I did a blogpost on it HERE and I must say, we still love this unit today as much as we did the day we bought it. We get so many comments on it and it has completed the room and provided so much storage for us.
Details of the range are on the IKEA website HERE

You have mentioned in the past that your kids go to bed early, how do you achieve this with so many kids? I just never seem to have the time in the afternoons and its chaotic.
Oh believe me, the afternoons are chaos here too! But in all seriousness, its all about organisation and routine. Dinner is ready most days by 4:30-5pm and we sit down to eat anytime between 5pm-5:45, so not long after my husband comes home from work. Its early, I know , but the kids are cactus and ready to eat and get to bed. They go straight from the dinner table to the bath, teeth, dressed, book and bed. Most days they are in bed by 6-6:30pm.
I know a lot of people may feel that is too early, or not achievable , but it is.
Its a proven fact that kids require 12 hrs of sleep per night as a minimum and if yours are anything like mine, they are up early, so to bed early it is too.
To get them there at that time is all about organisation. If you work , it would be harder, but I am lucky enough to be at home. Perhaps for working parents, you could cook up dinners on weekends so they were ready? Use the slow cooker, Or feed the kids something different that what you are having yourself.
During this time, nothing else matters but getting them to bed at a good time. If you are busy cleaning, organising , playing , on the computer etc. Nothing matters, it all can wait until after bed time. Just focus on what needs to be done and do it.
We have never had an issue with them not wanting to go to sleep because of how light it is outside. Its routine, its bedtime , regardless of the sun.
This routine suits us, its great to be able to replenish and recoup at night with the kids in bed and spend some quality time together.

My question would be on routine. How do you stay motivated to keep on top of things?
Well my answer to that is that I am anal!! No seriously!! My hubby calls me OCD but I just think I am fussy. I often wonder myself but figure , my life is so crazy busy all the time, and so many elements are out of my control daily, the one thing I can control, is my home. I function better when everything is clean and tidy, I can think straight and feel more at ease.
The motivating factor for me is that if I don't keep on top of it, the next day it will just be twice as bad, take twice as long to clean or put away and I just don't have that time to spare. I do lots of little things , all day , and it doesn't seem so bad.
However, I don't watch much TV, don't sit down, read mags, watch TV (unless feeding Angus) during the day. Its just go go go.
And my reasoning with hubby? Our home is my place of work. He likes his workplace and area to be neat and tidy and so do I!

Continue on from same query
Do you write a to do list everyday? Do you do things on certain days? Eg clean, budget, groceries, organise.
I don't write lists for the little things, or rather the things that I do on a daily basis as part of my normal routine. Like making beds, dishes, doing laundry, putting it away etc. I do them all the time so no need to remind myself about them. If you want a sense of accomplishment then maybe so you can check things off your list ! haha
All beds are made, dishes are done and the toy room is tidy, and usually a load of washing is on , before we leave in the morning for school drop off. It makes the mornings busier, if that is possible, but I really hate returning to a house that looks untidy with lots of work to do!
I write lists for the bigger jobs I have to do. Say "Organise the Walk In robe" and try and make suitable time to do it. Or I might just plug away at something over a few days while Max and Lacey are sleeping. While the kids are awake, I do undertake in any organising, cupboard cleaning etc. Its not that fair on them and its too stressful for me ;) haha
I clean my house on a Monday, as in dusting, bathrooms, toilets, vacuuming , mopping. Everything. I also wash the towels on this day and generally change the sheets on a Sunday.
My washing is done everyday to stay on top of things and usually gets put away on the same day.
I have an ironing lady and she is a godsend!!
We are really bad with our groceries, and I don't shop on the same day every week. In fact I only shop every 3 weeks or so, when we need to. My husband brings home fresh bread and milk from work and I usually touch up on fruit and veg about half way through but we usually spend about $350ish and it last for 3 weeks or longer, buying in bulk saves money and time/stress.

Have you always been organised if so do you think there is help for those that haven't and want to be?
You know what? I haven't always been organised. Or at least I don't think I have been!
I am not an untidy person, and like to clean as I go. And I have heard plenty of stories about when I was little and I would be neurotic and change my clothes millions of times a day, but I don't think I was an extremely neat child.
My cleaning and organising obsession has definitely been enhanced with having our kids, especially since having the twins. Like I said, I felt so out of control about so many things, that our home was one thing I could organise and control and it was almost like therapy.
There is hope for everyone. But please remember, I am no guru, I just do things I like to my home and like to share them with you.
And there is no overnight cure , and nothing is a quick fix. Generally , once you start organising and culling one area, it stems and overflows to another like a domino effect. But... make a list, establish what you will need to organise the area and free up some time to do it. Even if you steal 20 mins a day when hubby first comes home from work and the kids are excited to see him and occupied, to duck off and get to work.
I really feel, to be an organised person and have an organised home, you need to see a problem or mess, dislike it and want to make it better. Simple

Ok just a random question how did you meet your hubby?
This is a nice different one!! I met my husband when I was 17, a hairdressing apprentice and living life to its fullest!! He was friends with a girl I went to Tafe with and she spoke about him a bit. We swapped numbers, text back and forth hundreds of times a day, spent hours on the phone to each other then decided to go on a 'Date'. And  I am talking a real date, which even 9 years ago, was a rarity! No one goes on proper dates anymore. But he asked for my address, and came and picked me up. Even got out of the car and met my parents before leaving.
It only took 3 months before I knew he was the one for me and I wasn't even 18 yet!!
Its safe to say , we are soul mates. Our paths were meant to cross and thankfully they did!!
We have grown up from teenagers to adults with each other, battled with a family that was not approving of our relationship and had our ups and downs, but I could not imagine my life without my darling big man. (and he is big alright, 6ft 9 inches!!)

And one of the questions I have had on my Facebook page  and I thought I would share as it may be helpful to some people;

How do you go about finishing up your craft sessions with your kids? My daughter always throws a tantrum when its time to pack away.
Hmm I am not saying our crafting sessions have been without tantrums, that would be a huge lie! However our kids are usually very good when finishing up a session but I think its because when we do craft, we make 'something'. We set out with a finished product in mind and always have something to show for our efforts in the end. The kids love nothing more than clipping their new artworks up on the fridge or in the Toy Room, and are very proud of themselves. I think if we were to have a free craft session where they cut and paste or paint just for the fun of it, and there was no finish line, then we would have hissy fits!

I hope by answering these questions all at once, it has been convenient for everyone and satisfies their queries, if not , please do not hesitate to contact me. I love feedback, I love messages and comments so fire away!
And a huge thank you to those special ladies who did take the time out to email and message me! xo

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The DIY Laundry

This post has been a long time coming, as our new laundry has been in for some time now (like wellllll over 6 months, probably more like 9 months!!). I guess it has never "felt" finished to me, as its not. Perhaps this post will give a little encouragement to the man of the house to complete the finishing touches. (Not so subtle hint there love!)
Anyhooo, since whipping up the last piece of wall art, I have felt compelled to share.

I wish I had before pics of our laundry, I would have them somewhere but not handy , and I am not patient enough to find them or wait  ( DH is nodding his head in agreeance).
Picture a very basic laundry. Just a big space for a washing machine, the standard trough and not much else. It needed help.
We purchased our house as a Spec home, directly off the building company and all in all, I am happy with most things. I do love it.  There are only a few things about our home I would change (other than adding a few extra rooms) and the laundry was definitely one of them.
We bath our babies and sometimes older children in the laundry, so we needed somewhere to be able to change them etc. I wanted more storage. And of course, to look prettier. I am a girl after all.

If money was no object ( a girl can only dream) , there would have been more that I would have loved to do. Including floor tiles and moving the power and water taps from the wall (again, so it would look prettier) but we were on a budget and it just didn't stretch that far.

Without further ado, our new laundry space;

Links to where items were purchased are listed also, or as close to them as I can find. Most items are from Ikea, Bunnings or Target.

We had already put the drying rack and hooks on the wall, but have recently added the 2 frames prints. The basket hanging from the hook has a roll of toilet paper , strange I know but Max and Lacey's pottys are underneath so this is a convenient spot for us.

Hook Rack
Similar Drying rack

I didn't want to spend any money on the wall art, so I found this FREE Wash, Dry, Fold, Repeat  printable on Pinterest and just popped it in an Ikea Frame, as with the home made art next to it.
I made that using some cardstock, letters and glued on a peg.

There are plenty of gorgeous prints on Etsy, and I found a few that would have suited my colour scheme etc but it depends on whether you want to spend the money, and I didn't. (scrooge!)

 The washing basket is from Ikea also ( I am sorry I can't find it on the site but I know its still there!) and divided into 2. I don't tend to sort , just throw anything in. Crazy but it works. We wash everyday so it has never bothered me.  But this basket is perfect as its narrow. The white trug you can see is my laundry basket and they are on Clearance in Target for $10 at the moment ( I also used one for storing my boots etc in yesterdays Wardrobe post)

The hanging bag is a peg bag, perfect

I framed a Stain Removal Chair by Martha Stewart , in a cheap yet pretty Big W frame for easy access and quick action. The basket has a box of wipes etc.

We replaced the trough with a lovely ceramic one from Ikea, and put in overhead and base cabinets. The best part of the makeover would have to be the benchtop. Also an Ikea buy and Hubby just cut it to size and finished the pipe area with a cord cap (the type you would use on an office desk).

All the gorgeous tags are from the very cool printable by Bianca at A Little Delightful available HERE , and I just laminated them, punched a hole and tied with some cute Bakers Twine. I orginally bought the Washing powder tin in the gorgeous blue, so that set the colour scheme for the room, and these labels and tags suited perfectly, like a match made in label heaven!!

Jar with Silver lid
Washing Powder tin from Target
All the important and well used products are stored here for easy access. The Stain removal supplies are in the cute white bucket, which is hanging from the rail by an S hook.
The wire rack stores anti-bac gel, baby bath etc, and the little basket hanging at the end holds plugs.

Silver rail
S Hooks on Rail
Wire Basket on rail
The cupboards are all from Bunnings and are part of the Flatpax range. We used the kitchen range, as there were more choices for cupboard sizes and they fit our space better. Plus I liked the idea of being able to choose different doors for the front, whereas the laundry cupboards, although a cheaper option, only came with the basic white door.
The website is great, and allowed us to plan and measure at home and just go into Bunnings to purchase the items.
Bunnings also do benchtops, as seen on the Flatpax website, but I liked the choices of laminate better from Ikea and the sizes too! Plus the Ikea ones come with extra laminate for redoing the ends if you need to trim them, and Bunnings ones don't, FYI.

The kickboard is still to go on (the part that needs to be finished) but its a matter of Noel having the time to cut them to size and fit them. Time is always an issue!!

The cupboard on the left stores baby towels, as this is where Angus gets bathed. We put a blow up change mat (which gets stored down the end of the bench against the window) purchased from HERE, on the bench and it quickly becomes a change station.
The white tub on the bottom shelf is for Noel's work clothes, I like to seperate them incase they are quite dirty and this is nice and tucked away.

Under the trough I store my cleaning products ( with a child locks on the doors) and Enjo mits etc.
All our doors on the base don't have handles, they are yet to be fitted but we are in no rush. No handles means the kids can't open them, we know how to but they can't . Smart eh?

And the little potty's sit neatly inside the door, although they aren't getting used that much anymore, they just take themselves off to the toilet.

Completed , this reno would have cost about $1000 and has made a huge impact on our life. Still not super duper cheap but its such a functional , easy to use space now, and just a fraction of the cost it would have been to get the pros in! The cupboards, bench top and trough all went in in a matter of a few hours , as DH had built them over the course of a few nights when the kids were in bed to save time on construction day.

The little bits and pieces to decorate and finish were super cheap too, but they make the space look pretty and that's what counts really, doesn't it ? ;)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Calling for Questions

At the moment I am rather behind on replying to all your wonderful emails and since reading the very clever Clare's post from The Home She Made with a bit of a Question and Answer time, I thought this would be good way to be able to finally reply to everyone with their queries.
So... in true copy cat fashion, I am halfway through writing a post but just thought I would do a call out for any other questions you have , about anything. Products I may have used, furniture, routines, craft etc.
You name it, just ask it. If its too personal however, I am happy to reply individually.
If you have any requests or ideas for future posts, please direct those in an email also.
I have already had a request (thanks Lee!) for a post on my favourite shopping sites, online stores etc, so that is on its way!

Shoot through your questions to ;

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Wardrobe Organising

First up, I just want to thank everyone for their support, kind words and encouragement about my post yesterday, and my whinge on my Facebook page. I would never wish bad days on anyone but its nice to know that everyone has them, and we are all in this together. Mothering is not easy, kids are testing, and life can be hard!
But... today was a new day. And it was a good day.  And I have no doubt tomorrow will be even better!

On to the point of the post;
A few days ago I set out on an organising mission. Our walk in robe has been my pet hate of our house (with quite a few other things too , don't you worry!) .
Its a big robe, we are very lucky, but we certainly need it! I am a lover of all things in a wardrobe. Shoes , Oh yeah I LOVE shoes.
Jewellery, yep love that too!
And clothes, well a girls gotta wear something , right?

Plus our wardrobe is used for storage of other things as well. Computer and camera items. Presents bought in advance. Keepsakes that are too good for the garage or shed.

And it was an absolute PIGSTY!! Bad.

So , off to Target I went (as its our only department store) with limited funds, but a need for supplies.
*Please excuse the pics during this post, the WIR is long and narrow and very dark.

So here are the BEFORE pics

Bad huh?
From Target I picked up a few organising baskets etc and found these. They were $10 for a pack of 2 and I LOVE them.

They zip up on the bottom for easy assembly and storage when not in use. They are quite firm, wipe able and in a nice light, natural colouring/pattern. 

 And the AFTERS;

Top shelf jewellery
Next one is shorts and 3/4 casuals
Next is a spare Project Life kit (as I scrapbook in our room) and a paper holder
and the basket on the floor has scarves, hats, beanies etc

My handbags are kept on the top shelf , in these white baskets, with clutches, purses etc. Then there is a camera bag and white storage box with my camera lense boxes, filters and a few spare lenses ( I bought my camera second hand and got a few lenses with it that I don't use)

The plastic storage tubs up the top are of Christmas presents for the kids I have already bought ( I buy most presents online, from Ozsale etc super cheap, and just put them away. Even if something is going to be 3 sizes too big, it will fit one day!)
The brown Pappis Boxes from IKEA, have presents for babies, presents for kids, and keepsakes.

  I need a new solution for my shoes, instead of having them on a shoe rack, to which I never replace them or strewn all over the floor. These drawers with the plastic baskets are on clearance at Target for $20. Not super cheap but they are easy to use, easy to clean and I can always use the baskets separately elsewhere if they don't work out to be working.

I have separated the drawers into thongs, sandals, flats , heels etc. I have nearly finished making up labels , I will post them when they are finished!!

A few pairs of my chunkier cork shoes are a bit bulky so I thought I would just put them to the side, and the white big basket (only just visible) under the dresses, is full of my boots, sneakers etc.

The white drawers are for Hubby's scarfs, beanies, normal socks, ties etc

The man folks end. Jumpers on top with his trusty hat. 

First shelf is T-shirts and singlets
Next is boardies and tracksuit pants
Next is work clothes
And on the floor are work socks , and in the white basket are sports clothes.

And now for the jewellery. Just to warn you; I have ALOT!! Like heaps. But coming from a hairdresser background, costume jewellery is everything. I tended to wear alot of black, and then dress it up with funky necklaces and an arm party of bracelets or bangles.
I have had this organiser for a while, I bought it at Target as well, and it has all the nifty compartments for bracelets, and they are clear so you can still see all your goodies.
The hanging basket up the top is of brooches and flowers etc.
And you can see that belts are hanging on the right.

And then come the necklaces!! And I had a cull a few months ago, this is only half of what I did have. When we moved in DH screwed these hook racks to the wall. Its been the best thing ever.

And that's it! Its not completely finished, and it doesn't look absolutely fantastic but its working, its functional and its alot cleaner and tidier than it was!
Gotta love that!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Keeping it real - Tomorrow is a new day

Please note - This post has alot of whinging, be prepared!! I am feeling sorry for myself!

I have declared today the "crack the poops" day! Whats that saying about the straw that broke the camels back? Well I think today I had the whole bloody box of straws thrown at my back! ( different straws I know, but YKWIM right?
And did it break? Nearly!
Am I a broken women? Nearly... not quite.... maybe
But tomorrow is a new day, well that is what I keep telling myself! And I am going to try and think positively!

Well it seems having two , 2 year olds is starting to take its toll on me!! Fellow twin Mummy's will understand!!
TWO  2 year olds!!
Now I am not saying that one 2 year old is not bad, because I know that it is and I remember thinking to myself when Stella was 2 , "Gee, this is hard, these terrible two's suck!" and I would have hissy fits, be cranky when DH got home from work, wonder if life was going to get better  ( I had the twins when Stella had just turned 2 so that could have had something to do with it too!)  But in hindsight , she was PERFECT!! Didn't touch something after she was told not to, didn't run away when supposed to be walking somewhere, never ran amok in a shop or cafe.
But every Mum ( of kids older than 2!) know what is like to have a darling 2 year old, but 2!!!!! Two!!
And these precious twins of ours, if you say "Don't touch that" they stare you in the eyes, and touch it to spite you. Seriously!
You feel powerless, you feel like you have no control. And they are my own children.
Its like they gang up on you!! They scheme  behind the scenes, plot their attack and bam! Gotcha MUM!!!
Their moods feed of each other, they demand cuddles and solo affection at the same time. They know the perfect time to act up, and its usually when you just start a phone conversation!
And today I had a down day. I like to call them "Mental Health Days" . I might be a tad depressed, I don't know, its such a broad spectrum, but really I think that things are just piling up.
I have had a bad day and its hard. Its hard to pick yourself back up , dust yourself off and soldier on. But You have to, I have to. My family depends on me. And really, is anything that bad?
The washing that I just can NOT get to take off the line daily.
My floors that are rank because I just can not get to vac and mop in the one go and there is no point mopping without vacuuming etc.
The screaming that continues for what seems like eternity , until you feel like your ears are bleeding?

Timing is not the best here either. We have just about finished with our toilet training of Max and Lacey.
Angus has just popped his first tooth .
And we have commenced "Operation Wean off the dummy" Its serious business for our darling Max!! He loves nothing more than his sooky Teddy rug and Dummy.
The easy option? Let him have it whenever he pleases. It would stop the screaming and ease the days considerably. But that's not an option for me.
We have started and now we can't stop, well I feel anyway. Short term pain for long term gain.
There are plenty of reasons why I should let him have them. He's snuffly, he's tired, he's a bit vulnerable with the toileting. But that could go on forever!

I think I am down on a lot of things. I am down on friendships. Friends you thought cared and don't, friends you thought appreciated and don't, friends you thought valued your time and energy , and don't.
I am down on life. I am down on the lack of time and the lack of money ( haha isn't everyone?)
But I think I am feeling more disappointment than anything!
My best friend and I were talking today , about disappointment is one of the worst feelings in life I believe. Anger you can calm down, upset and you can cry it out and eat some comfort food and Bobs your Uncle, but there isn't a quick fix for feeling let down. Once it happens. Its with you for life.

And you know what is the saddest thing? If I was offered total child free time, which never EVER happens, you know what I would want to do? Its not a facial, its not a massage, its not reading a mag with a coffee.
I would LOVE to mop my floor. I would LOVE to clean my windows.
Or maybe I would LOVE the time to be able to do those things if I so wish?!
And if I had that sort of time, all the time.
Perhaps relaxing would be nice too!!
But hey, I only have 18 years to wait for that , right?!!

Tomorrow is a new day.
I am real.
This is keeping it real.
If you had this sort of day too, or have them quite regularly, you are NOT alone. And don't EVER think you are!!
Tomorrow is a new day... Bring it on!!

To capture or live it?

I have been given a nickname around our home, affectionately by my dear husband ,of "Pappa". Paparazzi of course! Anytime I get out my lovely camera , anytime, anywhere ,, he cringes!! That's when the nickname starts flowing!
You see, I like to take photos. Actually, I really like to take photos. I am no professional photographer, but I like to capture moments in time, and make them last forever. I like these moments to be all around me, everyday and for my children to be surrounded by them. On photo walls, in frames, in albums, in scrapbooks. Anywhere, and everywhere..
Every night when we sit down to relax, surf the net, watch TV, he looks through the new photos that have popped up on his photo stream since hitting our WIFI connection (with the help of iCloud) to see what has happened throughout the day. To see the photos I have taken and the little people I have taken them of. Without fail, everyday, there is at least 2. Two photos, seven days a week, 52 weeks in a year. And that's just iPhone photos, then there are the ones from my DSLR and perhaps just a few (yeah right !) that have been edited and loaded onto Instagram.

Are you hearing me? Are you sitting at home nodding your head? Does this sound like you or do you sound ALOT worse?! LOL

I know its been talked about before, and I can't remember where, so if you have blogged about this, please share the link or let me know and I will link up, but with our run of birthdays last month, I got to thinking. I was charging the camera battery and making sure the video camera one was set as well, was I doing the right thing?

iPhone photo of a block building session

Do I capture these moments in stills and video, so the kids have them forever, so they can look back and reflect, or do I enjoy the moment and experience it for myself?
Through my eyes, not through a lens?
For the kids to see my happy , smiling face, and not that of a big black camera, saying "Look at Mum"
For their memories of their birthdays to be of millions of photos being taken and have those photos in albums to share with their own children, or of their mother, totally encased in happiness because it was her dear child's birthday?
Do I run the risk of missing that special moment, connection, sweet, pure joy, because I am fiddling with a camera, because I am trying to snap it?

Our poor sick big girl, she had an ear infection

Either way , is bittersweet.
So..... what did I/we do? We videoed for a few minutes, just the initial wake up and the reaction to the present pile. I snapped on automatic settings, and every few minutes, putting the camera down to open presents, build toys and interact.

Darling Max, they were pretending to play hospitals and he was the patient, but they he stayed there and turned into a sook!

I can not bear to put the camera away for good. But I have definitely cut down. But I love the fact that the kids will each have albums to take with them when they leave home. To share with their own families one day, to remember little things. The way I folded clothes. The meals I made. The fashions of our time.
Not just one album, like so many of us have , of our own childhood and baby stages, but many. To have pieces of art, cards, receipts, tickets. You name it. All in albums.

Seriously the funniest thing ever!! A teeny, tiny mouse ran into my pantry !!! (OMG I HATE THEM!!) In my pantry!! And my sister and I were up on the kitchen bench and the great mouse hunt was underway!!

But I am definitely glad I have this moment. This thought. And all with such good timing, because I really did absorb so much more of their special days, experienced it. Without stressing about photos and videos.

I'm curious, what is your opinion?
What is more important?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Laundry finishing touches

If you are a long time follower of my Facebook page, you would know that last year, we added some overhead cupboards and a benchtop to our teeny tiny laundry. I have never gotten around to sharing the finished product , because quite frankly, its never been finished.
Just small things, the bulk of it is finished and looks fantastic and is so much more user friendly, especially with a baby ,  but there are still a few little things that need to be marked off the list, that really bug me!!
However, one of the main things that I have wanted to finish in the room, is the wall decorations. Its quite hard to find nice prints, pictures or decorating items for a laundry, and I am quite fussy even when I do find something!! Its even more difficult when you already have a print and want the colours to match.
So the solution, of course, is making something myself!

So I made this cute little deco, and put it in a frame from IKEA.
It was so quick and easy, and Stella was even able to help!
She helped me find the letters on the sticker sheet!!

I just used a piece of cardstock in a matching colour to our existing print, trimmed it to a 5 x 7 size.
Then I found some white letters (these are with glitter and the Thickers range) and stuck them on.
Finished with a touch of glue on a teeny peg.

And next to our existing print, which is a free printable - details in my extended laundry post.

I have a few other ideas and things up my sleeve but I'll save that for another time!

And totally not related to our laundry but just because they are pretty,  gorgeous blooms from our garden have been adorning our dining table lately. They are so beautiful!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A House with a Roof

Yesterday was a day of rest and recoup at our house. DH was home with an RDO, however the kids seemed to have woken on the wrong side of the bed!! They were all rather precious, and seemed to be a bit like that all week. Things didn't really improve for poor Stella and we ended up in an after hours appointment at the Doctors and a diagnoses of an Ear Infection and the start of a throat infection!! No wonder she was miserable and slept on and off throughout the day (that in itself spells trouble , as she hasn't had a day sleep for some time now!)

Anyway, by the afternoon, the kids needed some entertainment or activity and a bit of a pick-me-up, and a craft session is always a winner!!

I hadn't planned anything , therefore whatever I decided to do , had to be quick and easy to organise and complete.
At kindy, Stella has been learning about herself, her body, her family, where she lives etc, so I thought houses would be a nice yet simple activity.

All we needed and used were;
A few buttons for door handles
Popsticks for a fence
A few Feathers, perhaps materials etc
A few cut outs of clouds
Some cirles for suns
And different sized pieces of cardstock for doors, windows, chimneys etc.

You really could use anything and everything, and had we had more time, better moods and a bit more forethought, we would have headed outside to collect things from the garden to use. Such as rocks for a path, leaves for trees etc

Obviously this is Stella's. She can now write her name so fluently, and confidently, is gorgeous!!
She used feathers for the suns rays, pieces of paper she cut herself for flower petals and a button centre, and I helped her to use little pieces of fabric as curtains in the windows!

Max and Lacey need a fair bit of supervision, or rather help, when it comes to glueing etc. If not , you would not be looking at something that resembles a house!!  Max was more worried about using the glue brush, and Lacey was full ball into just sticking anything down!

Hers is quite simple because she was more excited about putting her picture on the board than finishing it!!

So now we have a new look to our art board!! This has honestly been the best thing we have done, and our display is constantly changing, its wonderful!

And the best thing? Clean up only took a few minutes!! Got to love that!!
You have also got to love the beautiful baby watching everything!!
( See the white cupboard inbetween the 2 existing ones? With the laminater on top? Its our new Microwave cupboard!! I can't wait for it to go up, and to show you!!)

Another easy and quick craft to do with your kiddies!!
They will appreciate you making the time and effort and you will appreciate the handmade goodness at the end! xo

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mothers Day

So Sunday was Mothers Day, in case you didn't notice or you have been living under a rock!
I hope that all the lovely Mum's out there had a wonderful day!
I know I certainly did! And for all those that didn't, I am sorry. Your man folk need a swift kick up the be-hind or I hope that next years is an improvement!
This year I wanted to do a few more handmade gifts, seeing as though the kids are older and are a little more understanding of what is happening and also from a budget point of view.
Plus what Nanna or Grandma doesn't love a bit of finger print love from the grandies?

We made these cute bookmarks using the printables created by Bianca at 'A Little Delightful' seen HERE.  I love using Printables, and Bianca makes them so easy to use and super gorgeous too!
 I just got the kids to stamp their finger prints in a flower pattern, drew a stem and leaves and centre to the flowers. Them laminated , punched a hole in the top and tied some ribbon to finish.

For my Mother in Law, we kept things simple and went with a pot of Chysanthemum'. But I wanted to jazzy it up a bit! When I went food shopping the other day, my local Woolworth's had these cute plastic faux terracotta pots on sale for $1.25, and I knew they would be perfect.
My first thought was paint but being plastic it would just scratch off, so we did some hand prints with paint, I cut around them, laminated and re cut and glued them to the outside of the pot!!
Nannies little pile (minus her canvas) with the interview ( as below) and picture drawn by Stella rolled up with ribbon.

Stella and I also did interviews about My Mum and Me, and the pics are pretty cute too! I also laminated these for safe keeping! The printable is also by A Little Delightful, and available HERE.

And as a cute finishing touch, the kids also did some paint hand prints on these canvas; ( $6 for set of 3 different sizes from Crazy Clarkes) and I added a card stock pot and leaves , then spray a sealer over the top (something I had in the cupboard)

So there you have our cute , handmade with love gifts for our precious Mums.

I had a beautiful day with  my wonderful day with my family. My husband made me a yummy cooked breakfast, the kids had the biggest , proudest faces on when giving me my pressies ( a bag of scrapbooking supplies, a bunch of flowers and some yummy choccies) and Stella was able to finally give me the beautiful beaded necklace and bracelet she had made at school and kept a secret (well sort of !!) and a cute big hand print and picture of her!
I am a spoilt and very lucky Mum!!
 And now for some pics , unfortunately its near on impossible to get a good shot, or any for that matter, of our 4 kids together. Max hates photos that he is made to be in and they never co ordinate!!

See me lovely necklace?

The best of a bad bunch of pics, its the moment and thought that counts!! My cherubs

My oldest and youngest! 2 peas in a pod these 2!! They are so similar in every way, completely gorgeous!!

           And my Mum, Sister and I at our yummy morning tea!! A rare photograph!

And the pics that stole my heart! The love my children have for their Grandma ( My Mum) is truly amazing!! They love her and she loves them just as much!

My Mum is the most selfless, caring, thoughtful and hard working person I know and will ever meet in my lifetime! She has taught me how to love , to be a good mother and I know that if I am only a fraction of the mother she is, my kids will be happy.
She is my best friend, second only to my husband, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't speak to her or think of her. She supports to no end, even when I have crazy ideas and push myself to the extremes, she encourages, and in the end, she is always there to pick up the pieces, give me a cuddle and prop me up for another round of "Liz's Crazy Ideas".
She has worked hard for her family all her life, given up so much so that we could have so much, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Happy Mothers Day to My wonderful Mum, she is honestly the BEST and I couldn't live without her!! Love you Mum!!

A belated Happy Mothers Day to all the Mummy's out there, we are a blessed bunch. A lot of people aren't as lucky to be given the gift of motherhood, so we are so very lucky. Enjoy and embrace it xo

Monday, May 14, 2012

Here fishy fishy

A while ago, the kids and I completed these fish craft activities. I have had the post sitting there waiting to go , with just finishing touches needed, and everything else seemed more important , or more to my frame of mind. But finally, I'd like to share an easy craft activity that you can complete with your kids, with very little mess and supplies, in about 10 -15mins or so.

First up are these super cute "Patty Pan fish". I got the inspiration off of Pinterest, and had it stored in the back of my mind for a rainy day, and a Rainy day we had. The kids were going a bit stir crazy and I certainly was, and I had all the supplies on hand.

Here is Max's finished fishy;

To begin, take a few paper plates ( the super cheap kind, papery not plastic). You can just use glue and most of the time I do, but this time I ran a few rows of double sided tape along the bottom of the plate. This helps the patty cases stick straight away, rather than waiting for the glue to dry.

         I also cut a plate into quarters and attached to the side of the plate for the fish tail.
               Cover the plate with glue (we use PVA, its stronger and faster drying)

And get the kids to put the patty pan cases all over as scales. I pre-cut these in half, with a mixture of colours and patterns and each child had a bowl full.

                          Finish with a googly eye (and lots of glue!!) and your fishy is complete .

So cute and effective!! I must admit, I do have to stop myself from taking over and making sure all the cases are the right way, in the right spot etc, but it is the kids craft and they do, do a fabulous job!!

Because that craft was so quick ( and the rain was letting up any time soon) we also did a few "Contact fish". We have done other Contact craft in the past . We did some hearts for Valentines Day HERE, and some basic colour collaging on contact with a VERY young kiddos HERE . But  the idea of doing the fish ones came from the gorgeous Bianca at 'A little Delightful'

I cut a rectangular piece of contact and placed a card stock fish shape on top (which I had folded in half and cut out leaving the outer border shape) .

Again, each child had a small bowl with different bits and pieces to stick onto the card , like material, paper, the red shiny foil is an Easter egg wrapper (yes , I am one of those annoying people who like to carefully peel the wrapper off and smooth it out !!) that I chopped up. Anything and everything goes here!!

Once they have finished decorating, place another sheet of contact, sticky side down onto the fish creation and cut around the card cut out.

Voila, gorgeous craft creations, you can use them as a stained glass window by putting on a sliding door or window to strain the light, on the fridge, hand by a piece of ribbon through a punched hole. The possibilities are endless and its a relatively clean craft to do!!

Whats stopping you?